Overseas Filipino: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overseas Filipinos
Flag of the Philippines.svg
Total population
8,726,520-11,000,000 estimates [1][2]
Regions with significant populations
 United States 2,802,586
 Saudi Arabia 1,066,401
 UAE 529,114
 Canada 462,935
 Australia 270,347
 Malaysia 244,967
 United Kingdom 203,035
 Japan 202,557
 Qatar 195,558
 Singapore 156,466
 Kuwait 139,802
 Hong Kong 130,537
 Italy 120,192
 South Korea 80,715
 Taiwan 74,010
 Germany 54,336
 France 47,075
 Bahrain 44,703
 Spain 41,780
 Israel 36,880
 Greece 29,344
 Lebanon 25,818
 Macau 23,348
 New Zealand 23,023
 Guam 22,567
 Norway 20,035
 Netherlands 19,163
 Sweden 18,435
 Ireland 16,832
 Papua New Guinea 12,932
 Switzerland 12,042

Philippine languages, English and language(s) of country of residence.


Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Paganism, Atheism, and other religions.

Related ethnic groups

Filipino people

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 are citizens or residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad on a more temporary status.

Most overseas Filipino migrate to other nations to find employment or support their families in the Philippines. As a result of this migration, many countries have a substantial Filipino community.

Often, these Filipinos are referred to as "Overseas Filipino Workers" or "OFWs". The term "Global Filipino" is another term of more recent vintage but less widely used.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently applied the term "Overseas Filipino Investor" or "OFI" for Filipino expatriates who contribute to the economy through remittances, buying property and creating businesses.[3]



There are about 8.7 to 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, equivalent to about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.[1][2]

Each year, more than a million Filipinos leave to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government sponsored ones. Others emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects,[4] entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, [seafarers], students, caregivers, domestic helpers and household 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.

Economic Impact

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.[5] This makes the country the fourth largest recipient of foreign remittances behind India, China, and Mexico. The amount represents 13.5% of the Philippines' GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries mentioned.[6]

Overseas Filipinos sent $15.9 billion worth of remittances to the Philippines in 2008,[7] up from the $14.4 billion in 2007, and $13 billion in 2006.[8][9]

Nations with large Filipino constituencies

  • 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 upper middle class. When compared to other East and Southeast Asian-American groups, Filipino Americans have the second highest median household income, exceeding that of the U.S. general population, surpassed only by Asian Indians.[10]
United States Median Household Income: 2004.[10]
Ethnicity Household Income
Asian Indians $68,771
Filipinos $65,700
Chinese $57,433
Japanese $53,763
Koreans $43,195
Total US Population $44,684

Filipinos are as 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,[11] 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.[12]

  • United Kingdom. Nurses and caregivers have begun flocking to the United Kingdom in recent 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 is home to around 200,000 OFWs.[1]
  • Mexico. There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry[citation needed] living in Mexico, some of whom are of mixed blood heritage. They are descendants of Filipino settlers who settled Mexico during the Spanish period, between 1565-1821. More recently, there were Filipinos who arrived as refugees to Mexico which left during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Their communities are found in Guerrero, Michoacán, and Colima.
  • Iraq. In spite of the Philippine government ban on OFWs working in Iraq, an estimated 1,000-3,000 Filipinos[citation needed] 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 nation in which Filipino men outnumber Filipino women.
  • 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.[13] 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.[14] See Filipino Canadians.
  • Spain. There are around 40,000 Filipinos living abroad in Spain[1]. 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 Isabel Preysler, mother of famous singer Enrique Iglesias, which is estimated in at least up 250,000 people.[citation needed]
  • Ireland. As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.[15]
  • 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). 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]
  • Singapore. Over 150,000 Overseas Filipinos work and reside in the nation-state of Singapore.[POEA2004] Moreover, about 240,000 Filipinos visit the country annually, making them one of the biggest foreign tourists of Singapore.[citation needed]
  • 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).[citation needed]
  • 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 Filipinos have made the Middle East their home.[citation needed]
  • Japan. Some 250,000 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines.[JPN] However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.[citation needed]
  • Pakistan. According to the statistics of the Philippine government, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos live and work in Pakistan. Many Filipinos in Pakistan are domestic workers, including the housemaids of high government officials and rich Pakistanis.[16] Many Filipino women came to Pakistan for work married Pakistanis and hold Pakistani citizenship.
  • South Korea. According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, as of December 2006, some 70,000 Filipinos work and live in Korea.[citation needed] 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.[17]
  • Lebanon. As many as 30,000 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.[LBN]
  • 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 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.
  • New Zealand. There are about 17,000 Filipino residents and citizens in New Zealand called Kiwi-Pino'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.[citation needed]
  • 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]


