Top 10 Best Countries for Overseas Filipino Workers 2023: Destinations, salaries, living conditions
The decision to become an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) varies for every individual, yet a common thread of aspiration for financial stability and freedom from debt before starting a family remains prevalent. With over 2,5 million Filipinos choosing to work abroad, the quest for better opportunities beyond their homeland is undeniable.
As Filipinos are known for their hard-working, diligent, and joyful spirit, many countries provide excellent employment prospects for these skilled workers, including benefits for permanent residency.
Our article, drawing from reports by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and Expat Explorer HSBC, seeks to highlight the ten best countries to work abroad for Filipinos, offering a unique blend of lucrative work opportunities, safety, and an enjoyable lifestyle.
What is the Best Country to Work for Filipino?
Determining the “best” country for OFW largely depends on the individual’s skills, preferences, and personal circumstances. Each country has its own set of advantages, but also its own challenges, such as language barriers, cost of living, cultural differences, and visa restrictions.
- If an individual is a healthcare worker, then countries like the UK, Canada, or even Germany may be best due to their high demand for these professionals
- If one is looking for a community of fellow OFWs where they can feel at home, countries with large Filipino communities such as the UAE and the USA might be appealing
- If proximity to the Philippines and cultural similarities are important, Singapore could be the best choice
- For someone interested in immigration and obtaining permanent residency, countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have clear pathways for this.
|1. United Arab Emirates (UAE)||The UAE, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, offer many job opportunities in various sectors like construction, hospitality, healthcare, etc. The country has a good standard of living and a significant Filipino community.|
|2. Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia traditionally has been a popular destination for Filipino OFWs due to job opportunities primarily in the construction and healthcare sector. It also offers tax-free income.|
|3. Canada||Canada is known for its immigrant-friendly policies and a high standard of living. Jobs are available in various sectors like healthcare, IT, construction, and others. Canada also offers pathways to permanent residency.|
|4. Singapore||Singapore offers many opportunities in sectors like service, manufacturing, construction, etc. It also provides good wages, high living standards, and is relatively close to the Philippines geographically.|
|5. Japan||Japan has a constant demand for skilled and semi-skilled labor. Filipinos often work in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. The country offers good wages and an opportunity to learn about a rich, distinct culture.|
|6. United Kingdom (UK)||The UK has a high demand for healthcare professionals, particularly nurses. It offers a high standard of living and good wages. The cultural and language barrier is also relatively lower.|
|7. Australia||Australia is well-known for its high wage levels and strong demand in sectors such as healthcare, construction, and IT. They also have programs that could potentially lead to permanent residency.|
|8. United States of America (USA)||The USA has a diverse job market and a high standard of living. There are also strong Filipino communities across the country, providing a good support network.|
|9. New Zealand||New Zealand offers job opportunities in industries like healthcare, construction, and hospitality. The country is known for its friendly locals, beautiful environment, and work-life balance.|
|10. Germany||Germany is in demand for healthcare professionals and IT experts. The country has a high standard of living, strong employee protection laws, and provides opportunities to learn a new language.|
Top 10 Best Country to work Abroad for OFWs
1. The United States of America
The United States has long been a favored destination for OFWs due to its diverse and growing economy, high salary rates, and a large established Filipino community. In 2022, there were hundreds of thousands of OFWs residing in the U.S., and it was among the top destinations for these workers.
The presence of a large and welcoming Filipino community in many parts of the U.S. can help new arrivals feel more at home. These communities offer a strong support system and an opportunity to connect with shared culture and tradition
Moreover, the U.S. has established pathways for immigration, and many OFWs see work in the U.S. as a potential stepping stone towards securing permanent residency or citizenship.
Job Opportunities for Filipino workers
A substantial portion of Filipino workers in the U.S. are employed in the healthcare sector, particularly as nurses and caregivers. This can be attributed to the high demand for these roles in the country and the strong English language skills of Filipino workers. The Philippines’ nursing education system is also recognized for producing highly skilled professionals.
Apart from healthcare, many Filipinos in the U.S. work in the hospitality industry, in roles ranging from hotel staff to restaurant workers. There are also significant numbers of Filipino professionals working in the tech industry and other professional sectors, as well as domestic helpers and au pairs.
While the U.S. offers many advantages, it also poses certain challenges for OFWs.
The cost of living can be high, especially in major cities. Furthermore, obtaining a work visa for the U.S. can be a complex and lengthy process. For Filipinos seeking employment in the U.S., there are several types of work visas and permits they may apply for. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- H-1B Visa: This is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise. Many IT and healthcare professionals from the Philippines enter the U.S. under this visa category.
- H-2B Visa: This visa is for temporary non-agricultural workers. It allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs, such as in hospitality or seasonal industries.
