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Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said that there are now about 8.

million Filipinos living or working in 194 countries and territories all over the world.
The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and migrants, she said, now make up almost 10
percent of the total Philippine population.
Of the total, 3.2 million are permanently living abroad while 3.6 million are temporarily
working overseas. Irregular Filipino workers overseas, on the other hand, are estimated to
constitute some 1.3 million.
She said the overseas Filipinos, including migrants remitting dollars to their kin in the
Philippines infused into the economy in 2004 a total of 8.5 billion US dollars, which is
roughly 9.2 percent of the GNP during that year.


In 1992, this category of workers accounted for about 60% of all newly hired OFWs; by
2005 that percentage had shot up to 70%.
The second statistical trend is the so-called "feminization" of new OFWs, rising from
50% to 70% over the same 13-year period.

OFW dollar remittances have recently averaged about US$7 billion per year, and peaked
at more than $10.7 billion in 2005.

While growing remittances help to spark local consumption, government policymakers

are starting to ask hard questions about the long-term economic impact of its current
success as a labor exporter.
The specter of a growing "brain drain" is stoking new fears that the Philippines might be
losing more skilled workers than it can afford in critical sectors of the economy, including
health, aviation, mining, shipping, and port operations.