Southeast Asia - Migration News | Migration Dialogue: "Philippines. Almost 1.4 million Filipinos were deployed to overseas jobs in 2008, an average 3,800 a day and up significantly from 1.1 million in 2007. Remittances were $16.4 billion in 2008, up from $14.4 billion in 2007.
The unemployment rate in the Philippines approached eight percent in January 2009, almost three million, prompting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue Administrative Order 247 to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to 'execute a paradigm shift by refocusing its functions from regulation to full blast market development efforts, the exploration of frontier, fertile job markets for Filipino expatriate workers.'
The sharp rise in migrant deployments in 2008 could be followed by return migration in 2009, as last-hired workers are laid off. Over 6,000 Filipino migrants, mostly women working in electronics factories in Taiwan and men working on Middle Eastern construction projects, returned home before the end of the contracts in the first three months of 2009. The POEA dispatched teams to Taiwan, Dubai and Korea to help Filipino migrants who had been laid off.
Laid-off migrants who return to the Philippines are eligible for 10,000 peso ($210) grants to obtain training in opening a small business. After completing the training, graduates can obtain 50,000 peso loans at five percent to open a small business.
There are about 125,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong, and they protested the POEA's ban on direct hiring in February 2009. Since 2007, domestic helpers headed to Hong Kong must use an approved recruiter, who cannot charge a recruitment fee but may charge training fees, which helpers say are P20,000 ($417) to P100,000."