Overseas Filipino workers, both blue collar and white collar, can face significant obstacles, including illegal recruitment,[23][24] mysterious death,[23][25] racial profiling and discrimination,[26] and kidnapping.[27][28]

In some countries, such as in Hong Kong, China and Singapore,[29] and in Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq,[4] and Saudi Arabia[23] OFWs have reported that their pay was withheld, while others have had their documents confiscated or hidden. Furthermore, some, who are mostly domestic helpers,[24][29] are physically and sexually abused,[23][24], even murdered.[23][25] Well-known cases include those of Flor Contemplacion[29] and Sarah Balabagan.[24]

The Philippine government[30] has responded by having local Philippine consulates and embassies assist with the OFW's needs.[30] NGOs, such as Migrante and Gabriela are also present. Action by the government on these cases have had mixed results with some OFWs returning to the country happy[31] while others return either injured or dead.[23][25]

Other problems faced by OFWs include the risk of involvement in a conflict[31] and the risk of being kidnapped,[4][27][28] such as those in Lebanon,[25][31] Iraq,[4][28] and Nigeria.[27]

Another issue is Filipino women becoming sex slaves in countries such as Japan or other countries. Thousands of women travel abroad for domestic work only to be tricked into sex work. Sex traffickers take their passports, withhold wages and/or physically abuse them.

A major issue which keeps Overseas Filipinos from staying for good in the Philippines is the lack of a comprehensive reintegration policy. Remittances have not been transformed into productive use so the economy still cannot provide better opportunities for those who are returning home.

