A lot of families in the Philippines have at least one relative who works abroad. Many of these OFWs send ‘balikbayan’ boxes filled with imported goods and branded items.
As OFWs seem to have a richer, better life than they had before, a lot of Filipinos dream of also making it big and working abroad. But many failed to realize that though working abroad is not just about making a lot of money and having fun, there are also negative aspects to being an OFW.
First, let’s talk about the pros, the perks of being an OFW.
The number one advantage of being an OFW is the money you earn. More often than not, OFWs are paid at least twice the amount they would have received had they been working in the Philippines.
Traveling to other countries is also exciting. You get to see many new places, meet new people, enjoy new food, and have a lot of fun; though not everyone gets to enjoy this, especially females working in the Middle East.
Families of OFWs often lead a better life, with improved economic status. They can buy more delicious food, can afford better gadgets, may go to private schools, have better modes of transportation, etc. Often, this is the reason why workers dream of working abroad.
Sadly, working abroad also has its disadvantages. Most OFWs feel homesick and lonely, despite having new friends at their foreign workplace.
It is often difficult to find time to connect with family members, especially if the time zones are very different – your family members are already sleeping when you get off from work, and they could already be in school or work by the time you wake up. Adjusting to this could be very difficult.
A lot of OFWs who are moms or dads experience difficulty in connecting with their children back in the Philippines, mostly because the children feel more close to the ones taking care of them than their parents who are working abroad so they can have a better life.
Also, before working abroad, OFWs often have to shell out a lot money so they can go abroad, including processing fees, medical exams, trainings and certificates, and many others; that’s not to mention spent in board and lodging as well as fares for the weeks or months that you are processing your papers.
Since many don’t really have money to pay for these, a lot resort to taking loans or even selling properties. This means that you might still owe a lot of money to pay for all the expenses relevant to working abroad.
At times, work is just temporary. There is no assurance than your contract will be renewed once it expires.
Most OFWs don’t get to enjoy retirement benefits as well – and many are forced to retire earlier than they might want, due to age limits.
At times, they also have to deal with family members and friends who often ask them for money or with family members who spend their remittance on things they don’t really need.
Lastly, there are also many cases of families breaking apart because either the OFW or the husband/wife left at home finds a new love because they couldn’t handle the long-distance relationship with their spouse…