Most of our countrymen have the notion that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) lie in bed of roses abroad. It is out of common knowledge that they actually experience a lot of challenges overseas.
Here are the top ten challenges faced by our kabayans in pursuit of providing a better life to their families:
1. Illegal recruitment.
Despite leaving our country with heavy hearts, OFWs keep high hopes for their plight only to find out that they have traded their money, possessions, family, and life for nothing. This is one difficult situation for OFWs and most choose to stay in the foreign land and look for part-time jobs instead of returning to their families empty-handed.
2. Employer abuse.
Only few fortunate OFWs were spared from this suffering. The sad fact is this springs from lack of assistance from OWWA and from the recruitment agency. In addition, foreign laws also have no statutes for the protection of foreign workers. Most common forms of abuses include physical, verbal, and sexual.
This is actually the most difficult to combat psychologically. For this reason, some OFWs spend lavishly to relieve their loneliness, others engage in forbidden affairs, and a few consummate their income on amusement.
4. Burden of having broken families.
Since they are working far away from home, families of OFWs complain of lack of emotional support from their OFW kin and usually feel abandoned. Children of OFWs most often do not understand the sacrifices of their parents yet.
5. Lack of support from embassy and consular officials abroad.
OFWs report unresponsiveness of embassies and consulates which could sometimes be attributed to distance of the OFWs place of work from the former or simply attributable to the lack of interest of the said officials.
6. Deception from fellow OFWs.
Because of the feeling of solitude, most OFWs seek the company of fellow Filipinos. However, some OFWs entrust too much to their comrades, especially money and possessions, only to find out that they were defrauded.
7. Decreasing exchange rate of peso, OFWs mourn for it.
OFWs’ families would benefit more if the power of foreign currency is superior to peso since it means more fund for education, food, and shelter, along with others.
8. Natural calamities and disasters abroad.
As aforementioned, risking one’s life is indispensable from becoming an OFW. The number of OFWs who died from tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, wars, and other incidents abroad continues to rise.
9. Prone to frame ups.
Several OFWs claim being framed up by their employers for crimes they did not commit. And since they have no relatives abroad and receive only a petty help from the government, the depression and trauma experienced by OFWs is undesirable and sometimes intolerable.
10. The risk of being included in massive lay-offs during unfavourable economic conditions also challenges OFWs.
Since foreign countries would prioritize their natives when it comes to employment, OFWs are at risk for being laid off and sent home.
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