Overseas filipino

Overseas Filipinos
Total population
10,455,788 - 13,500,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Countries with over 100,000 overseas Filipinos (2010)
 United States 3,166,529
 Saudi Arabia 1,512,539
 Canada 667,674
 UAE 636,154
 Australia 345,592
 Malaysia 316,273
 Qatar 305,331
 Japan 290,358
 United Kingdom 196,740
 Italy 123,379
Philippine languages, English
Mostly Roman Catholicism · Christianity
Islam · Buddhism.
Related ethnic groups
Filipino people

An Overseas Filipino is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies to Filipinos who are both abroad indefinitely as citizens or permanent residents of a different country, and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or a student. It can also include seamen and others who work outside the Philippines but are not residents, either permanent or temporary, of another country.

They are known by a variety of terms with slightly different and sometimes overlapping meanings. Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs are Filipinos working abroad that are expected to return permanently either upon the expiration of a work contract or upon retirement. Balikbayans are Filipinos who have become citizens of another country and have returned to the Philippines for a temporary though extended visit. Global Filipino is a term of more recent vintage that less widely used.

A former economics professor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 10th President of the Philippines, applied the term Overseas Filipino Investor or OFI for Filipino expatriates who contribute to the economy through remittances, buying properties and creating businesses.[2]

As a result of this migration, many countries have substantial Filipino communities.


In 2010, the Commission on Overseas Filipinos estimated that approximately 9.5 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad.[3] This is about ten percent of the population figure of 94.01 estimated by the National Statistics Office.[4]

More than a million Filipinos every year leave to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. Many of them are women applying as nurses or 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,[5] entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, domestic helpers and fast food workers.

The exodus includes a 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. For example, doctors have retrained to become nurses.

Economic impact

In 2012, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, expects official remittances coursed through banks and agents to grow 5% over 2011 to US$21 billion, but official remittances are only a fraction of all remittances.[6] Remittances by unofficial, including illegal, channels are estimated by the Asian Bankers Association to be 30 to 40% higher than the official BSP figure.[6] In 2011, remittances were US$20.117 billion.[7]

This Philippines is the fourth largest recipient of official remittances after China, India, and Mexico.[6] OFW remittances represent 13.5% of the country's GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries.[8] OFW remittances is also credited for the Philippines' recent economic growth resulting to investment status upgrades from credit ratings agencies such as Fitch and S&P.[9]

In 2012, approximately 80% of the remittances came from only 7 countries—United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Japan.[7] These countries are widely dispersed around the globe—in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, respectively.

Countries with Filipino populations

  • Brazil: As of 2008, 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.In Venezuela there are 136 Filipinos citizens according to 2001 Census and the community amounts to 500 inhabitants.[10] 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.[11]
  • 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.[HKG]
  • India: Approximately 1,000 Filipinos reside in India. However, government's official figures show some 500 Filipinos.
  • Italy: There are about 250,000 Filipinos in Italy. This makes the country host to more Filipinos than any other countries in Europe. Given the high amount of women working as domestic helpers, the Italian term "filippina" is now often used as a sinonime for this profession.
  • Iraq: Despite that the Philippine government banned OFWs from 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.
  • Japan: Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines.[JPN][16] 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.[LBN]
  • Malaysia: As Sabah is very close to the Philippines, many Filipino residents and illegal immigrants live and work 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 claim on the eastern part of the territory.
  • 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. The Philippine government estimates 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]
  • Norway: The number of Filipinos 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. An additional 35,000 Filipinos working on Norwegian-owned or operated ships or in shipyards.[21]
  • Oman: As of 2011, there are between 40,000 and 46,000 Filipinos in Oman.[22] Oman was the only Middle Eastern nation included on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration's list of nations safe for OFWs.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • Singapore: As of 2009, over 163,000 Overseas Filipinos worked and resided in Singapore.[12] 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.[POEA2004]
  • 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.[24]
  • Sweden: There are about 4,000 Filipinos in Sweden, mostly are married to Swedes and working in housekeepers in hotels and as caregivers.
  • 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).[ROC] 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.[12] Many Filipino seamen settled in British port cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Liverpool even had an area nicknamed 'Little Manila'[26]
  • Venezuela: There are 136 Filipino citizens registered in the 2001 Census.


See also


External links

General statistics from Philippine government

  • POEA2004 a b c d e f g h i (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)
  • 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

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