Is it really poverty that drives Filipinos overseas?

Is it really poverty that drives Filipinos overseas?

by UA&P News Desk on June 9, 2011 - 10:44 am

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, by Susan K

Are overseas Filipino workers (OFW) being driven out of the country by poverty? Or is it just the latest opportunity and trend?

Over the years, poverty has been the common reason cited for the exodus of Filipinos out of the country: to “find work and sustain their needs as well as that of their families.”

Is this true? In recent years quite a number of studies have thrown more light on the matter.

Dr. Clement Camposano, a senior instructor and migration anthropologist from the University of Asia and the Pacific, said studies have shown that “although many countries are experiencing destitution, poverty is merely one of the factors and not the root cause of Filipino migration.”

He said that based on studies, those who work abroad are not all poor, or at least not the poorest of the poor. It takes a lot of money to prepare for overseas work.

Many OFWs are duped into forking over huge sums of money by recruiters. Many reach foreign lands heavily in debt.

In a way, OFWs are gamblers and risk-takers. They are drawn by the huge wage differential between local and foreign paychecks. They invest heavily to leave the country. They secure monies for placement and other processing fees to realize their dreams. They don’t give up easily, even though, at times, they fall prey to some illegal recruiters.

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