Overseas Filipino

Overseas Filipino
Overseas Filipinos
Flag of the Philippines.svg
Total population
11,000,000+ estimates [1][2]
Regions with significant populations
 United States 2,877,666
 Saudi Arabia 1,159,003
 Malaysia 900,000
 Canada 639,686
 UAE 609,704
 Japan 350,972
 Australia 336,140
 Qatar 263,980
 Spain 241,268[3]
 United Kingdom 200,987
 Mexico 200,000
 Hong Kong 168,550
 Singapore 163,090
 Kuwait 155,744
 Italy 119,508
 Taiwan 94,283
 South Korea 81,395
 Germany 55,309
 Greece 51,656
 Bahrain 50,695
 France 50,013
 Oman 41,000
 Israel 39,002
 Jordan 32,896
 Lebanon 31,348
 Austria 29,824
 New Zealand 27,139
 Libya 23,713
 Guam 23,563
 Switzerland 22,431
 Norway 20,683
 Cyprus 20,284

Philippine languages, English, Spanish and language(s) of country of residence.


Mostly Christianity (Catholic or other denominations), minorities practice Islam, Buddhism, Paganism, Atheism, and other religions.

Related ethnic groups

Filipino people

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 Filipinos migrate to other nations to find employment or support their families in the Philippines. As a result of this migration, many countries have substantial Filipino communities.

Often, these Filipinos are referred to as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The term "Global Filipino" is another word of more recent vintage but less widely used.

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo applied the term "Overseas Filipino Investor" or "OFI" for Filipino expatriates who contribute to the economy through remittances, buying properties and creating businesses.[4]



Around 8.6 million to 11 million overseas Filipinos are the estimated count worldwide or about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.[1][2]

More than a million Filipinos try their luck each year to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. A majority of them are women applying as domestic helpers and personal service workers. Others emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects,[5] 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 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.

Economic impact

Remittances sent by OFWs to the Philippines contribute to the country's economy, with a value of more than US$10 billion in 2005.[6] This makes the 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.[7]

In 2008, overseas Filipinos sent US$15.9 billion worth of remittances to the Philippines,[8] up from the US$14.4 billion in 2007, and US$13 billion in 2006.[9][10]

In 2009, about US$17.348 billion in remittances was sent to the Philippines by overseas Filipinos, higher than in previous years.[11]

Countries with Filipino populations

  • United States. Despite race relations problems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the American Northwest, most Filipino Americans today find it easy to integrate into American society, with a majority belonging to the middle class. 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,[12] internet courtship, or direct contact when travel to the Philippines. The US State Department estimated that there are 4 million Filipinos in the US as of 2007.[13]
  • 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 5 years. The United Kingdom is home to around 200,000 OFWs.[1]
  • Mexico. There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry[14] living in Mexico, some of whom are of mixed blood heritage. They are descendants of Filipino slaves and immigrants who settled in Mexico during the colonial period. 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. This makes the country host to more Filipinos than any other countries in Europe.
  • Iraq. In spite of the Philippine government ban on OFWs working in Iraq, an estimated 1,000-3,000 Filipinos[citation needed] 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.[15] 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 there 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.[16] See Filipino Canadians.
  • Spain. There are around 50,000 Filipino legal workers living abroad in Spain.[1] 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 in many cases were related to housekeeping, healthcare or industrial activities. There's also a significant group of Spaniards of Filipino origins (some of whom are from 3rd and 4th generations) including some famous people like former Spanish Prime Minister Manila-born Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero or Isabel Preysler, mother of famous singer Enrique Iglesias. This group 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). All in all, the entire population of total or partial Filipino origins is around 300,000 [3], nearly 0,7% of Spanish population.
  • Ireland. As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.[17]
  • 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 in some cases 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.[HKG]
  • Singapore. Over 150,000 Overseas Filipinos work and reside in the country of Singapore.[POEA2004]
  • 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).[ROC] 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).[citation needed]
  • 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[who?] that more than 2 million Overseas Filipinos are working in the Middle East.
  • Japan. Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines.[JPN][18] However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.[citation needed]
  • 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.[19] Many Filipino women came to Pakistan for work married Pakistanis and hold Pakistani citizenship.
  • 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.[LBN]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]
  • 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. In addition to 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.[25]

  • Brazil. As of 2008, 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.[26] 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.[27]


