There were 2.4 million registered migrants who departed the Philippines over a 12-year period from 2007 to 2018. The 10 major countries accounted for 96.2% of Filipino emigrants registered in 2018, the last year for which official statistics are available at time of article publication.
The term “emigrants” means persons who leave their own nation to settle permanently in another country.
The latest metrics show some interesting trends. From an overall perspective, the total number of registered Filipino emigrants fell by 20.7% from 2015 to 2018. In contrast, the number of Filipinos relocating to jurisdictions excluding the top 10 countries increased by 21.9% over that same timeframe.
Below, we focus on data for registered Filipinos emigrating in 2018.
There were 73,719 registered Filipino emigrating around the globe as outside the Philippines for 2018, the last year for which official statistics are available. That metric represents a -7.6% decline compared to 79,779 one year earlier in 2017, but a 4.1% gain from 70,800 in 2008 when the Great Recession began.
Below are the top 10 countries that served as destinations for registered Filipino emigrants during 2018.
- United States: 35,839 Filipino emigrants (48.6% of global total)
- Canada: 23,014 (31.2%)
- Japan: 3,962 (5.4%)
- Australia: 2,937 (4%)
- Italy: 1,459 (2%)
- United Kingdom: 1,205 (1.4%)
- Spain: 694 (0.9%)
- Germany: 687 (0.9%)
- South Korea: 687 (0.9%)
- New Zealand: 617 (0.8%)
All told, the above 10 countries represent 96.2% of the destinations where registered Filipino emigrants settles outside the Philippines in 2018. North America represents the preferred geographic target for about four-fifths of Filipinos who registered as emigrants in 2018.
While the overall number of registered Filipino emigrants declined by -7.6% from 2017 to 2018, four of the top 10 destinations increased the number of people from the Philippines welcomed to live within their borders in 2018. Those four growth destinations were the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea.
Shown below is the percentage change in Filipino emigrants from 2017 to 2018 for each of the top 10 destination countries.
- United States: Up 2.5% from 2017 to 2018
- Canada: Down -15.9%
- Japan: Down -4%
- Australia: Down -26.4%
- Italy: Down -34.9%
- United Kingdom: Up 1%
- Spain: Down -24.6%
- Germany: Up 11.5%
- South Korea: Up 11.5%
- New Zealand: Down -50.1%
Leading the decliners as destinations for emigrating Filipinos from 2017 to 2018 were New Zealand (down -50.1%), Australia (down -26.4%), Spain (down -24.6%) and Canada (down -15.9%).
Jobs are among the major enticements for the top 10 countries where Filipinos migrate. The following list provides a snapshot of the latest unemployment statistics for the top 10 countries preferred by immigrants from the Philippines.
- United States: 6% (reported at March 2021)
- Canada: 7.5% (March 2021)
- Japan: 2.9% (February 2021)
- Australia: 5.6% (March 2021)
- Italy: 10.2% (February 2021)
- United Kingdom: 4.9% (February 2021)
- Spain: 16.13% (December 2020)
- Germany: 4.5% (February 2021)
- South Korea: 3.9% (March 2021)
- New Zealand: 4.9% (December 2020)
Based on the lowest among the above reported jobless rates, the most attractive countries for emigrating Filipinos looking for work are Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Another factor is that employment/unemployment rates fluctuate reflecting domestic and global business cycles, external forces that occur independent of an individual’s control or personal immigration decision.
The following resources were used to research statistics used in this article, and for the accompanying infographic.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on April 20, 2021
Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos. Accessed on April 20, 2021
Trading Economics, Unemployment rates by country. Accessed on April 20, 2021