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Overseas Filipino workers as the Philippines' new heroes

The government and the economy of the Philippines rely heavily on its overseas Filipino workers; and the country even calls this segment as the new heroes.

But what exactly are these overseas Filipino workers and how important are they to the economy of the country? In the simplest sense, the overseas Filipino worker is that person who works outside the country and has his origin in the Philippines. This is a growing segment of the population of the country, and this segment is growing not just in size but growing in terms of possible impact as well to the economy of the country.

By the latest count by concerned agencies, there are around eleven million Filipinos abroad and this is roughly 11 percent of the population. And of the eight million abroad, 45 percent of this segment is called temporary workers or contract workers. The rate of Filipinos going abroad has received considerable attention in the country as others see this as a negative aspect for the country. They added that this is a classic version of 'brain drain'. But others see a positive light in this scenario since this can eventually save the economy of the country. By some estimates, there are around 2,500 Filipinos who leave the country every day. They leave the country for jobs that cannot be offered by the Philippines.

And the list of popular jobs for Filipinos abroad include;

. Nurses
. Caregivers
. Teachers
. Engineers
. Construction Workers
. Seafarers
. Domestic Helpers
. Entertainers
. Hotel Workers

Filipino workers that work outside of the country usually return to the Philippines after a few months since most of these workers are under contract. And as their contract expires, they have no other option but to return to the country. This kind of set-up in a way balances the usual and the negative 'brain drain' that is attributed to migration. When the overseas Filipino workers get back to the country, then they facilitate a new way of knowledge transfer.

Whatever knowledge that they have gained while working abroad, then this knowledge can transfer to other Filipinos at home. This efficient transfer of knowledge is will stimulate socio-economic growth in the country. This scenario is what analysts call as the 'brain gain'. And according to the International Organization for Migration, this works well for a country like the Philippines. Migrants who return to their home country, in this case to the Philippines will effectively contribute to the human capital and to the development of their home towns. There are a number of reasons why Filipinos get out of the country.

But the main reason here is the lack of well-paying jobs in the country. And since the working population of the country is well-versed in English, then this has motivated a lot of Filipinos to try their luck in other countries. The influx of these Filipinos to other countries has paved the way for the development of 'Filipino communities' in many countries around the world. Just recently, the President of the country created the term Overseas Filipino Investor and this is the term used to label the Filipino expatriate who contribute to the economy of the Philippines through remittances or thru the buying of property and by the creation of business.

The Overseas Filipino Workers are best known for their role in propping up the Philippine economy. The remittances by these workers are the main factor why the Philippine economy is going stronger. As of 2005, the remittances amounted to more than $10 billion. With this figure, the Philippines have become the fourth largest recipient of the foreign remittances.

The list of top four countries which receives the biggest remittances;

1 India
2 China
3 Mexico
4 Philippines

The amount gained by the country amounts to 13.5 percent of the country's GDP which is in turn the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the top four countries listed. By 2007, the Overseas Filipino Workers sent $14.4 billion and this was up from the 2006 figures. By 2008, the remittances will be worth $15.9 billion. A large portion of the OFWs are concentrated in the United States, and there is a large Filipino community in the country.

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