An Overseas Filipino is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies both to people of Filipino ancestry who are citizens or residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad on a more temporary status.
Most overseas Filipinos migrate to other nations to find employment or support their families in the Philippines. As a result of this migration, many countries have substantial Filipino communities.
Often, these Filipinos are referred to as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). “Global Filipino” is another term of more recent vintage but less widely used.
Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo applied the term “Overseas Filipino Investor” or “OFI” for Filipino expatriates who contribute to the economy through remittances, buying properties and creating businesses.
Around 9.5 million to 12.5 million overseas Filipinos are the estimated count worldwide or about 11% of the total population of the Philippines as of 2010.
More than a million Filipinos try their luck each year to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. A majority of them are women applying as domestic helpers and personal service workers. Others emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, domestic helpers, fast wood workers especially in the middle east and maids.
The exodus includes an increasing number of skilled workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in what has been referred to as a brain drain, particularly in the health and education sectors. Also, the exodus can result in underemployment, for example, in cases where doctors undergo retraining to become nurses.
Remittances sent by OFWs to the Philippines contribute to the country’s economy, with a value of more than US$10 billion in 2005.
This makes the country the fourth largest recipient of remittances with India, China, and Mexico in the top list. OFW remittances represent 13.5% of the country’s GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries.
In 2008, overseas Filipinos sent US$15.9 billion worth of remittances to the Philippines, up from the US$14.4 billion in 2007, and US$13 billion in 2006.
In 2009, about US$17.348 billion in remittances was sent to the Philippines by overseas Filipinos, higher than in previous years.
Countries with Filipino populations
Australia. In 2000, Australia recorded about 127,000 Filipinos and/or Filipino Australians.
Brazil. , there were 379 Filipinos in Brazil. They consist primarily of Catholic missionaries and migrant workers in the telecommunications and oil sectors. There are also a few former seafarers who settled in port cities, and an increasing number of Filipinas who lived in Japan and married Brazilians who were living there. Since 2008, 33 overseas Filipino workers (11 men, 22 women) have been detained in jails in Brazil on charges of drug trafficking, primarily for attempting to bring in cocaine through airports.
Canada. Only a small population of Filipinos resided in Canada until the late 20th century. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has estimated that as of 2006 there were over 400,000 Canadians of Filipino origin. Due to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Western Canada and the Philippines; contracts in Atlantic Canada; consistent hiring of workers in Central Canada; and increased activity in Northern Canada, it is estimated that there will be some 500,000 Filipinos in Canada as of 2010. As of December 2008, Filipinos overtook China as Canada’s leading source of immigrants. See Filipino Canadians.
Greece. The Philippine Embassy has reported an estimated of 40,000 Filipinos in Greece.
Hong Kong. There are approximately 140,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, of whom most are domestic helpers (30,000 of them being members of the Filipino Migrant Workers Union). Filipino maids are known by the locals as amahs, or more often feiyungs (less politely, bun mui or bun bun), and face discrimination and maltreatment from the locals. A Hong Kong work visa requires some amount of higher education; and in some cases Filipino women with college degrees and perfect command of English are willing to work as maids and nannies for a salary higher than they could make at home in professions.
India. Approximately 1,000 Filipinos reside in India. However, government’s official figures show some 500 Filipinos.
Italy. There are about 131,000 Filipinos in Italy. This makes the country host to more Filipinos than any other countries in Europe except the United Kingdom.
Iraq. Despite the Philippine government’s ban on OFWs working in Iraq, an estimated 1,000-3,000 Filipinos work there. Most work on US Military bases around the country as cooks and laundry service, sometimes as third-country national security guards. This is the only foreign country in which Filipino men outnumber Filipino women.
Ireland. As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.
Japan. Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan‘s geographic confines. However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.
Lebanon. As many as 30,000 OFWs are working in Lebanon. Due to the recent turmoil between Lebanon and Israel, however, many have been repatriated back to the Philippines, while others have been relocated to Cyprus, a part of the Philippine evacuation plan.
Malaysia. As Sabah is very close to the Philippines, there are many Filipino residents, as well as illegal immigrants there. Filipinos make up about 30% of the entire population of Sabah and they enumerate up to 900,000. Many Filipinos in Malaysia come to work in construction industries, fisheries, and other labor intensive sectors in hopes of a better living. Most live in stilt slums scattered behind cities or on offshore islands. The Philippine government also has promised to establish a consulate to provide any necessary help to its nationals. Historically, The Philippines has a dormant but legal claim on the territory.
Mexico. There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry living in Mexico, some of whom are of mixed blood heritage. They are descendants of Filipino slaves and immigrants who settled in Mexico during the colonial period. More recently, there were Filipinos who arrived as refugees to Mexico who fled from the Marcos dictatorship. Their communities are found in Guerrero, Michoacán, and Colima.
Middle East. Many Filipinos work in the Middle East (mostly Saudi Arabia and UAE) as engineers, nurses or hospital workers, accountants, office workers, construction workers, restaurant workers and maids. It is estimated that more than 2 million Overseas Filipinos are working in the Middle East.
New Zealand. There are about 17,000 Filipino residents and citizens in New Zealand called KiwiPino’s, Filipino New Zealanders. New Zealand, as in the past, are currently recruiting Filipino qualified nurses. Filipinos in New Zealand, as well as prospective immigrants, often lean towards information technology, nursing and, more recently, telecommunications for careers.
