One Out of Five Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs ) is in Saudi Arabia (Results from the 2005 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)

20 September 2006

The number of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who worked abroad during the period April to September 2005 was estimated at 1.33 million.

The 2005 estimate of OFWs is 12.5 percent more than the 1.18 million OFWs estimated for the period April to September 2004. The overseas contract workers (OCWs) or those with existing work-contract comprised 91.6 percent of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2005. Their number went up to about 1.22 million or by 10.7 percent over the estimate for the same months in 2004 (1.10 million).

Out of the 1.33 million OFWs, 76.6 percent or an estimate of 1.02 million worked in Asia. OFWs who worked in Europe comprised 9.7 percent while those who worked in North and South America, 9.3 percent. Saudi Arabia absorbed the biggest number of OFWs, both males and females, estimated at 282 thousand or 21.2 percent of all OFWs. This was followed by Japan with 113 thousand (8.5%); Hongkong with 107 thousand (8.0%) and United Arab Emirates with 104 thousands (7.8%).

Almost half of the total OFWs came from the National Capital Region (18.4%), CALABARZON (17.1%) and Central Luzon (12.8%). Meanwhile, MIMAROPA reported the smallest number of OFWs (1.4%). There was an increase in the number of OFWs from all regions except from Region V (Bicol).

Among the 1.33 million OFWs, 50.3 percent or about 667 thousand were males while 49.7 percent or about 660 thousand were females. Female OFWs were generally younger compared to male OFWs. About two in every 10 (23.5%) OFWs in April to September 2005 belonged to the age group 25 to 29 years while 11.5 percent were in the younger age group 15 to 24 years. OFWs belonging to the older age group 45 years and over accounted for 17.0 percent of the total OFWs.

One in every three (33.1%) OFWs in April to September 2005 was a laborer or an unskilled worker. Those who worked as trade workers or trade-related workers comprised 14.5 percent of the total number of OFWs. Likewise, those who worked as plant or machine operators or assemblers accounted for 14.5 percent.

The total remittances of OFWs were estimated at 85.4 billion pesos during the period April to September 2005, an increase of 6.1 billion pesos compared to the 2004 estimate of 79.3 billion. These remittances included cash sent (70.3%), cash brought home (25.1%) and remittances in kind (4.6%). Of the total cash remittances sent during the period April to September 2005, 75.8 percent were remitted through banks, 19.1 percent were sent through door-to-door delivery while the remaining 5.1 percent were remitted through their agency or local office, friends/co-workers and other means. The largest cash remittance was sent by OFWs working in Asia, estimated at 39.9 billion pesos. Because of their big number, the laborers and unskilled workers sent the largest aggregate amount of 12.2 million pesos, or 20.4 percent of total OFW remittance.

                                                     CARMELITA N. ERICTA



The data presented in this press release were taken from the 2005 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, 2005 to September 30, 2005. 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 generation of the labor force and employment statistics has adopted the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design. 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 2005 SOF with other SOF results prior to the implementation of the new MS design.


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



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