The Philippine government has put up a plan to provide livelihood and skills training programs to Overseas Filipino Workers to help them reintegrate, ease the impact of their transition of working back home and increase their chances of gaining work again. [1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Table 30. Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos As of December 2007". Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. http://www.poea.gov.ph/stats/stats2007.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  2. ^ a b Yvette Collymore (June 2003). "Rapid Population Growth, Crowded Cities Present Challenges in the Philippines". Population Reference Bureau. http://www.prb.org/Articles/2003/RapidPopulationGrowthCrowdedCitiesPresentChallengesinthePhilippines.aspx. Retrieved 2007-08-14. "An estimated 10 percent of the country's population, or nearly 8 million people, are overseas Filipino workers distributed in 182 countries, according to POPCOM. That is in addition to the estimated 3 million migrants who work illegally abroad" 
  3. ^ "Editorial — Overseas Filipino investors". Philippines Today. 15 October – 14 November 2001. http://www.philippinestoday.net/October2001/editorial1001.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d "[Info-Bureau] FW: STATEMENT ON FILIPINO HOSTAGE". Philippine Women Centre of B.C — requoted by lists.ilps-news.com Mailing Lists. 19 July 2004. http://lists.ilps-news.com/pipermail/info-bureau/2004-July/000401.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  5. ^ "Overseas Filipino Remittances". http://www.bsp.gov.ph/statistics/spei/tab11.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Remittances can't replace good economic policies". http://web.archive.org/web/20060305192447/http://www.inq7.net/globalnation/sec_new/2005/dec/02-01.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  7. ^ http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2008/10/13/afx5548834.html
  8. ^ "Filipino overseas workers remittances rise by 26 pct in March". People's daily Online. 15 May 2007. http://english.people.com.cn/200705/15/eng20070515_374856.html. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  9. ^ http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/02/15/afx4659876.html
  10. ^ a b The American Community-Asians: 2004, U.S. Census Bureau, February 2007, http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/acs-05.pdf, retrieved 2008-10-12 
  11. ^ The "Mail-Order Bride" Industry and its Impact on U.S. Immigration, Robert J. Scholes
  12. ^ "Background Note: Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. May 2007. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2794.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-02. "There are an estimated four million Americans of Philippine ancestry in the United States, and more than 250,000 American citizens in the Philippines." 
  13. ^ "Table 29. Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos As of December 2006" (PDF). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). http://www.poea.gov.ph/stats/2006Stats.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  14. ^ http://www.visabureau.com/canada/news/31-12-2008/philippines-takes-over-china-as-number-one-source-of-canadian-immigrants.aspx
  15. ^ Profile of the Filipino Community in Ireland, Philippine Embassy in London, http://www.philembassy-uk.org/default.asp?iId=KHEHL, retrieved March 8, 2008 
  16. ^ "Philippines monitors condition of Filipino workers in Pakistan". M&C. Nov 5, 2007. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1371134.php/Philippines_monitors_condition_of_Filipino_workers_in_Pakistan. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Korean embassy hints at action vs 15,000 undocumented OFWs". Asian journal. July 16, 2007. http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=186&a=21596. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  18. ^ Philippine Embassy in Athens, Greece and Cyprus
  19. ^ Quismundo, Tarra (8 May 2007), "Filipino workers recount nightmare in Nigeria", The Inquirer (Manila), http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view_article.php?article_id=64666, retrieved 2008-10-10 
  20. ^ Caber, Michael (5 May 2007), "Kidnappers, officials meet on hostages in Nigeria", Manila Standard Today, http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=news4_may5_2007, retrieved 2008-10-10 
  21. ^ Flores, Maynard (28 October 2008), "Nigeria-base OFWs renew appeal to PGMA to lift the ban", The PBSN Blogsite, http://philbrgysocietyinnigeria.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/nigeria-base-ofws-renew-appeal-to-pgma-to-lift-the-ban/, retrieved 2008-10-10 
  22. ^ http://www.philembassy.no/book/export/html/53
  23. ^ a b c d e f "OFW mauled in Saudi is dead". http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/feb/24/yehey/metro/20070224met3.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  24. ^ a b c d "A Death Sentence for a Young Filipino Maid Highlights the Problem of Abuse of asian Servants". http://www.time.com/time/international/1995/951023/justice.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  25. ^ a b c d "Family cries justice for OFW dead in Lebanon". http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/mar/08/yehey/top_stories/20060308top8.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  26. ^ "Malaysia's trouble with migrants". 2005-02-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4229955.stm. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  27. ^ a b c "Nigeria kidnap: Filipinos home". http://cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/02/17/philippines.nigeria/index.html?eref=sitesearch. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  28. ^ a b c "Hero's welcome awaits Angelo dela Cruz after Iraq ordeal". http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2004/07/22/hero.s.welcome.awaits.angelo.dela.cruz.after.iraq.ordeal.(12.15.p.m.).html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  29. ^ a b c "SINGAPORE: The Execution of Flor Contemplacion - A Day of Shame for Singapore". http://www.hrsolidarity.net/mainfile.php/1995vol05no01/1887/. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  30. ^ a b "Shaping the World the Global Filipino". http://www.dfa.gov.ph/archive/speech/romulo/shaping.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  31. ^ a b c "Leyte OFW, happy to be home though unable to bring anything". http://www.samarnews.com/news2006/aug/f747.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 

External links

General statistics from Philippine government

From other sources

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address