AN ESTIMATED 2.3 million Filipinos worked abroad in the middle two quarters of 2018, with Saudi Arabia still the top destination for these workers, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

I its 2018 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, the PSA said: “The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at any given time during the period April to September 2018 was estimated at 2.3 million. Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) with existing work contracts comprised 96.2% of all OFWs during the period April to September 2018.”

The survey also indicated that Saudi Arabia remains the top destination for OFWs in the period. Just under one in four OFWs worldwide work in the kingdom, or 24.3%. Other major destinations were Hong Kong (6.3%), Kuwait (5.7%), Taiwan (5.5%) and Qatar (5.2%).

Remittances from the period totaled P235.9 billion, up from P205.2 billion a year earlier.

“These remittances included cash sent home (P169.4 billion), cash brought home (P55.2 billion) and remittances in kind (P11.2 billion). The majority of OFWs sent their remittances through banks (52.8%) while the rest used money transfer services (45.0%), agencies or local offices (2.0%),” PSA said.

The PSA added that the largest segment filled by Filipino labor overseas is elementary occupations (37.1%) or unskilled work. Other segments are service and sales (18.8%); plant and machinery operators and assembly (13.8%); craft and related trades (9.2%); professionals (9.0%); technicians and associate professionals (7.0%); clerical support workers (3.8%); managers (1.1%); and skilled agricultural forestry and fishery workers (0.2%).

PSA also said women make up 55.8% of OFWs, noting that “more than half of the female OFWs were in elementary occupations (58.7%). Among the male OFWs, the largest groups were plant and machinery operators and assembly workers (27.8%).” — Gillian M. Cortez