To work abroad and be able to provide handsomely for their families in the Philippines is a common goal among most Filipinos. Time and distance become insignificant at the promise of a better compensation package, a legitimate contract, and sometimes, an opportunity to migrate overseas with the family.
While most OFWs are able to enjoy the sweet fruits of their labor, it is no secret that more than a handful of them come back home with broken hearts and dreams. Why is this so?
We researched on the top reasons our beloved OFWs give up on their goals abroad, pack their bags, and take the next flight out back to where they came from. What problems plague overseas workers and how can these be prevented? Read on.
1. Becoming a victim of Illegal Recruitment
Lack of proper information and awareness, as well as failure to check with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) before engaging with an agency, are the main reasons why Pinoys fall prey to illegal recruiters.
Avoid becoming a victim of illegal recruitment by diligently checking with the POEA if your agency is properly listed as a recruitment firm and has a good track record among other workers.
2. High placement fees
Another red flag when engaging with a recruitment agency are exorbitant placement fees that you know you will not be able to pay even after you’ve completed your 24-month contract abroad. Some recruiters will encourage you to agree to an “installment plan” where part of your salary automatically goes to paying for your placement fee’s outstanding balance. Do not fall for such “sweet talk”, especially if they compel you to give them authorization to deduct some amount from your salary.
You have the right to refuse a job offer if it obviously puts you in debt even before you leave the country.
3. Employer abuse
This could be an offshoot of numbers 1 and 2.
Abuse does not only mean physical or verbal; some employers discriminate against your race or religion and that too is considered as abuse. If you find yourself in this situation, get in touch with the Philippine embassy in your location and ask for help right away.
4. Extra-marital relationships and broken families
This happens for a multitude of reasons but most common is the OFW’s inability to cope with homesickness and loneliness. Others find the need to get into illicit relationships for additional income and sustain their stay abroad (i.e. marriage for convenience).
You can avoid this by maintaining consistent and meaningful conversations with your spouse and children even when you are far.
5. Landing in jail for offenses they did not commit
Nightly news are never without OFWs and their families seeking the government’s intervention for false accusations that landed their loved one in a foreign jail cell. The scenes are as heartbreaking as your nightly telenovela and sadly, most end up with the poor OFW coming home in a wooden box.
Stay away from dubious groups and avoid engaging in questionable transactions while you are abroad. Always keep your personal belongings secured especially if you live with other overseas workers.
6. Failed family business
OFWs entrust their hard-earned money to their parents, siblings, or spouses in the hope that this is invested properly and used wisely to meet the go out of control. Sadly, this also causes rifts among family members, and husbands and wives. family’s needs. But because of lack of research and proper business planning, investments fail to grow and expenses
7. Dwindling value of the Philippine Peso
This is something that is beyond anyone’s control unless you are the President of the country. Yet this affects an OFW’s family’s monthly income so much. That is why it pays to learn how to invest properly and grow a profitable side business. This ensures you of a passive income that you can count on whenever the country’s economy adversely affects your household income.
8. Getting caught in violent uprisings and natural disasters abroad.
Again, this is beyond your control as an OFW or an OFW’s allotee; and again, you can respond positively to these types of setbacks with a stable savings account and a profitable investment.
9. Unable to get assistance from consular and embassy officials abroad.
Either the OFW is deployed in a remote area or the Philippine embassy in his country has limited manpower and so they are unable to attend to all Pinoys seeking assistance.
10. Compelling family problems back home
A terminally ill parent, a child getting hooked on drugs, or a spouse running off with a new partner; these familiar situations are surefire ways to get a Pinoy OFW to come running back home.
There may be more problems that plague overseas workers that are not mentioned in this article. But obviously, these are not enough to keep Filipinos from seeking employment abroad. It is every person’s responsibility to ensure that he gains more from the effort of leaving his family behind than the price he has to pay in the end.
We hope this article helped shed light on some of the issues experienced by Pinoy OFWs and their families. Your own experiences, lessons, and advises to fellow OFWs are most welcome too!