With the current state of the national economy and the booming rate of unemployment (and even underemployment) in our country, Philippines, considering to venture one's luck outside the country is but a natural thing for some members of the Filipino workforce. However, as a country known for many factors such as close family ties and patriotism, it becomes hard for others to decide whether or not they should really work abroad.
Some Filipinos find it difficult to decide: Should they really go abroad and claim the title of being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), or not? In this article, we will look through the pros and cons of working abroad in a bird's eye view. What are the PROS?
The main reason why most Filipinos work abroad is because they aim to grasp a financially-secure future for their families. Based from statistics, about 4,500 Filipinos leave the country each day, resulting to a 10-11% of the total Philippine population, as stated by the data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Truth to be told, a year's worth of pay can be earned only in a few months in other countries. Some families find themselves having no choice but to send a member out of the country to alleviate them to a higher financial status, so as to respond to their needs.
Possibilities of Petition
Some overseas companies offer exceptional benefits that can be passed on to immediate families, including health benefits, sponsorships, house allowances, and transportation or travel fees. With these, an OFW can actually file for a petition for overseas residency—meaning, they can leave their motherland and become a resident of the flourishing country where the OFW is working.
One of the biggest chances for Filipinos if they work abroad is to learn the culture of the country where they are working, allowing them to discover new places that can give them new experiences. This is not only about being able to roam around: having experienced such things can actually give them a better grasp of the global perspective in different aspects, whether it be in education, health, or economics, depending on what the OFWs would perceive.
What are the CONS?
The “I Miss You” Syndrome
The 'I Miss You' syndrome, or what we usually know as homesickness, is the first thing that most OFWs have to combat upon arriving to their place of service. Homesickness is not to be belittled, as it can induce a lot of stress that can easily result to depression. And being depressed in a place where you barely know anyone is not a good thing. Sometimes, even before their departure, Filipinos already feel the overwhelming feeling of homesickness while trying to remember memories that they are going to leave, specifically the people or objects they have a very strong attachment to. At the same time, those who are left in the motherland can also feel loneliness. What's hard about this is if the departing member is a parent, and if his or her children are very young. The trust formation of children starts at an early age, and the presence of a parent is very much vital. It's a good thing, though, that with the current technology, there can be an easy access to constant communication (Facebook, Messenger, or Skype). However, nothing beats to have a personal touch with those you love; it is, of course, more preferred than to talk in front of a rectangular screen.
Uncertainty of Work
Let's face it—working abroad is not a permanent employment for any OFWs, particularly those who have not acquired their personal residencies. For the past few years, global recession has affected a lot of OFWs, resulting to the termination of a lot of our Kababayans. With this uncertainty, OFWs are placed under a lot of pressure, especially those who work for large families. It would be all the more worse if the salary given, even after the termination, is less than what was agreed upon the contract. Sad but true, some employers do not abide by the terms of agreement.
This is another sad truth that OFWs must face when working abroad. Since Philippines is widely known as a third-world country, a lot of people treat OFWs as nothing but mere workforce. Like what was mentioned above, some do not follow the contract, resulting to lower salary rate for the same work done by other employees of different nationalities. Sometimes, benefits are reduced (some even crossed out) while they load more deductions and sanctions. That said, Filipinos should be really aware on their work, and must be always equipped with keen and sound minds.
Surely, these pros and cons are not the only ones out there when a Filipino decides to work overseas, but they open them to the ominous things that they will surely experience abroad. This should also serve as a reminder, though, that being an OFW is not the absolute way on how one can be pulled out of financial crisis. After all, in every venture that one should undergo, some sacrifices are really necessary in order to attain the success in life.