- J-1 Visa: This is an exchange visitor visa for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. It is often used by au pairs, interns, and trainees in various fields.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand is a prime destination for foreign workers due to nature, exceptional lifestyle, and advanced infrastructure. Natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle enable quicker adaptation for Filipinos due to the similar environment to the Philippines. The outdoor lifestyle and sporting culture can significantly enhance quality of life and encourage physical activity.
Here are the key points based on the provided text:
- Breathtaking Environment: New Zealand boasts an array of high mountain peaks, stunning blue lakes, and unique flora and fauna, promoting a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance.
- Highly Developed Nation: Especially noted for its healthcare, education, and economic freedom, New Zealand offers a serene work environment. Key attractions such as Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Mount Cook, and Tongariro National Park enhance the experience of residing in this country.
- Improved Quality of Life: The majority (9 out of 10) of foreign workers who migrated to New Zealand in 2022 reported an improvement in their quality of life after moving. Career opportunities here are predominantly in the service sector, including nursing and caregiving jobs, as well as the IT sector.
- Slow-Paced Life: Known for its slow pace and high quality of life, New Zealand is considered one of the most liveable countries globally. Kiwis, or New Zealanders, are renowned for their friendliness and hard work, adding to the country’s appeal.
- Salary and Job Opportunities: With a 12–23 month work visa or a working holiday visa, you can earn an average salary of NZD 5,603, approximately 200,000 pesos per month. Construction and engineering professions are particularly in demand. Skilled workers in short supply may have the chance to apply for residency.
- Filipino Community: 0ver 80,000 individuals were identified as Filipino workers and immigrants, indicating a significant Filipino presence.
Ranked as the third safest city globally, Singapore is a prime destination for foreign workers, including a substantial number of Filipinos due to its proximity.
Singapore is an exciting place to live, boasting world-class attractions like Universal Studios, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, and Gardens by the Bay. Also, it’s an English-speaking nation with an efficient public transport system and a variety of cuisine options, making it a welcoming place.
In 2023, the country offers some jobs for Filipinos such as chefs, customer service representatives, nurses, programmers, waiters, graphic designers, and many more. Here are a few key professions that Singapore offers:
- IT and Software Engineers: Singapore’s tech industry is booming, offering plentiful opportunities for IT professionals, including software engineers, programmers, and developers.
- Healthcare: There’s a high demand for nurses, caregivers, and other medical practitioners in Singapore. As the country continues to upgrade its healthcare system and services, OFWs with skills in the healthcare sector can find excellent opportunities.
- Finance Professionals: As a global financial center, Singapore is home to numerous multinational banks and financial institutions. This creates promising roles for accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and other finance professionals.
- Office Workers: There are plentiful roles in administration and office support in a variety of sectors in Singapore. These roles include administrative assistants, customer service representatives, human resources personnel, and more.
- Construction Workers: Singapore’s continual infrastructure development projects require skilled construction workers, making it a viable option for OFWs in this field.
4. Hong Kong
The service sector dominates Hong Kong’s economy, which is why many Filipinos work there as domestic helpers. Beyond that, there’s also a high demand for service-oriented professions, including engineers, chefs, drivers, draftsmen, drivers, plant mechanics, welders, and more, making the city an ideal place for Filipinos seeking international employment.
Hong Kong stands as a highly accessible destination for Filipinos, offering commendable wages for overseas workers. This might explain why it houses the largest population of Filipino workers in Adding to its allure is the city’s bustling urban jungle, boasting the world’s largest number of skyscrapers.
5. The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom offers several advantages and opportunities for Filipino Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Here are some reasons why the UK can be beneficial for Filipino OFWs:
Strong Economy. Сan offer Filipino OFWs the chance to secure higher-paying jobs and improve their standard of living.
Language Advantage. English is the primary language spoken in the UK, and Filipinos, being proficient English speakers, find it easier to communicate and integrate into the society. This language advantage can enhance employability and social interactions.
Legal Protections. The UK has robust labor laws that protect the rights of employees, including OFWs. These laws ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and protection from exploitation, providing a more secure and stable work environment.
Education. The UK is home to renowned educational institutions, offering opportunities for OFWs and their families to access quality education and skill development programs.
Healthcare Benefits. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) provides comprehensive healthcare coverage for residents, including legal OFWs.
Remittances and Exchange Rates. The UK’s stable economy and currency can offer favorable exchange rates for remittances sent back to the Philippines. This can support families back home and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Travel Opportunities. The UK’s strategic location in Europe offers Filipino OFWs the chance to explore other European countries easily.
Some of the best jobs for Filipinos in the UK:
- Nurses and Caregivers: Filipino nurses and caregivers often have good chances of finding work in this field.
- Agricultural Workers: Rural areas in the UK consistently require agricultural workers for farm and horticulture work.
