Call it brain drain or globalization, it has been a growing trend where many Filipinos have ventured into more affluent countries for better career opportunities to help their families back home. It has come to a point that the country is set to loose its best and brightest minds to overseas employment and immigration and as a result, the countries on the receiving end will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor and even exploit it the best way they can. We can't blame them.
Seamen have manned Norwegian oil tankers and Danish cruise ships. Salesmen and customer service personnel fill up the malls in Dubai to Singapore. Call center agents take call from the United States to Canada. Domestic helpers work their hearts out servicing their bosses' families in Hong Kong and Riyadh. Nurses take care of patients and the elderly in Europe and Australia. It seems wherever you go, you will likely get to meet a Filipino.
What if there are no Filipinos that do all these things? What will happen to the global economy?
According to official data from the Commission on Filipino Overseas, there are 10.2 million documented OFWs with over 2 million in the United States and 1 million in Saudi Arabia. If we add up the undocumented and immigrant ones, it would probably reach over 15 million! So if this number of hardworking and productive individuals do not exist then there would have been a considerable impact on the global economy.
Remittances create a viable economic activity that effectively fuel business activities in the Philippines. Remittances were $12.7 billion in the first half of the year in 2014 and $15 billion in 2015. Imagine that amount of money vanished? Average spending of Filipino household will fall and that would affect local businesses. Like it or not, the Philippines has sustained a portion of its economy from OFWs hard-earned money.
It is expected that unemployment rate will go up the roof. With one of four Filipinos currently unemployed and more than 2.2 million will be added to that pool of unused talent, it would have become more complicated with jobs lost at home since there are probably a number of OFWs that have invested in business and have fall backs in case they lose their current job abroad.
With that cut off, the Philippines would probably struggle economically. Saudi Arabia may suffer the impact of the absence of Filipinos in the oil and service sectors and they may have to take in more South Asian migrant workers to fill in the gap left behind by the better-trained Filipino personnel.
Countries with large aging population would have large vacancies in skilled medical and nursing personnel that will help take care of its elderly. They may have to spend more money in training and hiring more of its own. Shipping industry will suffer and global trade would take a tumble as well due to the absence of experienced seamen and crew.
Many countries have valued OFWs more than the Philippines, the trend will always be there to pull Filipinos out and go elsewhere. After all, the Filipinos have always been global citizens.