IT’S WHAT THEY BRING
There are about 12-million overseas Filipinos worldwide, equivalent to about 11.5% of the total population of the Philippines, a multi-lingual country where English is taught and spoken widely as a se-cond language. Many emigrate and become permanent residents and citizens of other countries.
Those who do migrate often work as doctors, lawyers, newspaper editors and journalists, advertising executives, creative directors, graphic artists, IT professionals, software code developers, engineers of several disciplines, chefs and food technicians, architects, indus-trial and fashion designers, banking professionals, investment man-agers and advisors, accountants, business analysts, educators, mili-tary servicemen, seafarers, entertainers, nurses, therapists, care-giv-ers and self-employed entrepreneurs – valuable skills and qualifica-tions all which are sought after by many immigration departments and offices of 1st World na-tions.
The populations of migrant Filipinos, who have settled in OECD countries such as the United Kingdom (203,035), United States (2,802,586), Canada (462,935), and Australia (270,347), attest to the desirability of having Filipinos migrate and settle permanently in their respective countries because of their positive economic impact, ease of social integration and cultural contributions.
What they bring as a result of their migrations explains to a large extent why most western host countries, particularly those mentioned, fine-tune their immigra-tion policies to attract and keep them from leaving. In New Zealand these days, it is estimated that there are now a little over 30,000 Filipinos residing mostly in the urban centres of Wel-lington and Auckland.
THEIR GLOBAL NETWORKS
Filipinos it seems live across cultures, communities and countries. They are represented today in over 197 nations. The irony is that, Filipinos now belong to the whole world. Not least due to their ex-tensive transnational social ties and use of communication tech-niques, Filipino migrants are generally well- informed about the working conditions, legal regulations and Filipinos’ living arrange-ments in other places abroad. Filipinos and their families living in other counties in more well-established communities are typically organised in church groups and regional associations. Their migrations have generated global networks that traverses space and crosses national boundaries. They share a group-wide consciousness and a collective memory of a homeland and a deep longing to express their unique cultural identity.
In a post-modern world in which they have become global players actively exercising citizen-ship, they conceive of themselves as cosmopolitans who reach out beyond their ethno-national origins, to feel at home in the world.
NOW MORE THAN EVER
Whether you realize it or not, New Zealand today is a mix of differ-ent cultures, cuisine, arts and people. With that as a backdrop of this young country’s profile, it offers a rich experience of contrast and color – literally, in terms of language, food, music, skin tone and clothing style. In this multiracial country where political, social, reli-gious harmony is valued, the Filipino-Kiwis and their families are now all part of New Zealand’s national identity. It is a valuable and vibrant constituency willing to support the nation’s economic transformation. But they do not as yet have a place that can be called a ‘centre’ where they can contribute as a strong, self-directed community by promoting their adopted country abroad just as it also looks into uplifting their own members’ wellbeing along with others in settling properly and permanently in New Zealand.
If New Zealand is paving the way for a better future by developing stronger connections with other countries, particularly the growing economies of Asia, Southeast Asia and also where Fili-pinos have major presences, connections and networks in other major trading countries vital to our growing relationships with other jurisdictions, now more than ever is the best time to ensure that we draw upon New Zealand’s Filipino Community to maximize our opportunities for peace, growth and economic prosperity.
This is one of the solid reasons why our Foundation is now reaching out across New Zealand to build collaborative partnerships and generate financial support for its multi-purpose community centre project in Wellington.