Labor Migration Within Asia
Why do people go abroad? First, millions of people including Filipinos go abroad yearly to seek pleasure, to adventure. Actually, millions of Filipinos travel abroad for a vacation, for pleasure, and to visit relatives. Foreigners also visit the Philippines for pleasure and business.
In a book, English and American Writers, a story is printed entitled “My Holy Grail”. It is a story of a man who went around the world in search for happiness. After more than 20 years travelling abroad looking for happiness, he never find and taste happiness. Hence, he just decided to pack up and went home.
Upon arriving home, his relatives and friends met and welcomed him in the airport. When he reached home, people in the community welcomed him. There was a big banquet. In that moment, he found his “Holy Grail”, the genuine happiness. “There is no place like home” really.
Second, people migrate abroad to search for money, for better opportunity. Those who go outside of their respective country thought in foreign land, gold is easily acquired. Filipinos go abroad with the hope to get employed and be paid higher.
Foreign nationals go abroad to do business and earn profits. Foreigners earn huge profits from their businesses. They do not seek employment to be paid monthly but establish business and earn profits. They don’t seek employment and be ordered to do something.
In the Philippines, business is dominated by foreigners, be it in banking, trading and import / import. In Aklan, businesses are owned and operated by foreigners.
Why do Filipinos migrate abroad to seek employment inspite of the reach natural resources? We have huge area of water with plenty of fishes. We have favorable climate for the planting of various crops including livestock. Our soil is fertile where plants can grow if given the correct scientific care.
It is not correct to say that jobs are limited with low pay. There are more opportunities for a willing hand, diligent and honest persons.
But more Filipinos chose to go out of the Philippines and be migrant workers. A total 10, 456,788 Filipinos were working overseas as of 2011 according to 2011 Philippines Red Cross Statistics on Labour Migration within the Asia-Pacific Region.
Country Profiles of Labour Migration
1. LEBANON: As of 2013, there were over 250,000 women migrant workers in Lebanon (ILO). The majority of the migrant workers there from: Ethiopia, Philippines and Sri Lanka (UN Women).
2. EGYPT: Migrating population from Egypt in 2013 reached 3,4 million, whereby more than half (2,9 million) migrated to MENA countries, with the top 3 destinations being Saudi Arabia (1, 298, 388), UAE (711,894) and Jordan (276,950) (UNDESA).
3. JORDAN: There are 1.5 million migrant workers currently in Jordan (ILO). The majority of them in Jordan originate from Egypt and countries in South-East Asia, such as: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia. The most common employment sectors for migrant workers are: agriculture, construction, garment, tourism and hospitality and domestic work (ILO).
4. SAUDI ARABIA: There are over 9 million migrant workers currently in Saudi Arabia (HRW). A breakdown of the origin of these migrant workers is as follows: India: 1, 452,927, Egypt: 1,005, 873; 447,055; Ethiopia: 28, 618. Foreign labour comprises 89% of the private sector labour force in Saudi Arabia (ILO).
5. KUWAIT: There are approximately 1.5 million migrant workers currently in Qatar (IOM). A breakdown of the origin of these migrant workers is as follows: Bangladesh: 210,000; Egypt: 320,000; India: 390,000; Indonesia: 11,000; Iran: 98,000; Pakistan: 123,000; Philippines: 86,000; Sri Lanka: 210,000; Syria: 123,000 (IOM). Foreign labour in Kuwait comprises 93% of the private sector labour force (ILO). The majority of Kuwaiti households (90%) employ a foreign domestic worker, employing over 620,000 migrant domestic workers, accounting for over 21.9% of the country’s total work force (Migrant Rights).
6. QATAR: There are approximately 1.15 million migrant workers currently in Qatar (IOM), comprising roughly 94% of the overall population (ILO).A breakdown of the origin of these migrant workers is as follows: Egypt: 88,000; India: 250,000; Iran: 150,000; Nepal: 175,454; Pakistan: 250,000; Philippines: 125,000; Saudi Arabia: 20,000; Sri Lanka: 83,000.
7. BAHRAIN: More than 458,000 migrant workers work in Bahrain who are from South Asia, forming around 77% of the country’s work force working in unskilled or low-skilled jobs, in industries, in construction, retail, wholesale and domestic work in 2012. (Human Rights Watch).
8. UAE: In 2013, the UAE had the fifth-largest international migrant population in the world with 7.8 million (out of a total population of 9.2 million), coming from India (2, 852, 207), Bangladesh (1,089,917), Pakistan (953,708), Egypt (711,894) and Philippines (477, 139) comprising over 90 percent of the country’s private work force. (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division).
9. PAKISTAN: More than 7 million Pakistanis have worked abroad since 1971 to 2013. Out of these, 94% have sought employment in the GCC countries, with 80% concentrating in Saudi Arabia and UAE, Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances, reaching US$ 15 billion(ILO).
10. SRI LANKA: Over 1.5 million Sri Lanka nationals are working abroad. Major destination for Sri Lanka labour migrants are: Bahrain, Jordan, S. Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE (ILO). Women comprise 50% of the total migrant labours (ILO), with 42 % women domestic workers of the migration flows in 2010 (Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment). As of 2013, the remittances from overseas Sri Lankan workers has totalled over 6.7 million USD (IOM).
11. INDIA: Of all the 14 million Indian migrant workers currently working abroad, nearly half take jobs in a MENA country in 2013, predominantly in UAE (2, 852, 207) Saudi Arabia (1,761, 857) and Kuwait (730, 558) (UN DESA).They remitted approximately US$ 70 billion in 2012.
12. BANGLADESH: More than 7 million nationals currently work abroad as labour migrants. Major destination countries are: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Bangladesh receives each year from its migrant workers approximately US$ 24 billion in 2012 alone, representing 12% of the GDP of the year. About 67% of all Bangladeshi migrant labour work in one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or UAE (ILO).
13. NEPAL: Over 2 million Nepalese are working abroad 15% of whom are women. The major destinations of 62% of the migrating labour are states in the MENA zone. They contributed 22.4 per cent of GDP in 2012 (ILO).
14. INDONESIA: Approximately 6 million workers are presently working overseas, who sent around US$ 7.35 billion to the national economy in 2013. There major destinations are: Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. Approximately 75% of Indonesian migrant workers are women, with the vast majority working as domestic workers (ILO)./MP