Is it choice or necessity?
Are overseas Filipino workers (OFW) going abroad because of choice or necessity?
“Definitely going abroad always comes with a choice,” said Dr. Clement Camposano, a senior instructor and migration anthropologist from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).
He sees it as an “economic decision.” Like businessmen, OFWs invest heavily to leave the country in the hope of furthering their goals. OFWs put up money for placement and other processing fees.
There are many reasons why Filipinos wish to work overseas. One is the wage differential between local and foreign paychecks. Nurses, engineers and teachers, among other professionals are paid poorly here. It’s not surprising they prefer to work overseas even as clerks or domestics because in most instances, they will earn more.
Another reason behind the OFW phenomenon is the “friends-and-relatives effect.” Many Filipinos are encouraged to go abroad by friends or relatives who are already employed abroad. he said.
Labor shortages in some countries have opened new opportunities for Filipinos, predominantly composed of young people.
Camposano believes that if local wages eventually become comparable to those in other countries, there may be fewer OFWs. But this will not end the OFW phenomenon. We are in an age when countries are very connected to each other. Filipinos are also adventurous and want to travel. However, overseas work is not always fruitful. It is sometimes very risky.
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