View Full Version : What Are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)?

12th September 2014, 11:27
Do you have any plans to go abroad and work as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)? That would be a very valiant act. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are those Filipino people who live and make a living outside of the Philippines. This term is used to describe Filipinos who are both abroad indefinitely as citizens or permanent residents of different country, and those Filipino people abroad for work contract. Filipinos work abroad, especially the OFWs, are expected to return permanently to the Philippines either upon the expiration of their work contract with their employer or upon retirement.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimates that 10% of the population of the Philippines or around nine million people are working overseas as temporary workers at any given time. It is important to take note that 42% of these groups have immigrated to live permanently in other countries. OFWs differ since they are temporarily based overseas and they are usually sent abroad by their employment agency. They are sent to different foreign countries across the world, including those in the Middle East, Europe, East Asia, North America and Australia. Many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are employed in what they call the “3-D jobs”: Difficult, Dirty, and Dangerous. In 2008, over 1.3 million Filipino workers were deployed overseas as medical professionals, construction workers, domestic helpers, maritime workers, and IT experts.

OFWs are often referred to as modern day heroes. They work and make a living abroad in order to give their family left in the Philippines a good life, even it takes them far away from home. Other reasons may include paying for medical bills for a sick relative, education for their children, and because there are simply no jobs in their local region. Filipinos are often subjected to unfair working conditions, long hours, low pay, and human rights abuses when working abroad. This is a sacrifice they are willing to make. Ten percent of migrant Filipinos are undocumented or overstaying in a foreign country and this is for various reasons, such as being scammed by employment agencies, being abused or threatened by employers abroad and ended contracts, but still wanting to work. They are often employed through unofficial channels, so are afraid to complain about any wrongdoing, as they will lose their jobs.

OFWs work hard abroad to earn money for their families and they send it home through remittances. In 2008, US$16.4 billion was sent to the Philippines as remittances, making up 11.4% of the country's GDP (Bangko Sentralng Pilipinas, National Statistics Office, CIA World Factbook). Remittances are sent directly to the OFWs families through official and unofficial channels. Families spend their received remittances on food, and improvements to their homes, but very little of the money is saved.