2021 Overseas Filipino Workers (Final Results)

Reference Number: 2022-431
Release Date: December 2, 2022

Overseas Filipino Workers are estimated at 1.83 million

The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or Filipino workers who worked abroad during the period of April to September 2021 was estimated at 1.83 million. Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contracts, comprised of 96.4 percent or 1.76 million of the total OFWs during the same period. Other OFWs who worked abroad without working visa or work permits such as tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of non- immigrant visas but were employed and working full time in other countries from April to September 2021 accounted for 3.6 percent share. (Table 1 and Figure 1)

The number of OFWs increased by 3.0 percent or 53.57 thousand overseas workers from 2020 to 2021. In 2020, OFWs were registered at 1.77 million, of which 1.71 million were OCWs and about 64 thousand were other Filipino workers abroad without valid working visa and work permits. (Table 1 and Figure 1)


Majority of Overseas Filipino Workers are women

By sex disaggregation, more women were reported to be working overseas, accounting for 60.2 percent or 1.10 million in 2021. On the other hand, 39.8 percent or 0.73 million were male OFWs. The same trend was observed in 2020 where 59.6 percent or 1.06 million OFWs were women, while 40.4 percent were men. (Table 1)

By age group, the highest number of Overseas Filipino Workers in 2021 were in age group 30 to 34 years (23.2%), followed by 45 years and over (23.1%), and 35-39 years (19.9%). (Table 2)

Male overseas workers in age group 45 years and over comprised the largest share of 29.1 percent, while those in age group 30 to 34 years had a share of  22.1 percent. For female overseas workers, the largest share (24.0 %) belonged to age group 30 to 34 years followed by those who were 35-39 years which comprised 20.9 percent of the 1.10 million female OFWs. (Table 2 and Figure 2)


Four in every ten OFWs are in elementary occupations1

About four in every ten (43.2%) OFWs in 2021 were engaged in elementary occupations1. This was followed by those engaged in service and sales with 16.5 percent and plant and machine operators and assemblers with 13.6 percent. (Table 2)

Among the 1.10 million female OFWs, majority (64.8%) were engaged in elementary occupations, followed by service and sales workers at 17.1 percent. Among the 726 thousand male OFWs in 2021, the largest share of workers were in the following occupations: plant and machine operators and assemblers (31.2%), service and sales workers (15.5%), technicians and associate professionals (14.8%), craft and related trades workers (13.8%), and elementary occupations (10.7%). (Table 2 and Figure 3)

1Elementary occupations involve the performance of simple and routine tasks which may require the use of hand-held tools and considerable physical effort. It includes: cleaning, restocking supplies and performing basic maintenance in apartments, houses, kitchens, hotels, offices and other buildings; washing of cars and windows; helping in kitchens and performing simple tasks in food preparations; delivering messages or goods; carrying luggages and handling baggage,etc.


CALABARZON has the largest proportion of OFWs

Across the country’s 17 regions, CALABARZON contributed the largest number of OFWs which was estimated at 15.9 percent or 159 in every 1,000 OFWs in 2021. Further, for every 1000 OFWs in 2021, around 155 were from Region III, 98 were from Region VI, 89 were from Region 1, and 83 were from National Capital Region. (Table 2 and Figure 4) Across the major island areas in the country in 2021, most (64.7%) were from Luzon, followed by Mindanao at 18.4 percent and Visayas at 16.9 percent. (Table 3)


Saudi Arabia is the leading destination of OFWs

In 2021, the top five destinations of OFWs were the following: Asia (78.3%), Europe (9.3 %), North and South America (8.9%), Australia (2.2%) and Africa (1.3 %). Of the total 1.83 million OFWs in 2021, about 24.4 percent worked in Saudi Arabia followed by United Arab Emirates at 14.4 percent. Other countries in Asia with large number of OFWs include: Hongkong (6.7%), Kuwait (5.9%), Singapore (5.8%), and Qatar (4.8%). (Table 5 and Figure 5)


Total Remittance reach 151.33 billion pesos in 2021

Among the 1.83 million OFWs, 41.0 percent sent remittance between 40 thousand pesos to less than 100 thousand pesos, while 20.5 percent sent at least 100 thousand pesos remittance from April to September 2021. (Table 6) The total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2021 reached 151.33 billion pesos. This includes cash sent (127.13 billion pesos), cash brought home (20.17 billion pesos), and in kind (4.03 billion pesos). (Table 7 and Figure 6) Of the 127.13 billion pesos cash remittance of the OFWs sent to the country, 89.20 billion were from Asian countries. (Table 8) The average remittance sent by every OFWs from April to September 2021 was placed at 91 thousand pesos, higher than the average remittance valued at 87 thousand pesos sent in 2020 for the same months. (Table 1 and Table 7)


Banks are most preferred in sending cash remittances

In terms of the preferred mode of remittance, about 71.79 billion pesos or 56.5 percent of the total cash remittances were sent by the OFWs through banks. In 2020, the total value of cash remittances sent through banks was estimated at 57.68 billion pesos. Aside from banks, cash remittances were made through money transfer amounting to 53.82 billion pesos or 42.3 percent. Collective share of around 1.2 percent of the cash remittances sent by the Filipinos working in other countries were through agency/local office of the OFW, friends/co- worker, door to door, etc. (Table 9)    

    • The number of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) in 2021 was estimated at 1.83 million which was higher than the 1.77 million estimate in 2020. • The number of Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) increased to 1.76 million in 2021, from 1.71 million in 2020. • Total remittance sent in 2021 reached 151.33 billion pesos which was higher than the 134.77 billion pesos in 2020. • On the average, about 91 thousand pesos remittance per OFW was sent in 2021, an amount that is much higher than the 87 thousand pesos average remittance sent per OFW in 2020.      

 National Statistician and Civil Registrar General


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Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
Social Sector Statistics Service
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