Many Filipinos actually think that working abroad can solve most of their problems, specially with finances, but becoming an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) has its advantages and disadvantages. While the promise of a better life has become a reality for most OFWs, this doesn’t mean that they are spared with the problems that Filipinos in our country also face.
Here are some of the most common problems OFWs encounter:
1. Providing basic necessities for themselves and their families
Providing basic necessities is one of the major problems of OFWs, whether for themselves or their families, specially if their income is not really as high as they expected. A lot of OFWs make sacrifices and sometimes neglect their basic needs abroad in order to save and provide for their families back home. Aside from not being able to provide their own basic necessities, some OFWs are also not able to send enough money to provide for their families because of the high cost of living abroad. While many of us think that living abroad can make one’s life comfortable and easy, it may not always be the case. With the demands and pressures to provide a comfortable life for their families in the Philippines, it is the OFWs that make the greatest sacrifices.
2. Lack of savings
Some OFWs who have been working abroad for years still do not have a savings account. Other OFWs tend to spend a lot on expensive gadgets for themselves or their family members, or splurge when they go on vacation in the Philippines. Because they earn relatively higher abroad than when they were in the Philippines, they would usually spend more than they should in order to fulfill their wants and be able to fulfill their promise to provide luxuries for their families. This problem can be avoided by setting a realistic budget and saving money before spending on luxuries.
3. Relatives and friends who loan and do not pay
Unpaid debts by friends can also pose a problem to OFWs. Since Filipinos are naturally helpful, they may not decline a relative or a fellow Filipino OFW from borrowing from them when they are in urgent need of money. However, OFWs should be comfortable with the idea that it is okay not to lend money when you only have enough for your family.
4. Unpaid loans
Many Filipinos would usually loan money in order to fulfill their dream of working abroad to pay for placement fees or their fares. This problem can be avoided by setting aside a portion of their income in paying for these loans. Some Filipinos, however, loan money because they overspent on their last vacation . Like any financial problem, it is always wiser to set a realistic budget and stick to it.
5. Illegal recruitment
Filipinos who desperately want to work abroad are easily victimized by illegal recruiters. Not only money and effort is wasted, but there is the problem of going back home. Government agencies can help educate and guide OFW applicants like the POEA.
These problems can be avoidable if one understands the purpose of working overseas. If an OFW has already encountered any of these issues, learning from them and taking steps to prevent them from happening again will help an OFW meet his purpose of making the sacrifice in working overseas.
Please also read: 10 Reasons Why Many Filipinos Leave the Country and Go Abroad