Philippines: A History of Migration
2010-2011 Migration as Choice The Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 drops the deployment target. The Aquino Administration commits to creating more local jobs to curb forced migration, saying that migration should be a choice, rather than a necessity.
June 2011 Day of Filipino Seafarer Declared Presidential Proclamation 183 is signed declaring June 25 as the Day of the Filipino Seafarer. The Philippines is known as the “The World’s Ship Manning Capital”. According to DOLE, Filipinos comprise 30% of international seafaring crews around the world.
2010 RA 8042 is amended again to strengthen worker protection through the certification of countries where OFWs can be deployed and strengthening repatriation assistance.
2009 Mostly Women Leaving According to UN Women, between 1979 and 2009, more than 30 million Filipinos left the Philippines as labor migrants, most of whom were women working as migrant domestic worker (MDWs).
2007 RA 8042 or The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act is amended to repeal the provision on deregulation of recruitment activities.
2007-2008 Decline in Deployment of HHSW There is a temporary decline in deployment of HHSW attributed to the set minimum salary for household service workers. Host countries look to other countries to fill domestic worker vacancies.
2006 Passage of Household Service Workers (HHSW) Reform Package The law sets the minimum salary of Filipino overseas household service workers at US400 and sets minimum age of employment to 23 years old.
2004 Target to Deploy One Million Workers Annually Under the Arroyo Administration, working abroad is a legitimate option and the target of deploying one million migrant workers every year is included in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan 2004 – 2010. This is the first and only time the government mentioned a deployment target.
2000 Domestic Helpers Grow by the Numbers Household Service Workers (HHSW) consistently ranked first among newly – hired land based workers. HHSW remains the number one occupation for women.
1992 Female migration climbs Data on gender composition of migrants becomes available in 1992. Female migration climbs driven by the demand for teachers, nurses, domestic workers and entertainers. From the 1980s to 2004, Japan recruited a number of entertainers, referred to as “overseas performing artists” and are classified as professional.
2000 Domestic Helpers Grow by the Numbers Household Service Workers (HHSW) consistently ranked first among newly – hired land based workers. HHSW remains the number one occupation for women.
1990s Demand for skilled workers Nurses, health care and IT workers come into great demand and the migration of skilled and highly skilled workers increases.
1980s From the Gulf to Asia: The Decline of Construction and the Rise of the Asian Tiger Economies Construction projects in the Middle East are completed and hiring of construction–related workers begins to decline. New openings in other sectors, namely domestic work, open up. Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore experience a labor shortage. More women begin to work outside the home, sparking a demand for foreign domestic workers. The health, sales and service sectors continue to employ mostly female labor migrants. ,
Invisible Migrants Alongside the state-facilitated labor migration to the Middle East, an invisible migration is taking place. Women leave as tourists for Italy, Spain and Greece and stay on to work as household service workers.
1970s The Oil Price Hike and the Rise of the The Gulf as a Top Destination Country for Migrant Workers Increase in crude oil prices by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) result in an economic downturn. Job loss and unemployment are high in many countries, including the Philippines. Oil-rich countries in the Gulf funnel their petro-dollars into infrastructure projects. Short of labor, the Gulf countries look to neighboring Arab countries and Asia, including the Philippines to recruit guest workers. The Marcos government launches an overseas employment program to utilize the country’s surplus labor. The policy called “Development Diplomacy” is exclusively directed to labor exportation in the Middle East. Filipino men begin working in construction and as labor sub-contractors. The Gulf countries still account for 67% of the outflow of OFWs.
1968 US Navy Recruits Filipino Men to “See the World” Filipino are employed in US military bases in Southeast Asia and parts of the Pacific and are offered the choice to live in the United States after their tour of duty.
1962 The Philippines Enters into a Bilateral Agreement with Nigeria Filipino engineers and doctors are recruited to work in Nigeria. Later on, teachers were also hired. From 1975 to 1982, an annual estimate of 7,000 teachers left to work in Nigeria.
1930s The Great Depression and World War II A post-war economic boom slows down migration from Europe. Immigration from other countries begin to increase signaling the start of new immigration patterns.
Early 1900s Under US Rule With the Philippines a US Colony, sakadas or farmworkers leave the country to work in Hawaii’s sugar plantations. The typical labor migrant is an unmarried male working in the agricultural sector. Pensionados or scholars are to study under the auspices of the US government.
16th Century The Galleon Trade The City of Manila opens its doors to world trade in 1790. Filipino men are recruited to work on the galleon ships that travel from Manila to Acapulco as deckhands, cooks and cabin boys. Sea-based workers become our first Filipino migrants. Some literally jumped ship and stayed in areas of Mexico that were under US jurisdiction.
publications.iom.int Produced within the framework of the Migration Profile Development Project for the Philippines, the Country Migration Report: The Philippines (CMR) provides a comprehensive evidence-based account of the country’s migration experience in a single, concise document to serve as a tool for policy-making.

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