Thursday, 15 September 2011

OFW: How the Filipinos are distributed around the world.

Around 8.2 million to 11 million overseas Filipinos are the estimated count worldwide or about 11% of the total population of the Philippines. More than a million Filipinos try their luck each year to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. Most of them are women applying as domestic helpers and personal service workers. Others immigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, domestic helpers and maids.

The exodus includes an increasing number of skilled workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in what has been called 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.
This makes our country the fourth largest recipient of remittances with India, China, and Mexico in the top list. OFW remittances represent 13.5% of the country's GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries. In 2009 alone about US$17.348 billion in remittances was sent to the Philippines by overseas Filipinos Worker, the highest in previous years.

So how  Filipinos was distributed around the world?

USA. Filipinos are 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, internet courtship, or direct contact when travel to the Philippines. The US State Department estimated that there are four million Filipinos in the US as of 2007.

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 five years. The United Kingdom is home to around 200,000 OFWs.

Mexico. There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry 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.

Italy. There are about 131,000 Filipinos in Italy.

Iraq. Despite the Philippine government ban on OFWs 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.

 India. Approximately 1,000 Filipinos reside in India. However, government's official figures show some 500 Filipinos.

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. 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 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. 

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Spain. There are around 40,000 Filipinos living abroad in Spain. 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 often were related to housekeeping, healthcare or industrial activities. There is 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 40,000 people. Furthermore, since Filipino citizens are entitled to obtain Spanish citizenship by proving two years of legal residence in Spain, it is estimated that there are around 150,000 people holding dual citizenship (Spanish/Filipino).

Ireland. As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.

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 sometimes 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.

Singapore. Over 150,000 Overseas Filipinos work and reside in the country of Singapore.

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). 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).

Great fares to Europe and beyond.
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 two million Overseas Filipinos are working in the Middle East.

Japan. Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines. However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due too many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.

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. 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. 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.

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.

Australia. In 2000, Australia recorded about 127,000 Filipinos and/or Filipino Australians.

Greece. The Philippine Embassy has reported an estimated of 40,000 Filipinos 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 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 dormant claim on the territory.

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. 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. 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.

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. Besides 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.

Brazil. 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. 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.

Libya. 10,000 Filipinos in Libya have returned home after the foreign affairs department ordered the repatriation of 26,000 Filipinos in the country. Another 14,000 are already in nearby countries while some 1,600 Filipinos still in various parts of Libya. 

Syria. 17,444 Filipinos, The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)  said that a total of 562 Filipinos in Syria have signified their intention to be repatriated to the Philippines.

China. 25,799 Filipinos, 75 are still serving life imprisonment and 1 still facing in death row. The Chinese Embassy in Makati City advised Filipinos and other foreign nationals traveling to China to observe Chinese laws and refrain from engaging in drug trafficking and other drug-related crimes as they would be punished by Chinese judicial authorities if caught.Under Chinese law, smuggling of 50 grams or more of heroin or other illegal drugs is punishable with a jail term of at least 15 years, life imprisonment or death.

Kuwait 155,744 Filipinos
Morroco 643 Filipinos
Algeria 4,937 Filipinos
Tunisia 254 Filipinos
Egypt  5,973 Filipinos
Yemen  2,446 Filipinos
Oman  41,000 Filipinos
Bahrain  50,695 Filipinos
Iran  4,420 Filipinos

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