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Overseas Filipino Workers are estimated at 1.77 million

The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or Filipino workers who worked abroad during the period of April to September 2020 was estimated at 1.77 million. Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contracts comprised 96.4 percent or equivalent to 1.71 million of the total OFWs during the same  period. Other OFWs who worked abroad without working visa or work permits such as tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of non-immigrant visas but were presently employed and working full time in other countries had 3.6 percent share. (Table 1 and Figure 1)

The number of OFWs dropped by -18.6 percent, equivalent to 405.62 thousand overseas workers from 2019 to 2020. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, OFWs were registered at 2.18 million, 2.11 million were OCWs and about 69 thousand were other Filipino workers abroad with valid working visa and work permits (Table 1 and Figure 1).


Majority of Overseas Filipino Workers are women

By sex, more women were reported to be working overseas, accounting for 59.6 percent or 1.06 million in 2020. On the other hand, 40.4 percent or 0.72 million were male OFWs. The same trend was observed in 2019 where 55.4 percent of the total 2.18 million OFWs were women while 44.6 percent were men.

By age group, a greater number of Overseas Filipino Workers in 2020 were in age groups 30 to 34 years (22.4%), 35-39 years (20.5%), and 45 years and over (19.1%); while, in 2019, 22.3 percent of OFWs of both sexes were also in age group 30 to 34 years, 20.3 percent in 25-29 years, and 18.8 percent were in 35-39 years age group. (Table 1)

Male overseas workers in age group 45 years and over comprised the largest group at 23.3 percent, 21.2 percent were in age group 30 to 34 years. Female overseas workers in 30 to 34 years age group were accounted at 23.3 percent while 22.2 percent were in the 35-39 years age group. (Table 2 and Figure 2)


Four in every ten OFWs are in elementary occupations

Largest share (46.7%) of OFWs in 2020 were engaged in elementary occupations. This is followed by those engaged in service and sales with 14.4 percent and 11.5 percent who worked as plant and machine operators and assemblers. (Table 2)

Among the 1.06 million female OFWs, majority or 70.3 percent of were engaged in elementary occupation and 12.6 percent were service and sales workers. Among the male OFWs, largest share of workers were in the following occupations: plant and machine operators and assemblers (26.0%), service and sales workers (17.0%), craft and related trades workers (15.9%), technicians and associate professionals (13.9%), and elementary occupations (12.0%). (Table 2 and Figure 3)


CALABARZON has the largest proportion of OFWs

Across the country’s 17 regions, CALABARZON contributed the largest number of OFWs, estimated at 18.5 percent or 185 in every 1,000 OFWs in 2020.

Further, for every 100 OFWs in 2020, around 12 were from Region III, 9 were from Region VI, 8 were from National Capital Region and also 8 were from Region 1. In 2019, these same regions likewise reported the largest proportion of OFWs. (Table 1 and Figure 4)


Saudi Arabia is the leading destination of OFWs

By place of work, OFWs working in Asia were accounted at 83.6 percent of the country’s total OFWs. About 26.6 percent of the total 1.77 million OFWs worked in Saudi Arabia, followed by United Arab Emirates at 14.6 percent. Other countries in Asia with large number of OFWs include: Kuwait (6.4%), Hongkong (6.3%), Qatar (5.4%), and Singapore (5.3%).

OFWs working in Europe registered at 6.7 percent, while OFWs in North and South America and in Australia were reported at 5.2 percent and 3.4 percent respectively. (Table 3 and Figure 5)


Total Remittance reach 134.77 billion pesos in 2020

The total remittance sent by OFWs during the period, April to September 2020 reached 134.77 billion pesos. These includes cash sent (113.08 billion pesos), cash brought home (18.98 billion pesos), and in kind (2.71 billion pesos).

The average remittance sent by every OFWs from April to September 2020 was placed at 86.81 thousand pesos, lower than the average remittance valued at 106.62 thousand pesos sent in 2019 for the same months. (Table 4 and Figure 6)


Banks are most preferred in sending cash remittances

In terms of the preferred mode of remittance, about 51.0 percent of the cash remittances were sent by the OFWs thru banks amounting to 57.68 billion pesos. In 2019, the total value of cash remittances sent thru banks was estimated at 91.38 billion pesos. Aside from banks, 45.9 percent of the total cash remittances were made thru money transfer services amounting to 51.88 billion pesos. Collective share of around 3.1 percent of the cash remittances sent by the Filipinos working in other countries were through agency/local office of the OFW, friends/co-worker, door to door, etc. (Table 6)




▪ The number of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) in 2020 was estimated at 1.77 million, which was lower than the 2.18 million reported in 2019.

▪ The number of Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) decreased to 1.71 million in 2020 from 2.11 million in 2019.

▪ Total remittance sent in 2020 reached 134.77 billion pesos, which was lower than the 210.40 billion pesos reported in 2019.

▪ On average, about 86.81 thousand pesos remittance per OFW was sent in 2020, an amount that is much lower than the 106.62 thousand pesos average remittance sent per OFW in 2019.


National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

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