Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
There are about 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, equivalent to about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.
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, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, 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.
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. 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.
Overseas Filipinos sent back $14.4 billion in remittances to the Philippines in 2007, up from the $13 billion in 2006.
The Philippines has estimated an inflow of $15.9 billion worth of remittances in 2008.