How does global migration affect the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers? (OFW).
Humanity has always been on the move. Throughout history, people migrating to search for a new opportunity as well as to escape conflict and poverty. Movements of people are happening
around the world. Typically, immigrants are already in their age of venturing for better prospects
and willing to find better jobs in the global market. The Philippines has embedded migration in
history long before, in every aspect of the society, and has deeply led to a major issue in the
country. The effects of migration can be easily identified and why people would opt to go
abroad for a better career.
In my friend’s case Janine, went abroad at the age of 23 after she finishes her degree,
knowing that life in Quezon Province is not easy there are no permanent jobs on our island, we
may see some job hiring but it is limited to professionals only. Most of the breadwinner are
farmers and fishers, a family can provide their needs for everyday food by picking vegetables
from the backyard’s garden then a family will be able to survive from hunger. The main reason
Janine for migrating is to provide her family a better life especially her parents that were not
able to experience a better life before, due to lack of education but still, her parents are very
hardworking to provide their children a good education through farming. Since she finishes her
college degree, she decided to go abroad to help her parents to support her two siblings so they
can graduate also, she did because she notices that her parents are getting old.
Working abroad is a huge decision, she had to think multiple times if she really needs
to do it but in the end, she did, and having a big adjustment to be on another side of the world is life
changing. It has a big impact on her life, a positive and a negative result. Economically, she was
able to earn and save money even she is supporting her two siblings their expenses in school and
at the same time, she remits the money for her parents for their allowances and the renovation of
their home in a province that has been destroying due to three consecutive typhoons. She was able to
buy something that she really needs because she earned enough. Although she advises her
family to be wise in using the money since earning money was not easy and it is very important
that you have savings in case of emergency, that was very important because we all know that
we cannot anticipate what should be the next problem of the world would be after this pandemic
we should be ready in terms of savings.
In a psychological aspect of her life, I can feel that she is now a brave woman, she is strong
enough to face the obstacles in her life in another country in terms of socializing with her new
friends, co-workers, and peers, she was able to express her feeling and opinion if she knows that
she is in the right position to do it. But I clearly noticed that she was experiencing a hard time
when it comes to emotional handling, due to homesick results of having a long-distance
relationship with her family and friends. Homesickness leaves her feeling depressed anxious and
withdrawn. She mentioned that sometimes she experienced headaches and it was clear that it was
the result of distress caused by being away from home. I heard that most OFW’s are
having difficulty when it comes to how they can reduce the loneliness and sadness they felt to
be able to move forward for the next day being on the other side of the world. Thank you for the
technology and we were able to keep in touch with our loved ones using mobile apps like
Facebook and Messenger.
If she is having a hard time due to homesickness, in cultural aspects, she is well-behaved when it
comes to the laws and regulations they had in the Middle East. She is very careful to follow the rules
to avoid conflict. She learned about the ways the people in Qatar are dressing, the way they
speak, and the way they worship. It is very important to dress modestly in a Muslim country,
women’s clothes should cover the shoulders, knees, and upper arm when in public, compared
here in the Philippines, since we are in a tropical country, we can wear revealing clothes. She
gets culture-shocked when she arrived in Qatar because of the differences. However, she learned
to adapt to the culture in the Middle East, and it helps to immerse in her workplace and community.
This country is very strict in implementing its rules and if you did something against their
policies the police will pick you up and take you to jail.
Why do people migrate? From the interview with Janine, it is focused on economic migration,
she moved to the Middle East to find a better job opportunity, and she can see that migration is the
only solution to cope with social problems like unemployment, poverty, and discrimination in
our country, the Philippines. The unemployment rates have increased amid the coronavirus disease,
but even before unemployment is a big problem for most Filipino people. One of the
reasons for the unemployment here in the Philippines is structural unemployment, most firms are looking for a graduate candidate, taking up college courses that are popular but
were previously high in demand. During the employment process, there were so many requirements and you must spend money for those requirements it was like you need to have
enough funds when it comes to finding a job. In a reality, some firms look first
at a physical appearance or in a pleasant and good-looking personality aside from the skills and
abilities that the candidate possesses before they accept the applicant. It is very hard also to have
a promotion here in the Philippines. The current situation in the Philippines is very hard for the
Filipino people due to inflation, the minimum wage earner employee is thinking to work
abroad to have a better income because the earnings here in the Philippines is not enough to
provide the family’s needs for everyday expenses and the scariest part is when the breadwinner
of the family got sick the family will suffer knowing that the medical cost is very expensive.
There are so many aspects affected to change the flow of our lives. We really must think of
something to lift our life from poverty. We need to sacrifice not for ourselves but the
better future of our family. We must act accordingly wherever we are standing right now to
survive and get along with the changes in our world. While the transformation is proceeding
differently in developing parts of the world, we must remain productive whether you are
an immigrant or not.
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