- Construction Managers: Filipinos with experience in construction and project management can find promising job opportunities.
- Engineers: Filipinos with an engineering background and experience can find work in various industries, including construction, energy, information technology, and more.
- Doctors: Similar to nurses, the UK’s healthcare sector provides excellent opportunities for Filipino doctors seeking to work abroad.
Note that working in the UK often involves specific qualification requirements, language skills, and work permits.
Canada was voted as the top choice for foreign workers. Its multicultural society warmly welcomes people of all nationalities. Indeed, Canada has laws against discrimination, ensuring Filipinos can interact smoothly with their employers.
Employment opportunities abound for Filipinos with skills in:
- caregiving, labor
- hotel management
- food service
- and administrative work
Recent statistics from 2022 show that almost a million Filipinos live and work in Canada, demonstrating the excellent job opportunities and residency benefits the country offers.
High demand professions are predominantly in the healthcare sector. The average income stands around 3,757 Canadian dollars or more than 150,000 pesos per month. Employees can also enjoy substantial benefits including 25 vacation days annually, child healthcare, flexible scheduling, and more.
Canada offers a family-friendly destination and numerous recreational activities. For those considering permanent residence, the country offers this status to those who work full-time for one year. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) offers jobs for caregiving and labor, making Canada an attractive destination for those planning to work as overseas foreign workers (OFW).
Taiwan, often referred to as Asia’s “undiscovered gem of experiences,” is attracting an increasing number of foreigners, intrigued by its captivating culture and abundant job opportunities.
Many are already familiar with the towering Taipei skyline, but attractions like the Love River in Kaohsiung and Fengjia Night Market in Taichung are also a testament to the country’s allure.
Among the job opportunities offered, the roles of caregivers, domestic helpers, factory workers, machine operators, and production operators are common.
The island nation is especially welcoming to OFWs, with an OFW population density rivalling that of other Asian countries. In the previous year, Taiwan was home to approximately 89,000 OFWs, many of whom are considering retirement.
Importantly, Filipino applicants need not worry about placement fees, as these are typically covered by Taiwanese employers who also facilitate work permits for immigrants.
Notably, Taiwan has become increasingly accessible for Filipinos due to its visa-free policy, easing the concerns of those anxious about working far from home.
Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun,” has long been a dream destination for many Filipinos, not only for its picturesque landscapes, unique blend of traditional and pop culture, and renowned culinary delights like sushi, ramen, and matcha-flavored dishes, but also as a promising land of opportunity.
While Japan might not initially appear as economically competitive for foreign workers as other countries, its renowned safety, cleanliness, and innovative spirit have drawn many Filipinos to its shores.
Despite previously stringent rules for foreign workers, Japan’s government has been reassessing its immigration laws, signaling a more inclusive approach towards healthcare workers in particular. The demand for English teachers and IT professionals has also seen a significant surge, creating diverse job prospects.Furthermore, the Japanese government is providing free training to qualified caregiving applicants, further enhancing employment opportunities.
As of December 2022, over 300,000 Filipinos were reported to be working in Japan, with roles ranging from engineering and mechanics to teaching and healthcare.
9. South Korea
South Korea, with its robust economy heavily relying on exports, attracts many foreign workers, particularly Filipinos. Not only is it popular for its entertainment industry, K-pop, K-dramas, and cuisine like Samgyeopsal, but it is also becoming a desirable destination for employment and tourism.
A wide range of industries, including textiles, automotive, and electronics, offer significant employment opportunities.
Additionally, the entertainment sector is expanding globally, enhancing the need for English proficiency and hence, increasing the demand for English teachers. Furthermore, there are various roles available, including factory work, domestic help, and other skilled labor, contributing to a high level of disposable income.
English teachers, for instance, can earn an average income of around 3,078,640 South Korean won, or nearly 130,000 pesos per month.
Aside from these opportunities, South Korea offers a wealth of attractions such as the famous N Seoul Tower and Jeju Island, making it a captivating destination for both work and travel. As per the POEA, around 1600 workers are needed in South Korea, with more than 16,000 Filipino workers already employed there as of 2019.
So whether you’re a fan of Korean culture or looking for rewarding work opportunities, South Korea undoubtedly deserves a closer look.
Australia is an appealing destination due to its superb work-life balance and high quality of life. The country’s allure can be captured in the following highlights:
- Quality of Life: Australia is widely recognized for its exceptional quality of life. The overwhelming majority (90%) of immigrants report an enhancement in their overall quality of life upon moving to the country. This might be attributed to Australia’s beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches, vibrant cities, and world-class restaurants.
- Work Opportunities: Australia offers a wide range of job opportunities for skilled foreign workers. Filipinos with a background in agriculture will find plenty of opportunities due to Australia’s numerous farms and barns. Beyond agriculture, the country is especially in need of engineers, chefs, information technology specialists, and healthcare workers.
