Common Reasons Why Filipinos Work Overseas and Become OFWs

No matter where you go in the globe, you’ll most likely meet hard-working Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) whom you can rely on. OFWs are known for their dedication to work and admirable qualities, so other races value them. But behind their perseverance, there are many reasons why many Filipinos leave the country and choose to work abroad. Dubbed modern-day heroes, OFWs also help improve the Philippine economy thru the monthly remittances they transfer to their families back in the country.

On the other hand, working abroad is not always sunshine and rainbows, and some may encounter unfortunate circumstances. Being an OFW is risky since you will work and live in an unfamiliar place with different cultures and norms. But why do Filipinos want to work overseas and become an OFW despite the risk? To find out, keep reading as we’ve rounded up the top reasons why many Filipinos want to work abroad based on the experience of other OFWs.

common reasons why filipinos become ofws and work abroad

While there are many risks associated with being an OFW, many Filipinos still make the decision to work overseas. One of the most common reasons why Filipinos work abroad is due to financial difficulties at home. Here are some other reasons:

More Career Opportunities

Whether we like it or not, the top reason why many Filipinos choose to work abroad is due to plenty of career opportunities in foreign countries. Although there are career opportunities in the Philippines, it’s only limited, while foreign countries have more job openings. So if you look for career opportunities outside the Philippines, chances are you will find more job openings. In addition, some careers are more in demand in other countries, such as welders, domestic helpers, and housekeeping-related jobs.

Better Salary and Benefits

Apart from career opportunities, Filipinos want to work overseas for better salaries and benefits. Most foreign employers and companies offer reasonable compensation, attracting many Filipinos to work abroad. For instance, if you’re earning P15,000 a month in the country, you can get double or triple that amount if you choose to become an OFW. Thus, if you consider becoming an OFW, you will certainly get better pay and benefits than working in the Philippines.

Renewable Contracts

As we all know, most OFWs working abroad are under contractual employment. Though having a regular job is better, the usual employment contracts offered to OFWs are contractual. Nonetheless, you may renew your contract every time it expires. Furthermore, you can have a regular job abroad after working for the same employer for a long time. Since you’ll probably start as a contractual employee, you can also look for other employers that offer better pay before your contract expires. So the employment chances are endless overseas, given you’re employable.

Less Strict Job Qualifications

Most large and reputable companies in the Philippines demand good education, experience, and other qualifications for their potential hires. In most cases, candidates with a college diploma and years of experience have better chances of landing a job. Those who don’t meet the qualifications are struggling to find a job with decent pay. Thus, Filipinos leave the country to work overseas since most foreign employers don’t have strict requirements. Also, you can find a job abroad that offers reasonable pay even if you have less than a year of work experience.

Application Discrimination

Although it’s embarrassing to say, discrimination in several sectors does exist, which forces other Filipinos to work abroad. The country is developing into an open society, but still, some workers experience discrimination when applying. Some local employers don’t accept applicants if they don’t have connections or outstanding credentials. Meanwhile, some applicants are qualified but get discriminated against for their looks. Therefore, they look for opportunities abroad, where many people are hired based on their skills and credentials.

High Unemployment Rate

Due to the high unemployment rate in the Philippines, many Filipinos also opt to work abroad as OFWs to provide a better life for their families. While there are job openings here and there, most Filipinos have difficulty landing a regular job that provides financially rewarding pay. Normally, skilled workers in the country have strenuous jobs but only take home little that can hardly sustain their basic needs. Thus, many became unemployed due to dissatisfaction.

Work Experience

If you’re trying to improve your credentials, working abroad is a great way to do it. When you work overseas, you can obtain good work experience and boost your employment chances in the future. It’s another reason why Filipinos want to work abroad. So they can put a notable work experience in their resumes. Once they return to the Philippines, they can find better career opportunities and probably demand reasonable compensation. So it’s a great advantage if you have work experience abroad.

Chance to Get Residence Permit

Aside from the salary, another top reason why OFWs want to work overseas is the chance to get a residence permit. The longer you work abroad increases your chances of earning a residence permit in your host country. For instance, if you’re continuously working for years in a country, you may have the opportunity to stay permanently, especially if you’re often exiting and entering. Earning a residence permit in other countries has many benefits since OFWs can choose where to work or live. It’s also easier to enter the country once you have a residence permit.

Access to Varying Benefits

Filipinos who also choose to become OFWs can access benefits from varying government agencies in the Philippines, such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). This agency provides different services, programs, and support to OFWs and their families, from education and medical assistance to repatriation and reintegration programs. Moreover, OFWs who obtained resident permits can access many benefits for resident ex-pats. So if you’re considering working abroad, aim to become a resident to take advantage of the privileges.

Opportunity to Bring their Families Abroad

You also have the opportunity to bring your family abroad as an OFW if you’re aiming to live overseas for good. Most OFWs have done this, and they’re now living with their spouse and children. However, OFWs have to work for years abroad to realize this dream. They started by working and living alone in foreign countries before they get and sponsor their families abroad. Despite homesickness for years, it’s rewarding for OFWs who have successfully brought their families to live with them abroad.

Dependents Benefits

Whether single or married, all OFWs can access different benefits for their dependents back in the country. For instance, OFWs who became OWWA members entitle their dependents to benefits. These include scholarship grants and livelihood assistance. In addition, dependents of resident ex-pats can access benefits such as free education overseas. If there are calamities, the dependents of OFWs can also request immediate financial assistance. Therefore, becoming an OFW will benefit many families in many ways.

Family and Peer Pressure

One of the top reasons why Filipinos work abroad is the pressure from their family and peers. Those who see their friends get a better life after working overseas attract other Filipinos to try their luck. For instance, your relative or friend was able to invest in a house and car. Then, your families may pressure you to work abroad, so you can also achieve those things. Since Filipinos are family-centered, they consider their relative’s benefits and future when giving life advice.


Having an investment is essential since not everyone is bound to work forever. Thus, Filipinos who don’t have the financial capacity but wish to invest long-term resort to working abroad. If you’re planning to buy a house and lot or a car, working overseas can help your goals come true. Also, working abroad is a great way to fund your capital if you wish to start your own business. So whatever investment you have in mind, becoming an OFW can help turn your dreams into reality.

Save Money

Last but certainly not least, the reason why Filipinos want to work overseas is to save money. For workers earning the minimum age in the Philippines, saving money is impossible for some, especially those with families to feed. But unlike abroad, some OFWs can save money after a couple of years of working. Some are also lucky to save money within a year or two. So if you want to be financially stable before retirement, working overseas is a great choice to save money.


Every OFW has their reasons why they work overseas, whether for their families or personal development. There are also many benefits that OFWs can access, like education, livelihood, and medical assistance. But do note that working in other countries is always a risk. Also, no one can tell if you’ll become unfortunate or not. Therefore, it’s essential to prepare for any situation. Furthermore, ensure that whatever your reasons are for working abroad, do it for your own good and your loved ones.

Before leaving the country to test your luck abroad, don’t forget to check the credibility of your foreign employers with relevant government agencies in the Philippines. In this way, you can be at ease that you have a legit employer abroad. It also prevents you from getting victimized by illegal recruiters and human traffickers. In short, always be cautious when considering applying for a job abroad.

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