Overseas Filipino Workers: 20 Best Places to Live (Based on Statistics)


Being an OFW (Overseas Filipino worker) myself, I have been confronted with the question before on which country is the best place to live and work. Of course, the ultimate answer would be the United States of America, because most Filipinos would want to migrate on the most powerful nation in the world. However, I was personally not contented with that popular answer and I want to find out based on government statistics and a data-based interpretation. This is not perhaps to justify my choice to live in Norway, which happens to be ranked number 2 in the list. 

To answer my question, I made used of the data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or the Central Bank of the Philippines on the remittances of OFWs grouped according to countries. My assumption is that the amount of remittance per OFW would reflect indirectly the income they are earning in the country. Of course, this assumption is limited to the fact that every person varies in the amount of remittances and there exists multitude of factors affecting these remittances. However, the data is the most objective available to address the problem. Moreover, I utilized the data from the Commission of Filipino Overseas. According to the latest data, there are 10,4 million Filipinos working and living outside the Filipinos, of which almost 47% acquired permanent residency status. A permanent residency status is considered an ultimate goal of every OFW because this provides stability in income and increase quality of life.

The data included 123 countries. There are countries excluded in the list because either there are less than 200 Filipino residents registered in the country and the accumulated remittance of all residents did not exceed 1000 US Dollars. The ranking is based on an adjusted point, which is simply the product of the % of permanent residents and the average remittance per resident. Here is the list of the 20 places recommended for OFWs based on statistics.

1. Monaco

On the top 20 list, Monaco is considered the least in terms of the number of Filipinos living in the small country on the Mediterranean coast, but the estimated remittance per resident is 33,796 USD annually. In the Philippines, that amount is equivalent to annual gross income before tax. Fortunately, over 86% of Filipinos have acquired permanent residency. These are the reasons why Monaco is on top of the list. Therefore, Monaco is not just the haven of the world's ultra rich but the home of Filipinos sending most remittance to the Philippines.

2. Norway

This oil-rich Scandinavian country is home to about 18,000 Filipinos. According to statistics, most Filipinos work in health-related services. The total amount remittances is not as big as popular countries like Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States of America, but the average amount of remittance per resident is almost 20,000 USD annually. That almost ten times the average amount sent by its counterparts in USA and Canada. This makes Norway on top of the list of countries with residents over 1,000. However, the Norwegian language makes it a primary hindrance why more Filipinos would migrate in the country.

3. Germany

The largest European economy is third on our list. Almost three-fourth of Filipinos living in Germany are permanent residents. This is perhaps the reason why these Filipino residents send huge amounts of remittances to the Philippines annually. Although the German language may pose a problem for OFWs but the expected gross income would be a good motivation to continue living in the beautiful country.

4. Japan

Japan is the one of the two Asian countries on the list. It tops the percentage of permanent residency at 89%. It is also the home of most Filipinos with permanent residency outside the Philippines within Asia. It is however second to Singapore in terms of the total Filipino residents. Filipinos working in Japan are earning obviously higher than those Filipinos in other parts of the world.

5. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is the most Filipinos with permanent residency lives within Europe. However, it is almost equal with Italy in terms of the size of the Filipino community. Moreover, Filipinos living in the United Kingdom sends the largest sum of remittances to the Philippines. The huge Filipino population is perhaps due to language advantage and the increasing trend of Filipino nurses to migrate in the country. 

6. Netherlands

Interestingly, The Netherlands has a significant Filipino community. It has one of the largest in Europe in terms of permanent residency. The thriving Dutch economy has contributed to the increase remittance sent by Filipinos living in the country.

7. Guam/Northern Marianas

The Northern Marianas is a group of islands in the east of the Philippines on the Pacific Ocean. Due to the shared history, its proximity and close association with the United States of America, many Filipinos have migrated to the place. The choice of these Filipinos are worthwhile since almost 75 percent gets permanent residency and send remittances higher compared to those Filipinos in the mainland America.

8. Switzerland

This neutral European country in the Alps is the home of almost 20,000 Filipinos. Two-thirds of which are permanent residents and the stability of the Swiss Francs have contributed to the large amount of remittances sent by Filipinos living there.

9. Denmark

This is the second Scandinavian country in the list. Although a slightly smaller Filipino community lives in the Danish nation, compared to Norway, many still acquire permanent residency. Although compared to Sweden (84%), Norway (74%) and Finland (75%), Denmark implements perhaps the strictest immigration rules among the Scandinavian nation. This however has not hindered Filipinos to send significant amount of remittances to the Philippines.

