Overseas Filipinos

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An Overseas Filipino is a person of Philippine origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies both to people of Filipino ancestry who now live and reside as citizens of a different country, and those who continue to be Filipino citizens and those supporting their families back in the Philippines. It may also extend to Filipinos having extended holidays abroad, however, common usage does not usually include this group.

The term Global Filipino is now also being used to refer to a Filipino citizen who lives and works abroad. The performance of the Philippine economy over recent decades, combined with a widespread knowledge of English, a legacy of the Philippines' position as a former United States colony, have made Filipinos one of the most internationally mobile nationalities. Filipino workers greatly contribute to this, as they need to support their families back at home. As a result, many countries around the world have a substantial Filipino community.


Population in Diaspora

There are more than 10 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.<ref name="Trouble in Paradise">Trouble in Paradise [1].Accessed 2005-12-16</ref>

Each year, the Philippines sends out more than a million of its nationals to work abroad through its overseas employment program. Others leave to become permanent residents of their country of destination. Overseas Filipinos are typically known to be as doctors, accountants, IT professionals, entertainers, teachers, nurses, engineers, military servicemen, students, domestic helpers, housekeepers, and caregivers.

The Filipino diaspora is the third largest in terms of population among overseas Asian groups. The Overseas Chinese is the largest, with about 35 million followed by the Overseas Indian at 22 million.

Overseas Filipino Workers

An Overseas Filipino Worker (often abbreviated as OFW) is a term for a Filipino who is employed in work outside the Philippines. Some eight million Filipinos, out of a population of 80 million, have left the country to seek work abroad, attracted by jobs with salaries that far exceed those of jobs available in the Philippines. These jobs often include nursing, technology, fishing and teaching. Money sent by OFWs back to the Philippines is a major factor in the country's economy, amounting to more than US$10 billion in 2005. <ref name=OFW Remittances|>Overseas Filipino Remittances. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.</ref> This makes the country the fourth largest recipient behind India, China and Mexico. The amount represents 13.5% of the country's GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries. <ref name=inq7.net|>Remittances can't replace good economic policies. Retrieved on 2005-12.</ref>

However, the exodus of workers from the country includes an increasing number of skilled workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in serious brain drain, particularly in the health and education sectors. Also, the exodus can result in underemployment, especially in cases where doctors undergo retraining to become nurses.

Nations with large Filipino constituencies

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  • 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 with American society. The population is estimated to be 2,807,731<ref name="US Census Bureau, Filipino or in any combination">US demographic census. Retrieved on 2006-11-19.</ref> However, this number is speculated to be at 4.5 million, according to many Filipino American organizations, with 1 million who are illegally in the USA. They are also the second largest Asian-American subgroup only after the Chinese. Filipinos are also the second largest immigrant group up to this day. They remain active in many issues, including the controversial immigration policies. In 2006, the United States Congress hailed the 100th year of Filipino migration to the nation. An average of 85,000 Filipinos migrate to the US annually as legal permanent residents, while an estimated of 400,000 visit for business and pleasure.
  • Canada. Only a small population of Filipinos resided in Canada until the late 20th century. There are currently between 300,000 to 350,000 Filipino Canadians and immigrants in Canada. They are also the third largest Asian Canadian subgroup in the nation.
  • Spain. With around 70,000 citizens, the Filipinos form the 2nd largest Asian community in Spain behind the Chinese. 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 metropoli during the 1960s and 1970s seeking jobs, which in many cases were related to housekeeping 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 Isabel Preysler, mother of famous singer Enrique Iglesias.
  • Hong Kong. There are 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). 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.
  • Singapore. As many as 132,000 Overseas Filipinos work and reside in the nation-state of Singapore. Moreover, about 200,000 Filipinos visit the country annually, making them one of the biggest foreign tourists of Singapore.
  • Taiwan. According to 2006 data of the government of the Republic of China (ROC), there are 96,000 of "foreign workers" from the Philippines. Of the 96,000 Filipinos in Taiwan, 58,704 are in manufacturing industries, and 34,602 are in social or personal services (eg. housekeeper)[2]. According to 2004 data by the Philippine Government, there are 2,037 stay permanently, 154,135 stay for work contracts, and 4,500 stay irregularly, which make a sum of 160,672.
  • Japan Some 500,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Japanese are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines. However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark, in relation to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals in the Land of the Rising Sun.
  • South Korea In South Korea some 98,000 Overseas Filipinos work in different types of employment, particularly as housekeepers, educators, nurses, and caregivers. Historically, Filipinos were able to enter South Korea freely due to the visa-waiver agreement that previously existed between the Philippines and South Korea. Aside from this number, there is an estimated 50,000 Filipinos who are unlisted due to their immigration status.
  • Lebanon As many as 40,000 OFWs are working in the nation of 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.
  • United Kingdom Nurses and caregivers have begun flocking into the United Kingdom these past years. The island-nation has welcomed about 20,000 nurses and other Filipinos of various employment and lifestyle during the past 5 years. The United Kingdom may be home to some 100,000 Filipino nationals.
  • Greece The Filipino population in Greece has now reached 90,000, 85% of whom are women. This is according to estimates of Kasapi-Hellas, an organization of the Filipino migrant community there. Some 60%-70% of this population is undocumented. This number is set to increase with the implementation of a new law which limits to five years the maximum length of stay of migrant workers in Greece.
  • 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 of the Filipino residents 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 provide any necessary help to its nationals. Historically, The Philippines has a dormant claim on the territory. Native Sabahans themselves are closely related to southern Filipinos.
  • New Zealand There are about 30,000 Filipino residents including Filipino New Zealanders, There is a small amount of Filipino maids and caregivers present in the country. The New Zealand government is very tight on the type of people coming in and out of the country. New Zealand has accommodated Filipino telecommunications as well as media. As in the other countries above, most either have The Filipino Channel (TFC), operated by ABS-CBN and/or GMA Pinoy TV.
  • Norway People with Filipino background in Norway is estimated to about 9,000, most of them living in the Oslo urban area. Most of the Filipino immigrants to Norway are females, representing 76 % of the total of 9,000.

See also

External links

  • Life on the Spot Two Filipino expats blog about life and living in Doha, Qatar. Provides helpful insights and tips to those moving to Qatar.



General statistics from Philippine government

Original Source

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