- Economic Strength: Australia’s robust, service-based economy, especially its mining and agricultural sectors, constantly demand skilled workers. Professions such as engineers, chefs, electricians, IT specialists, mechanics, and plumbers are highly sought after.
- Remuneration: Australia offers attractive wages, with an average income of AUD 5685 (more than 200,000 pesos) per month, making it an economically appealing destination.
Best country for OFWs: Middle Eastern Destinations
The Middle East has been a popular destination for Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) from the Philippines, owing to the robust economies, extensive job opportunities, and substantial Filipino communities in these countries. The following table provides a snapshot of the top 5 Middle Eastern destinations for OFWs:
|Bahrain||Substantial Filipino community, high demand in accounting, construction, design, engineering, nursing, sales, and technical services.|
|United Arab Emirates||Robust economy, assurance of worker safety, diverse job opportunities in various fields like healthcare, IT, and domestic work.|
|Oman||Significant Filipino community, opportunities in domestic sector, business, healthcare, and tourism industries.|
|Qatar||Vibrant economy, opportunities in oil and gas sectors, high predicted demand for workers.|
|Saudi Arabia||Contractual benefits, lower cost of living, high demand for domestic workers, nurses and engineering professionals.|
Salaries offered to Filipino OFWs abroad 2023
Numerous countries offer competitive salaries and benefits that make them particularly appealing to these skilled and dedicated individuals. The following table outlines some of the top-paying destinations for OFWs, where robust economies, high demand for various skills, and favorable labor policies often result in more substantial remuneration
- Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia offer attractive salaries, particularly in industries like construction, healthcare, and domestic work. For example, healthcare professionals may earn between $1,500 to $3,000 per month, depending on their level of expertise and the specific role.
- In countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia, salaries are generally higher due to their strong economies. For instance, nurses in the USA can earn between $4,000 to $6,000 per month. IT professionals may earn significantly more.
- In the UK, healthcare professionals are in high demand, and salaries reflect this. Nurses can expect to earn between $2,000 and $4,000 per month, depending on experience and specialization.
- In Singapore, salaries can range widely based on the sector. Domestic helpers may earn around $400 to $600 per month, while professionals in sectors such as IT and finance may earn much higher salaries.
- In Hong Kong, domestic helpers can earn around $550 per month, based on the minimum allowable wage set by the government.
Average Monthly Salary (USD)
|U.S.A.||Healthcare worker||$3,500 – $4,500|
|IT professional||$5,000 – $7,000|
|Domestic helper||$1,500 – $2,000|
|U.A.E.||Healthcare worker||$2,000 – $3,500|
|IT professional||$3,500 – $5,000|
|Domestic helper||$400 – $600|
|Canada||Healthcare worker||$2,500 – $4,000|
|IT professional||$4,000 – $6,000|
|Domestic helper||$1,200 – $1,600|
|Saudi Arabia||Healthcare worker||$1,000 – $2,500|
|IT professional||$2,000 – $4,000|
|Domestic helper||$300 – $500|
|Hong Kong||Healthcare worker||$1,500 – $3,000|
|IT professional||$2,500 – $5,000|
|Domestic helper||$570 – $650|
|Singapore||Healthcare worker||$2,000 – $3,500|
|IT professional||$3,500 – $5,500|
|Domestic helper||$450 – $600|
Please note that these are rough estimates and actual salaries can vary. Also, remember that high salaries in some countries may be offset by high living costs.
In which countries do Filipinos usually look for work?Filipinos typically look for jobs in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, and parts of Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong
What's the optimal country for Filipino immigration?Canada is often cited as the optimal country for Filipino immigration due to its friendly immigration policies and high standard of living.
What drives Filipinos to relocate to Canada?Economic opportunities, better living conditions, and the potential for permanent residency often drive Filipinos to relocate to Canada.
In which sectors do most Filipinos in Canada find employment?Most Filipinos in Canada find employment in the healthcare, retail and service sectors.
Which country hosts the highest number of Filipino expatriates?The majority of Filipino immigrants reside in the United States and Saudi Arabia, Hongkong, Qatar, and Singapore.
What prompts the high rate of Filipino workforce migration?Limited local job opportunities and higher wage rates abroad often prompt the high rate of Filipino workforce migration. What are the common challenges faced by Filipino workers overseas?
What are the common challenges faced by Filipino workers overseas?Common challenges include homesickness, cultural adjustment, job insecurity, and occasional discrimination.
In conclusion, the best country to work abroad for Filipino OFWs varies depending on individual needs, preferences, and qualifications.
Best country is not solely about the financial advantages, but should also consider factors like safety, cultural acceptance, work-life balance, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.