10. Belgium

Belgium slightly lags behind its close neighbors, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. It grants less permanent residency status to Filipinos, but still there is a considerable number of Filipinos living and working in the country. The average annual remittance per resident is even almost double than that of the United States of America.

11. Finland

This is the third Scandinavian country on the list. Finland is perhaps better than Denmark in granting permanent residency to Filipinos, but the average remittance is slightly lower than the Danish counterpart. Interestingly, the land of the world's number of lakes is the home of almost 12,000 Filipinos.

12. United States

The United States of America tops the total amount of remittance, the number of residents, percentage of permanent residents and the number of permanent residents on the list. It is not surprising because in some states in the United States of America, the Filipino language is considered the third or fourth most spoken language. However in this list, it is ranked a little bit lower because average remittance per residents falls below its European counterparts. The estimated annual remittance is not bad at all that is over 100,000 pesos a year.

13. Austria

This is only the East European nation found in this list. This is the home of almost 13,000 Filipinos, of which two-thirds have acquired permanent residency status. This advantage has resulted for Filipinos to earn better and eventually send larger remittances to the Philippines.

14. Ireland

The Irish nation is the second home of Filipinos, like its neighboring United Kingdom. On the list, it is almost the same with Austria in terms of size of population, but has a smaller percentage of Filipinos getting permanent residency, but the average individual remittance is almost double than that of the Austrian counterpart.

15. Spain

Spain together with Germany are two European nations, which are generous enough to grant Filipinos with permanent residency. Although there are many Filipinos living in Spain, the former colonizer of the Philippines, the average remittance sent by Filipinos is not considerably high in comparison with United Kingdom, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

16. Singapore

Undeniably, Singapore is the closest country in terms of distance, which is listed here. It is the home of the largest Filipino community outside the Philippines within Asia. However, noticeably only 21% of the Filipinos living there acquire permanent residency. 

17. Canada

Canada ranks second, next to its neighboring USA in terms of the size of Filipino community living outside the Philippines. However, the average annual remittance is significantly less than its European counterparts and even the United States.

18. Luxembourg

This landlocked country is home of a small Filipino community, numbering only 1,000. although there are only few Filipinos in the country, many earn higher compared to those living in the American continent. Although many Filipinos earn much higher than those in Austria, but Luxembourg grants less permanent residency status to Filipinos.

19. New Zealand

New Zealand is ranked higher than the larger neighbor, Australia. This is because the average annual remittance is almost 25% higher than those Filipinos in Australia. However, the size of the Filipino community is only 10% of that of Australia.

20. Australia

Although Australia gives a higher chances of getting permanent residency to Filipinos at 84%, making it the place of the largest Filipino community in Oceania. In spite of the large Filipino community and the huge amount to total remittances, Australia lags behind in terms of estimated annual individual remittances.

Interestingly, almost all of the countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman are ranked far behind on the list. This is because of the low percentage of Filipinos getting permanent residency to almost non-existent levels. The average annual remittance is however comparable to most European nations, and even higher than that of the United States, Canada and Australia.


