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Home » Glossary » Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)

Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)


What is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)?

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) refer to Filipino migrants or domestic workers with Filipino citizenship who have lived and worked outside the Philippines for a limited period of employment.

As OFWs have a big contribution to the growing economy of the Philippines, December was declared a Month of Overseas Filipinos through the proclamation of the late President Cory Aquino, signed in 1988.

What is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)

Which country has the most OFWs?

Based on the latest Survey on Overseas Filipinos by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Saudi Arabia is the most popular destination for OFWs, with one out of four having worked in the country in 2019.

Other countries with the most OFWs during this period include the United Arab Emirates (13.2%), Hongkong (7.5%), and Taiwan (6.7%).

Reasons why Filipinos work overseas

Here are some of the reasons why Filipinos want to work overseas:

Better career opportunities

Greener pastures, as they say, are one of the top reasons Filipinos want to work overseas. They find more career opportunities abroad where they can practice their specialties.

Overseas Filipinos can also enhance their skills and knowledge, which can make them grow and achieve milestones.

Higher compensation

In line with better career opportunities, the higher pay makes many Filipinos want to work abroad.

By contrast, in the Philippines, people with more years of experience still receive low compensation, which prompts them to reject job offers.

No strict qualifications for some jobs

Another reason why Filipino migrant workers want to work abroad is that companies in the Philippines require employees to have certain skills, years of experience, and educational background.

If you don’t have these qualifications, it will be hard for you to look for a well-paying job.

Permanent residency plan

The longer overseas Filipino workers stay and work abroad, the more chance they will earn a permanent resident permit.

This is one of the greatest appeals of being a long-term OFW — workers strive for better living conditions in other countries through residency.

Reasons why Filipinos work overseas

Taking families abroad

Many Filipinos work abroad to support their families back home.

As they seek better work and lifestyle abroad, being family-oriented, Filipinos would want to take their other family members with them too. It makes it easier when they’ve established employment and residency abroad.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Government is actively implementing initiatives to support female overseas workers.

It recognizes the importance of their contributions to the economy and aims to create programs that address various aspects of their well-being, including crucial support for their children’s education.

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