Occupational destinations and economic mobility of Filipino overseas workers

Moshe Semyonov, Anastasia Gorodzeisky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study examines employment and occupational shifts experienced by Filipino overseas contract workers in the transition from country of origin to country of destination and examines the impact of labor migration on economic conditions and standard of living of the families left behind. Data for the analyses were obtained from a representative sample of 2,346 households drawn from four primary sending areas in the Philippines. The analyses focus on characteristics of the households and of the household members employed overseas. The findings reveal that 4 considerable number of overseas workers (both men and women) were unemployed prior to migration and that the overwhelming majority of these workers were recruited to fill low-status (manual and service) occupations in the host country. The analysis demonstrates that the odds for Filipino overseas workers to be employed in low-status occupations were extremely high, net of human capital characteristics, net of the occupations they held in the Philippines, and net of country of destination. Further analysis reveals that overseas employment is associated with a substantial increase in earnings (five-fold for men and four-fold for women). Comparison between households with and without overseas workers reveals that, net of household characteristics, the flows of income earned abroad are used to purchase household goods to improve standard of living. These findings provide firm support to expectations derived from the household theory of migration according to which labor migration is a strategy adopted by the household unit to allocate family resources rationally to increase the flows of income in order to raise the family standard of living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-25
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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