Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are basically foreign workers who work outside the Philippines and live in a foreign country for an indefinite or limited period of time. Overseas Filipino workers hold Philippine citizenship and choose to migrate abroad for temporary assignments to support themselves and their families back home, while they provide the same crucial service to other countries.
OFW’s often find work as domestic helpers, construction workers, nurses, caregivers, seamen/women, working professionals, and many other professions, depending on demand from overseas employers. The POLO-OWWA offices abroad are the ones that cater to the welfare and labor issues of Filipinos based overseas.
The Philippines currently has around 10 million Overseas Filipinos worldwide with approximately 2.6 Million working in Saudi Arabia alone. The majority of Overseas Filipino Workers are Overseas contract workers, holding employment contracts with their overseas employers, which can range between one month to several years. These types of foreign employees are also known as time-based migrant workers.
What is the meaning of OFW?
OFW stands for Overseas Filipino Workers. These are people from all walks of life – from mothers to construction workers, teachers to professional doctors. They travel to different parts of the world where they take on different jobs that vary depending on their profession.
Why do many Filipinos want to work abroad?
Many Overseas Filipinos want to work abroad because they can earn more money there than at home and send it home to their families. Here are the list of reasons why Filipinos work abroad and become OFWs:
- To provide income stability for their family.
- Better career opportunities.
- To be able to provide for their children’s education.
- Overseas Filipino Workers can maximize their skill-sets in order to gain better employment through skills training and higher learning.
- They feel like they have more freedom than working in the country because of all the reasons listed above.
- They take jobs that they believe will lead to better opportunities for themselves and their families.
What types of jobs do Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) do?
The jobs OFWs do range from caregivers, construction workers, factory labor, to professional work such as nurses, engineers, IT, etc. Overseas Filipino Workers are all over the world including the Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries in Europe.
Depending on the level of education that they have attained in the Philippines, they can get a variety of jobs including :
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work as Overseas Manpower (caregivers, domestic helpers such as nannies and maids)
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in the construction industry (construction workers or carpenters)
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in manufacturing (factory workers)
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in other fields like engineering and medicine (engineers and doctors)
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in the field of Information Technology (IT)
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in the field of Customer Service
- Overseas Filipino Workers who work in the field of Nursing
How to Become an OFW?
Overseas Filipino Workers can get a job working by applying for a POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency)-accredited agency. This type of agency will generally look for employment opportunities and place Overseas Filipino Workers overseas.
WARNING: If you plan to become an OFW, make sure you apply to accredited POEA-agencies. These accredited job agencies screen applicants based on qualifications and background before hiring them to make sure they are qualified for the job they are applying for. Other job agencies don’t screen Overseas Filipino Workers, which is one of the reasons why some OFWs in these agencies become victims of human trafficking crimes in other countries. If you want a list of accredited POEA-agencies, click here.
Why do Overseas Filipinos send remittances?
Every month Overseas Filipinos around the world send money to their loved ones as a remittance by transferring money from one bank account to another electronically using websites. The monthly remittance to their families is used for their daily needs and to pay for bills. Overseas Filipino Workers send remittances every month because their family depends on them.
How do Overseas Filipino Workers contribute to the economy of the Philippines?
Overseas Filipinos contribute greatly to the Philippine Economy. Every Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) sends around an average $400 in remittance every month which contributes to the Philippine Economy. Overseas Filipinos also spend money when they visit friends or family or during holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Birthdays, etc.
How do Overseas Filipinos send money?
There are many ways Overseas Filipino Workers make sure they get their remittance from one country to another, some examples are listed below:
- Bank Wire Transfer – It is a safe way to transfer money from one bank account to another electronically. The fee is usually around $25 for Overseas Filipino Workers to send money overseas.
- Western Union – Overseas Filipino Workers can pay a fee of around $15 to $25 per transaction when they send money overseas using Western Union.
- MoneyGram – Overseas Filipino Workers is almost the same as Western Union, although this one charges Overseas Filipino Workers less than Western Union when they transfer money from one country to another.
What is the role of Overseas Filipino Workers in the economy of the Philippines?
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Filipino Workers should be considered temporary workers for the purpose of labor export policy formulation and program implementation.
Overseas Filipinos play an important role in sending remittances to their country. OFWs typically send money back home to support their families by paying for rent or mortgage, utilities, food, and clothing bills, education, etc. The Philippines has been benefitting from money sent home by OFWs as one of its sources of income as it contributes to the Philippine GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Remittances received in the Philippines accounted for 9.7 percent of the country’s total GDP in 2020.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) work full-time overseas as a job with a fixed income during a certain part of the year and return home to spend time with family for a few months back home in the Philippines every year or so. Overseas Filipinos play an important role in sending remittances to their country. OFWs typically send money back home to support their families by paying for rent or mortgage, utilities, food, and clothing bills, education, etc.
The Philippines has been benefitting from money sent home by Overseas Filipino Workers as one of its sources of income as it contributes to the Philippine GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Remittances received in the Philippines accounted for 9.7% of the country’s total
We hope you have found this guide helpful in understanding better what the role of OFWs is to the Philippines and have a better idea of what an OFW is.