RANK
COUNTRY
No. Permanent Residents (2013)
Total Residents (2013)
% of Permanent Residents
Remittance in 2014 (in thousands USD)
Estimated Remittance per Resident (USD)
Adjusted Points
1
MONACO
290
337
86,05 %
11389
33,796
29,0829
2
NORWAY
13351
18 088
73,81 %
358414
19,815
14,6257
3
GERMANY
36020
47 214
76,29 %
600447
12,718
9,7023
4
JAPAN
163532
182 917
89,40 %
1418547
7,755
6,9333
5
UNITED KINGDOM
161710
218 126
74,14 %
1564278
7,171
5,3166
6
NETHERLANDS
16339
21 789
74,99 %
145239
6,666
4,9984
7
NORTHERN MARIANAS
13591
18 078
75,18 %
88215
4,880
3,6685
8
SWITZERLAND
13376
20 910
63,97 %
96492
4,615
2,9519
9
DENMARK
7175
12 336
58,16 %
62122
5,036
2,9290
10
BELGIUM
7011
12 419
56,45 %
51296
4,130
2,3318
11
FINLAND
1936
2 577
75,13 %
7031
2,728
2,0497
12
UNITED STATES
3135293
3 535 676
88,68 %
7403533
2,094
1,8568
13
AUSTRIA
9132
13 636
66,97 %
37794
2,772
1,8561
14
IRELAND
5440
13 976
38,92 %
65070
4,656
1,8122
15
SPAIN
32226
42 804
75,29 %
94756
2,214
1,6667
16
SINGAPORE
44102
203 243
21,70 %
1401731
6,897
1,4966
17
CANADA
626668
721 578
86,85 %
1202090
1,666
1,4468
18
LUXEMBOURG
503
1 077
46,70 %
2980
2,767
1,2921
19
NEW ZEALAND
29008
39 091
74,21 %
67683
1,731
1,2848
20
AUSTRALIA
334096
397 982
83,95 %
596181
1,498
1,2575
21
SWEDEN
10871
12 938
84,02 %
15836
1,224
1,0284
22
KENYA
373
685
54,45 %
1168
1,706
0,9288
23
BRAZIL
260
805
32,30 %
2234
2,775
0,8963
24
FIJI
164
247
66,40 %
329
1,330
0,8831
25
KOREA (South)
15361
59 839
25,67 %
179762
3,004
0,7712
26
POLAND
227
490
46,33 %
758
1,548
0,7171
27
MEXICO
206
749
27,50 %
1677
2,239
0,6159
28
INDIA
382
1 469
26,00 %
3430
2,335
0,6071
29
LIBERIA
20
503
3,98 %
7161
14,236
0,566
30
SOUTH AFRICA
400
1 994
20,06 %
5532
2,774
0,5565
31
FRANCE
8848
48 018
18,43 %
130270
2,713
0,4999
32
HONG KONG
13591
201 094
6,76 %
914374
4,547
0,3073
33
ITALY
89742
271 946
33,00 %
251379
0,924
0,305
34
BRUNEI
17658
32 765
53,89 %
16965
0,518
0,279
35
SOLOMON
33
338
9,76 %
907
2,683
0,262
36
COSTA RICA
166
315
52,70 %
139
0,442
0,2329
37
CYPRUS
2709
19 948
13,58 %
29366
1,472
0,1999
38
HONDURAS
184
295
62,37 %
80
0,272
0,1695
39
CZECH REPUBLIC
99
683
14,49 %
649
0,950
0,1377
40
PORTUGAL
661
2 651
24,93 %
1351
0,509
0,127
41
ROMANIA
69
781
8,83 %
1068
1,367
0,1208
42
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
1
300
0,33 %
10116
33,72
0,1124
43
BOTSWANA
125
386
32,38 %
116
0,302
0,0977
44
PERU
29
211
13,74 %
149
0,707
0,0972
45
SWAZILAND
135
357
37,82 %
91
0,254
0,0962
46
ANGOLA
226
2 893
7,81 %
2992
1,034
0,0808
47
ISRAEL
2000
36 400
5,49 %
53271
1,463
0,0804
48
THAILAND
1580
16 224
9,74 %
13343
0,822
0,0801
49
CHINA (MAINLAND)
1852
29 691
6,24 %
32463
1,093
0,0682
50
TURKEY
882
5 186
17,01 %
2065
0,398
0,0677
51
TAIWAN
2459
89 195
2,76 %
213300
2,391
0,0659
52
TUNISIA
30
202
14,85 %
85
0,422
0,0627
53
MOZAMBIQUE
505
1 314
38,43 %
210
0,160
0,0613
54
ICELAND
1024
1 711
59,85 %
169
0,099
0,0592
55
MALTA
30
1 160
2,59 %
2536
2,186
0,0565
56
AZERBAIJAN
308
838
36,75 %
115
0,137
0,0503
57
ZAMBIA
95
1 444
6,58 %
1076
0,745
0,049
58
GUATEMALA
148
334
44,31 %
30
0,090
0,0399
59
VENEZUELA
97
206
47,09 %
17
0,083