Nigeria. Filipinos in Nigeria consist largely of migrant workers in the oil industry, though those in the capital city Abuja also work in the education and medical sectors. By mid-2008, their numbers had grown to an estimated 4,500, up from 3,790 in December 2005. They commonly hold skilled construction positions, among them pipe layers, welders, and engineers, and may earn as much as US$10,000 per month; however, those working in oil areas in Southeast Nigeria often find themselves the target of violence by local militants. Majority of the OFWs are working/residing in Lagos and Abuja. Filipino workers are actively petitioning the Philippine government to lift the travel and work ban in Nigeria.
Norway. The number of people with Filipino background in Norway is estimated to be about 12,000, most of them living in the Oslo urban area. In addition to Filipinos who have intermarried with Norwegians, there are at least 900 licensed Filipino nurses, over a hundred oil engineers employed mostly in offshore projects in the western coast of Norway and Filipinos or Norwegians of Filipino descent working in the government sector, diplomatic missions and NGO’s and commercial establishments.
Pakistan. According to the statistics of the Philippine government, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos live and work in Pakistan. Filipinos in Pakistan work as domestic workers, and housemaids.
Singapore. Over 150,000 Overseas Filipinos work and reside in Singapore. A notable incident involving an OFW was the trial and execution of Flor Contemplacion for the alleged murder of her employer’s child and another Filipina, Delia Maga.
South Korea. According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, as of December 2006, some 70,000 Filipinos work and live in Korea. Of this number, some 6,000 are permanent residents, some 50,000 work legally, and some 14,000 are “irregular” or do not have the proper documents.
Spain. There are around 50,000 Filipino legal workers living abroad in Spain, mainly in Barcelona and Madrid. Although many Filipinos did immigrate or ran away to Spain after the United States took over the islands in 1898, most of the Filipinos moved to the old metropolises during the 1960s and 1970s seeking jobs, which in many cases were related to housekeeping, healthcare or industrial activities. There’s also a significant group of Spaniards of Filipino origins (some of whom are from 3rd and 4th generations) including some famous people like former Spanish Prime Minister Manila-born Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero or Isabel Preysler, mother of famous singer Enrique Iglesias. This group is estimated in at least 40,000 people. Furthermore, since Filipino citizens are entitled to obtain Spanish citizenship by proving two years of legal residence in Spain, it is estimated that there are around 150,000 people holding dual citizenship (Spanish/Filipino). All in all, the entire population of total or partial Filipino origins is around 300,000, nearly 0,7% of Spanish population.
Taiwan. According to the 2006 data of the government of Taiwan, there are 96,000 Filipinos currently living in Taiwan. Of these, 58,704 are in manufacturing industries and 34,602 are in social or personal services (e.g. maids). However, according to 2004 data by the Philippine Government, there are 2,037 Filipinos living in Taiwan permanently, 154,135 are in Taiwan for work contracts, and 4,500 go to Taiwan irregularly, which make a total of 160,672. It is not known why there is such a big difference between these two numbers (96,000 vs. 160,672).
United Kingdom. Nurses and caregivers have begun migrating to the United Kingdom in recent years. The island nation has welcomed about 20,000 nurses and other Filipinos of various occupations and lifestyles during the past 5 years. The United Kingdom is home to an estimated 200,000 OFWs. Many Filipino seamen settled in British port cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Liverpool even had an area nicknamed ‘Little Manila’
United States. Despite race relations problems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the American Northwest, most Filipino Americans today find it easy to integrate into American society, with a majority belonging to the middle class. Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group in the country; Tagalog is the fifth most spoken language in the U.S. Filipinas comprise a large portion of the roughly 4,000-6,000 women who annually come to the U.S. through method of mail-order bride, internet courtship, or direct contact when travel to the Philippines. The US State Department estimated that there are 4 million Filipinos in the US as of 2007.
General statistics from Philippine government
POEA2004 (overseas Filipinos working and/or living overseas):
* 3,187,586 stay permanently, 3,599,257 stay for work contracts, and 1,296,972 stay irregularly (without proper documents), which make a sum of 8,083,815.
Press release on the 2004 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, Philippine National Statistics Office, on OFWs:
* 1.06 million Overseas Filipinos Workers
* 33.4% are unskilled workers, 15.4% are Trades and related workers, 15.1% are plant and machine operators and assemblers.
* 49.3% are males, 50.7% are females.
* Remittances are 64.7 billion Philippine pesos (equaled 1.2 billion USD then)
Deployed Landbased Overseas Filipino Workers by Destination (New hires and Rehires) (MS Excel format), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 2005, on OFWs:
* 733,970 are landbased, 247,707 are seabased, which make a sum of 981,677. There is a 5.15% growth since 2004′s 933,588.
* Remittances are 9,727,138,000 USD. There is a 26.6% growth since 2004.
List of Additional Reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Statistics Page
From other sources
AUS – .
GWM – .
LBN – .
NZL – .
SAU – .
TWN – Alien Workers in Taiwan-Fukien Area by Industry and Nationality (JPG and PDF format), 2006 February, CLA, Taiwan.
MAL – .
TWN – Alien Workers in Taiwan-Fukien Area by Industry and Nationality (JPG and PDF format), 2006 February, CLA, Taiwan.
Category:Economy of the Philippines
Category:Filipino people by occupation
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