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Filipinos seeking jobs abroad face financial hurdles—study

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Filipinos looking for work abroad face financial hurdles, according to a new study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

This is the first-ever data collection on the recruitment costs paid by Filipino migrant workers to secure jobs overseas.

The study, based on data gathered in 2019, reveals that a significant number of Filipino migrant workers, or over 62 percent, are employed in Middle Eastern countries, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

These workers are primarily concentrated in low- to medium-skilled jobs, with domestic work being the most common occupation at 37 percent.

The study found that Filipino workers typically recoup their recruitment costs within a relatively short period despite the financial burden of securing employment abroad. It takes only 1.2 months of their salary to cover the fees they paid.

The study, however, highlights the need for policy changes to better support Filipino migrant workers. Data suggest that job opportunities available to Filipino workers abroad may not be equally distributed between men and women.

Policymakers should focus on ensuring a wider range of job options for both genders, it says.

The study also reveals a mismatch between the skills of Filipino workers and the jobs they are often placed in, which could lead to underemployment and a waste of valuable skills.

Meanwhile, the study suggests revising policies that encourage employers to seek out qualified Filipino workers for higher-skilled positions that better match their educational attainment.

While the average payback period is manageable, the upfront cost of securing a job abroad can still be a burden, especially for vulnerable workers.

Policies aimed at regulating recruitment fees and exploring alternative recruitment methods could help ease this financial strain.

The ILO and PSA recommend that the Philippines continue monitoring recruitment costs and the overall situation of Filipino migrant workers.

By collecting more data and analyzing trends, they aim to inform policies that improve the lives and working conditions of Filipinos seeking employment abroad.


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