At least four types of Overseas Filipino Workers were identified during the validation and presentation of the research paper, “Typology of Returning OFWs: Phase 1 (Asia),” done by both the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) last December 21, 2016  at Hotel Jen, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

Participants included staff from NRCO Central Office and their regional coordinators who participated in the study, along with ILS staff who were involved in the conduct of the said research.

From July to September 2016, a total of 600 returned OFWs were surveyed from Regions I, III, IV-A, VI, VIII, X, XII and NCR.

ILS, through researcher Jhemarie Chris L. Bernas, presented the initial findings of the study and identified four types of OFWs: 1) M1 – Returning OFWs under M1 are those whose contract were abruptly terminated, unfinished contract, breached of contract, or experienced labor exploitation. These workers returned to the Philippines and may take various pathways of migration; 2) M2 – Returning OFWs under M2 are those who had finished their contract and had a consciousness to the time and mode of their return. They have a certain level of preparedness to return although insufficient and may not necessarily had achieved the level to which plans for employment or sustaining of income upon return are mapped out. M2 are also workers who had expressed that they will permanently stay in the Philippines and no longer have the desire to work abroad; 3) M3 – Returning OFWs under M3 are also those who had finished their contract and had a consciousness to the time and mode of their return. They also have a certain level of preparedness to return although it is clear that they only intent to stay temporarily in the Philippines; and 4) M4 – Returning OFWs under M4 are also those who had finished their contract and had a consciousness to the time and mode of their return. These workers intend to stay permanently in the Philippines. They are those who can be considered with high level of preparedness with plans for economic return and are most likely are in the processing of establishing their social networks either prior or upon their return.

Ms. Bernas also added the “undocumented workers” as “M0” or types of workers that are usually invisible and prefers to stay under the radar of the government or other migrant social circles. They can only be discovered either on-site and are subject for deportation or upon their return to which they will seek support or assistance from the authorities or other OFW circles.

The study concluded that, indeed, return and reintegration should be taken as two different concepts to which support and assistance for each classified returning OFWs could be properly identified.

“Return may be for everyone, but reintegration may not be ready for all returnees. Discourse for return and reintegration along with data collection mechanisms should be further improved. Return preparedness for the workers remain to be low, but at the same time it is identified that acceptance and preparedness of the government and Philippine society in general for returning workers should also be improved,” Ms. Bernas explained.

The same research was presented along with other ILS researches during the 5th DOLE Research Conference held on December 15-16, 2016 at the Manila Diamond Hotel, Manila.