0,0391
60
LEBANON
1573
29 113
5,40 %
21012
0,722
0,039
61
SURINAME
70
575
12,17 %
160
0,278
0,0339
62
COOK ISLANDS
82
281
29,18 %
32
0,113
0,033
63
INDONESIA
321
12 565
2,55 %
15632
1,244
0,0318
64
MARSHALL ISLANDS (MAJURO)
14
813
1,72 %
1397
1,718
0,0296
65
HAITI
251
502
50,00 %
28
0,056
0,0281
66
PAKISTAN
154
1 501
10,26 %
341
0,227
0,0233
67
RUSSIA
11
4 335
0,25 %
29499
6,805
0,0173
68
NIGERIA
240
7 240
3,31 %
3772
0,521
0,0173
69
JAMAICA
38
354
10,73 %
55
0,155
0,0166
70
MACAU
1930
17 922
10,77 %
2654
0,148
0,0159
71
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
782
26 153
2,99 %
12373
0,473
0,0141
72
EGYPT
1198
5 754
20,82 %
301
0,052
0,0109
73
ANDORRA
476
1 270
37,48 %
37
0,029
0,0109
74
BAHAMAS
20
738
2,71 %
291
0,394
0,0107
75
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
1360
3 000
45,33 %
61
0,020
0,0093
76
GREECE
91
61 716
0,15 %
354253
5,740
0,0085
77
BANGLADESH
147
2 047
7,18 %
237
0,116
0,0083
78
MALAYSIA
26007
793 580
3,28 %
196264
0,247
0,0081
79
ETHIOPIA
2
593
0,34 %
1146
1,932
0,0065
80
KUWAIT
502
198 289
0,25 %
455353
2,296
0,0058
81
UAE
1711
822 410
0,21 %
2224598
2,705
0,0056
82
PUERTO RICO
10
350
2,86 %
64
0,184
0,0053
83
OMAN
140
55 590
0,25 %
115770
2,083
0,0052
84
NEW CALEDONIA
101
2 201
4,59 %
234
0,106
0,0049
85
LESOTHO
260
362
71,82 %
2
0,006
0,0045
86
GHANA
30
1 328
2,26 %
254
0,191
0,0043
87
IRAQ
22
922
2,39 %
163
0,177
0,0042
88
CAMBODIA
43
3 737
1,15 %
1159
0,310
0,0036
89
SIERRA LEONE
35
451
7,76 %
20
0,045
0,0035
90
SRI LANKA
2
933
0,21 %
1382
1,481
0,0032
91
BAHRAIN
91
72 083
0,13 %
172342
2,391
0,003
92
ARUBA
591
2 529
23,37 %
33
0,013
0,003
93
BERMUDA
2
1 999
0,10 %
4181
2,092
0,0021
94
MOROCCO
6
1 300
0,46 %
483
0,372
0,0017
95
CHILE
32
305
10,49 %
4
0,012
0,0012
96
AMERICAN SAMOA
500
2 567
19,48 %
13
0,005
0,001
97
JORDAN
151
29 766
0,51 %
4692
0,158
0,0008
98
SAUDI ARABIA
264
1 028 802
0,03 %
2843293
2,764
0,0007
99
UKRAINE
1
210
0,48 %
27
0,128
0,0006
100
KAZAKHSTAN
1
1 599
0,06 %
1292
0,808
0,0005
101
LAOS
2
1 314
0,15 %
458
0,348
0,0005
102
MALDIVES
25
4 100
0,61 %
302
0,074
0,0004
103
QATAR
16
204 550
0,01 %
698320
3,414
0,0003
104
AFGHANISTAN
1
1 609
0,06 %
820
0,509
0,0003
105
CAYMAN ISLANDS
1
2 501
0,04 %
1006
0,402
0,0002
106
LIBYA
53
9 595
0,55 %
294
0,031
0,0002
107
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
60
257
23,35 %
0
0,001
0,0002
108
MYANMAR
29
590
4,92 %
2
0,003
0,0001
109
SUDAN
215
2 750
7,82 %
4
0,002
0,0001
110
VIRGIN ISLANDS (US)
0
2 276
0,00 %
10116
4,445
0
111
VIETNAM
0
6 585
0,00 %
5250
0,797
0
112
TANZANIA
0
429
0,00 %
246
0,574
0
113
TIMOR-LESTE
0
1 535
0,00 %
776
0,506
0
114
SEYCHELLES
0
1 221
0,00 %
550
0,451
0
115
UGANDA
0
398
0,00 %
174
0,438
0
116
MONGOLIA
0
881
0,00 %
190
0,216
0
117
MADAGASCAR
0
2 339
0,00 %
242
0,104
0
118
CONGO
0
2 076
0,00 %
114
0,055
0
119
GABON
0
249
0,00 %
9
0,037
0
120
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLAND (WEST INDIES)
0
2 148
0,00 %
70
0,033
0
121
CHAD
0
538
0,00 %
13
0,024
0
122
DJIBOUTI
0
416
0,00 %
6
0,013
0
123
ALGERIA
30
6 251
0,48 %
1
0,000
0









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