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Recruitment costs of migrant workers: Results of the pilot Philippine survey on Overseas Filipinos

From October 2016 to September 2019 overseas Filipino migrant workers paid in total some 100 billion Philippine pesos (or 1.9 billion US dollar) in recruitment costs in order to obtain their job abroad, while receiving a salary of 45 thousand pesos on average in their first month of work.

Measuring Sustainable Development Goal indicator 10.7.1 on the recruitment costs of migrant workers: Results of the 2019 Philippine Survey on Overseas Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines (ILO News) – ILO Country Office for the Philippines (CO-Manila), in collaboration with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) releases data from the 2019 pilot measurement of SDG indicator 10.7.1, that is on the recruitment costs paid by Filipino migrant workers to obtain a job abroad, the first ever such data to be produced by the country.

This study on Measuring Sustainable Development Goal indicator 10.7.1 on recruitment costs of migrant workers: Results of the 2019 Philippine Survey on Overseas Filipinos, used data from the Philippine Labour Force Survey (LFS) of 2019, particularly from the October modular Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). This was the first time the PSA piloted such measurement, though the country has a long experience in measuring the number of Filipino workers abroad on annual basis.

The study results showed that Filipino workers overseas were based mainly in the Middle East countries as well as in Taiwan (China) and in Hong Kong (China), accounting to more than 62 per cent, and were mostly involved in low- to medium-skill occupations at more than 80 per cent, with domestic service as the dominant economic activity for Filipino workers abroad (37 per cent).

Despite enormous costs paid in total to obtain a job abroad, overseas Filipino workers spent on average just about 1.2 months of their salary to pay back or cover the recruitment costs paid to get their jobs abroad. The study results imply key policy recommendations for Filipino workers to access better jobs overseas, such as in tackling gender differentials in jobs available, targeting higher skilled jobs that reflect educational attainments of Filipino workers, as well as reducing the financial burden of recruitment costs particularly for the most vulnerable migrant workers.

It is recommended that the Philippines continue the monitoring of SDG indicator 10.7.1, including data in the structure of recruitment costs such as recruitment agencies costs and travel costs, to sustain the SOF as a source of data for this indicator.

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