One in Three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) is a Laborer or Unskilled Worker (Results from the 2006 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2006 reached 1.52 million. The 2006 estimate represents an increase of 14.3 percent over the 1.33 million OFWs estimated for the period April to September 2005. The Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work-contract abroad comprised 91.4 percent (1.38 million) of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2006. This number is 14.0 percent more than the 1.21 million OCWs for the same months in 2005. OFWs who were laborers or unskilled workers, that is, domestic helpers, cleaners and manufacturing laborers comprised 35.1 percent of the total OFWs. Those who were trade workers or trade-related workers made up 14.7 percent, while those who were service workers and shop and market sales workers accounted for 13.8 percent.

The number of female OFWs was recorded at 764 thousand, the males at 751 thousand. Female OFWs were generally younger compared to male OFWs. Of the total number of female OFWs, 28.8 percent belonged to the age group 25 to 29 years while 14.7 percent were in the age group 15 to 24 years. Meanwhile, male OFWs were somewhat evenly distributed among the age groups 25 to 29, 30 to 34 and 45 and over.

The OFWs from CALABARZON (16.8%), National Capital Region (16.4%) and Central Luzon (14.5%) made up almost half of the total number of OFWs. On the other hand, Caraga and MIMAROPA reported the smallest share of OFWs at 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

One out of five (21.8%) OFWs worked in Saudi Arabia. About one in 10 worked in United Arab Emirates. Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore were also popular destinations of OFWs. OFWs who worked in Europe comprised 9.5 percent while those who worked in North and South America accounted for 9.2 percent.

The total remittances sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2006 was estimated at 102.0 billion pesos, an increase of 16.8 billion pesos from the estimate of 85.1 billion pesos in 2005. Included in the total remittances are cash sent (74.4%), cash brought home (21.0%) and remittances in kind (4.6%). Of the total cash remittance sent during the period April to September 2006, 79.3 percent were sent through banks, 13.2 percent were sent through door-to-door and the rest (7.5%) were sent through the agency/local office, friends/co-workers and other means. OFWs working in Asia, comprising 78.3 percent of all OFWs, sent the biggest cash remittance of 52.5 billion pesos. Among occupation groups, OFWs working as laborers or unskilled workers posted the highest cash remittance of 16.0 billion pesos.

                                                  CARMELITA N. ERICTA



The data presented in this press release were taken from the 2006 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). The SOF aims to derive national estimates on the number of Overseas Filipinos Workers, their socio-economic characteristics and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families.

The OFWs covered in this report were those working abroad during the period April 1, 2006 to September 30, 2006. The workers who were at home on vacation from their jobs abroad who left earlier than April 1 of the reference year were also included in this report as long as they worked during the specified reference period.

OFWs include overseas contract workers (OCWs) who were presently and temporarily out of the country during the reference period to fulfill an overseas contract for a specific length of time or who were presently at home on vacation during the reference period but still had an existing contract to work abroad and other Filipino workers abroad with valid working visa or work permits. Those who had no working visa or work permits (tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of non-immigrant visas) but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.

The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in the results may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs.

Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design has been adopted. Using this new master sample design, the number of samples increased from 41,000 to around 51,000 sample households. The SOF, being a rider of the LFS, has also adopted the new master sample design starting October 2003. Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2006 SOF with other SOF results prior to the implementation of the new MS design.

Starting with the SOF 2006 round, the population projections estimated based on the 2000 Census of Population (CPH) was adopted to generate data presented in this report. Likewise, the data from the SOF 2005 were also generated using the population projection of the 2000 CPH for comparability with the 2006 results. This is in compliance with NSCB Resolution No. 1 series of 2005 entitled "Adoption of the Methodology Used in Generating the 2000 Census of Population and Housing-Based National Population Projections".


Source:  Income and Employment Statistics Division
                Household Statistics Department
                National Statistics Office
                Manila, Philippines