  1. ^ a b c d "Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos As of December 2009". Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. http://www.poea.gov.ph/stats/Stock%20Estmate%202009.pdf. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  2. ^ a b Yvette Collymore (June 2003). "Rapid Population Growth, Crowded Cities Present Challenges in the Philippines". Population Reference Bureau. http://www.prb.org/Articles/2003/RapidPopulationGrowthCrowdedCitiesPresentChallengesinthePhilippines.aspx. Retrieved 2007-08-14. "About 10 percent of the country's population, or nearly 8 million people, are overseas Filipino workers spread in 182 countries, according to PoPCOM. This does not include the estimated 3 million illegal migrants who work abroad." 
  3. ^ a b http://www.elcorreo.com/agencias/20110802/economia/filipinas-alerta-trabajadores-deficiente-mercado_201108021021.html
  4. ^ "Editorial — Overseas Filipino investors". Philippines Today. 15 October – 14 November 2001. http://www.philippinestoday.net/October2001/editorial1001.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  5. ^ "[Info-Bureau] FW: STATEMENT ON FILIPINO HOSTAGE". Philippine Women Centre of B.C — requoted by lists.ilps-news.com Mailing Lists. 19 July 2004. http://lists.ilps-news.com/pipermail/info-bureau/2004-July/000401.html. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  6. ^ "Overseas Filipino Remittances". http://www.bsp.gov.ph/statistics/spei/tab11.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  7. ^ "Remittances can't replace good economic policies". Archived from the original on 2006-03-05. http://web.archive.org/web/20060305192447/http://www.inq7.net/globalnation/sec_new/2005/dec/02-01.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  8. ^ "UPDATE 1-Manila c.bank sees 15 pct remittances growth in 2008". Forbes. 2008-10-13. http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2008/10/13/afx5548834.html. 
  9. ^ "Filipino overseas workers remittances rise by 26 pct in March". People's daily Online. 15 May 2007. http://english.people.com.cn/200705/15/eng20070515_374856.html. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  10. ^ . http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/02/15/afx4659876.html. [dead link]
  11. ^ http://www.gmanews.tv/story/191757/new-system-to-slash-ofw-remittance-fees-says-bsp
  12. ^ The "Mail-Order Bride" Industry and its Impact on U.S. Immigration, Robert J. Scholes
  13. ^ "Background Note: Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. May 2007. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2794.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-02. "There are an estimated four million Americans of Philippine ancestry in the United States, and more than 250,000 American citizens in the Philippines." 
  14. ^ http://www.ezilon.com/cgi-bin/information/exec/view.cgi?archive=1&num=476 Mercene, Floro L. Filipinos in Mexican history. "By Pinzon’s estimate, there are about 200,000 descendants of Filipinos in southern Mexico. They are concentrated in the Costa Grande north of Acapulco. The town of Coyuca 35 miles north of Acapulco was called Filipino town in the old days. There is also a large Filipino community in Colima, about eight hours ride north of Acapulco." Retrieved 09 NOV 2010.
  15. ^ "Table 29. Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos As of December 2006" (PDF). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). http://www.poea.gov.ph/stats/2006Stats.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  16. ^ http://www.visabureau.com/canada/news/31-12-2008/philippines-takes-over-china-as-number-one-source-of-canadian-immigrants.aspx
  17. ^ Profile of the Filipino Community in Ireland. Philippine Embassy in London. http://www.philembassy-uk.org/default.asp?iId=KHEHL. Retrieved March 8, 2008 
  18. ^ . Japan=Overseas Filipino: Department of Foreign Affairs to Filipinos in Japan 'Heed advisories'. March 12, 2011. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/03/12/11/dfa-pinoys-japan-heed-advisories/. 
  19. ^ "Philippines monitors condition of Filipino workers in Pakistan". M&C. Nov 5, 2007. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1371134.php/Philippines_monitors_condition_of_Filipino_workers_in_Pakistan. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  20. ^ "Korean embassy hints at action vs 15,000 undocumented OFWs". Asian journal. July 16, 2007. http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=186&a=21596. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  21. ^ Philippine Embassy in Athens, Greece and Cyprus
  22. ^ Quismundo, Tarra (8 May 2007). "Filipino workers recount nightmare in Nigeria". The Inquirer (Manila). http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view_article.php?article_id=64666. Retrieved 2008-10-10 
  23. ^ Caber, Michael (5 May 2007). "Kidnappers, officials meet on hostages in Nigeria". Manila Standard Today. http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=news4_may5_2007. Retrieved 2008-10-10 
  24. ^ Flores, Maynard (28 October 2008). "Nigeria-base OFWs renew appeal to PGMA to lift the ban". The PBSN Blogsite. http://philbrgysocietyinnigeria.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/nigeria-base-ofws-renew-appeal-to-pgma-to-lift-the-ban/. Retrieved 2008-10-10 
  25. ^ http://www.philembassy.no/book/export/html/53
  26. ^ "Profile of Filipinos in Brazil". Backgrounder: Brazil. Philippines: Office of the Press Secretary. 2009. http://www.ops.gov.ph/brazil2009/backgrounder.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-20 
  27. ^ Kwok, Abigail (2009-04-29). "38 OFWs in Brazil jail for drug trafficking". The Inquirer. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view/20090429-202073/38-OFWs-in-Brazil-jail-for-drug-trafficking. Retrieved 2010-05-22 

External links

General statistics from Philippine government

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