Gov?t report: Most S&T OFWs go to MiddleEast

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A new comprehensive study released by the government on Wednesday showed that the Middle East has been the consistent importer of science and technology overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) over the years.

SEI Director Filma G. Brawner

The finding was contained in the report, entitled ?International Migration of Science and Technology Manpower-OFWs?, which was undertaken by the Science Education Institute (SEI) of the Department of Science and Technology.

SEI Director Filma G. Brawner revealed that on the average 9,066 S&T OFWs are employed in Saudi Arabia.

?In recent years (2006-2009), the number of Filipino S&T workers who migrated temporarily to Saudi Arabia is continuously increasing from around 9 thousand to more than 16 thousand, the highest volume in 12 years,? she said.

Brawner said majority of S&T OFWs who go to Saudi Arabia are nursing and midwifery professionals, followed by engineering and related professionals, health professionals, and the rest are computing, life science, mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, chemists and related professionals.

Coming second as top destination for S&T OFWs is the United Arab Emirates, another country in the Middle East. Most of the S&T OFWs that go to UAE are engineers at 45 percent with nurses placing second at 42 percent. Health and computing professionals comprise the remaining S&T OFW populace in UAE.

?Pronounced increase is seen in 2008 with almost two thousand Filipino engineers leaving the country to work in UAE,? Brawner added.

The third top country destination for S&T OFWs is the United States of America who lure a big number of nurses from the Philippines. The study showed that computing professionals was the initial occupation that is lured to go to the US, up until 2001 when nurses and midwives came rushing to the US.

Fourth top country destination for S&T OFWs is Singapore where influx of nurses, midwives, engineers and related professionals peaked in 2009. The research showed that there was a decrease in the yearly flow of S&T professionals going to Singapore from 2001 to 2005 but surged up again in 2006 until it peaked in 2009.

The United Kingdom is the fifth top country destination for S&T OFWs with nurses, midwives and other health professionals flocking into the European country. The flow of S&T OFWs to the UK peaked in 2001 and decreased until 2007.

Other top country destinations for S&T OFWs include Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Ireland, and Bahrain.

Brawner said the outflow of S&T OFWs deals effect on the research and development as the country grapples to reach the needed critical mass of scientists and engineers as prescribed by the United Nations.

?The numbers we presented today contains a bittersweet truth about the S&T OFW landscape. Our science professionals are highly marketable and are sought after by developed countries. However, we cannot give them enough reason to stay in the country and help us shore up the research and development agenda of the Philippines,? she said.

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