The number of Filipinos who are practically fleeing the country has been steadily rising since 2010. Back then, the average daily deployment of OFWs was 4,018; in 2015, it was at 6,092. And this doesn’t even account for those who are forced to operate under the table out of sheer desperation. Why? Several factors come into play, chief among them the significantly higher earning potential. In an effort to help aspiring expats or OFWs—and hopefully alleviate some of your anxiety—we came up with a list of countries for people who just need to get the fuck out of here. (And no, the U.S. isn’t on this list ‘cause Trump; Canada didn’t make the cut, either, cause of its uncomfortable proximity to Trump—kidding.)
Why you should consider it: In a study by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and BAV Consulting, researchers did a survey that looked at 65 factors in nine categories: heritage and values, adventure, business readiness, cultural influence, diversity, entrepreneurship, power, quality of life, and global citizenship. And Germany’s developed infrastructure and well-established policies as well as their tech expertise helped them nab a perfect score for entrepreneurship! They also ranked high in terms of power, citizenship, and overall quality of life. We know, we know—it’s really far away from home, but at least you know there are enough jobs for everyone.
Occupations in demand right now: Software developers, mechanical engineers, doctors, therapists, and qualified technical workers.
Additional perks: Because Germany is sort of at the center of Europe, it’s prime territory for a quick trip to Italy or Switzerland. Plus, you know, beers and babes. What more do you need?
Why you should consider it: In the same study, the Land Down Under “ranked in the top ten in five of the nine categories,” including cultural influence and business readiness. It has really low unemployment rate (5.6%), and has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. Australia’s population is extremely diverse: “43% of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.” Australia also managed to keep up with modernity without sacrificing the beauty of nature (read: enviously low pollution levels).
Occupations in demand right now: Accountants, building technicians, childcare services, construction workers, engineers, and IT specialists.
Additional perks: Second best beaches (surpassed only by ours—yes, we’re biased), unrivaled coffee, and a really hot accent.
3) New Zealand
Why you should consider it: Australia’s more laidback neighbor has several options when it comes to work permits and easily obtainable visas. For example, NZ’s Working Holiday Pass allows you to stay and casually work there for 12 months, without a company’s sponsorship. New Zealand’s also known for being one of the few countries who are very welcoming of contract workers.
Occupations in demand right now: Nurses, welders, metal workers, engineers, motor mechanics, and social workers.
Additional perk: It’s where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed.
Why you should consider it: Japanese hospitality mirrors our own; it’s all about selflessness and taking care of the needs of others. This might make the move much easier for those who are worried about being homesick. Also, Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and is an economic superpower.
Occupations in demand right now: Doctors, nurses, construction workers, bankers, English teachers, bar employees, and food servers.
Additional perk: It’s the birthplace of manga, anime, and hentai (if you’re into that). But also, it has a museum dedicated to ramen. Can we get an amen?
Why you should consider it: Sweden is the promise land! Not only are they the number one defender of human rights, sustainability, and healthcare, they are also all about gender equality. Sweden has a 16-month parental leave that can be taken by either parent! Yes, dads (and soon-to-be fathers)—rejoice.
Occupations in demand right now: Engineers, construction workers, IT specialists, caretakers, surgical nurses, special needs teachers, chefs, truck drivers, and painters.
Additional perk: Sweden needs more people who speak English well, so if you’re comfortable with the language, that can be a competitive edge. And if you’re into sports, Swedish hockey players are arguably the best in the league, so you’ll always have someone to root for in bars.
6) South Korea
Why you should consider it: South Korea, specifically Seoul, is the place to be. It’s crazy modern (it has really fast WiFi, you guys), cost of living isn’t as expensive as you’d expect, and their public transportation system is light years ahead of ours. Professionally, the hours are reasonable, and the wages are high. And you won’t lose so much time lost in traffic because, again, their roads don’t suck as much as ours do.
Occupations in demand right now: English teachers, IT specialists (programmers, web designers), insurance brokers, fund managers
Additional perks: All the female K-pop stars you could ever want, need, and hope for. Plus, there’s soju and Korean BBQ everywhere.
Why you should consider it: Yes, Singapore has been deemed the most expensive country to live in three years in a row, but in Singapore’s defense, it’s still as safe, as clean, and as beautiful as ever. Like South Korea, their MRTs and buses are flawless and prompt; and like Australia, it’s wonderfully diverse.
Occupations in demand right now: Teachers, laborers, construction workers, sales representatives, administrative assistants, and other office support workers
Additional perks: It’s only a three-hour flight from the Philippines, so if you can swing it, you can easily fly home every other week. And even if it’s the priciest country right now, you can get a bowl of noodles for $1.50 (P75).
Why you should consider it: People don’t immediately think of Ireland when they’re thinking about making the big move out of the Philippines, but did you know that all the big tech companies have their European headquarters there? You know what that means: jobs in Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Occupations in demand right now: IT professionals, engineers, scientists, lab technicians, and pretty much anyone who’s multilingual
Additional perks: One word: PUBS. Also, it’s the safest spot from natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. We’re pretty sure you won’t miss those anyway.
Why you should consider it: Taiwan is sort of like a bigger, more exciting Singapore—cheap food, lots of foreigners, safety, and efficient public transportation. The major difference is that Taiwan’s cost of living is much more affordable. And, of course, they have more seasons so you won’t always be sweating through your clothes.
Occupations in demand right now: English teachers, tour guides and tour operators, sales representatives, bankers, insurance advisers, oil engineers, customer service representatives
Additional perk: The nightlife! Apparently, Taipei doesn’t sleep.
Why you should consider it: You’ll feel close to home even if geographically, you’re miles away. We make up 21% of the population in Dubai—that’s 450,000 Filipinos. It’s also an expat hub, so English is widely spoken. Plus, Dubai has a pretty stable economy; finding a job isn’t that hard to do. Here’s a tip though: it’s easier to land a job when you’re already there.
Occupations in demand right now: airline employees, food servers, pharmaceutical representatives, maritime workers, and food manufacturers
Additional perk: You don’t pay tax on your wages, so everything you make is yours to enjoy. If only we had that here…