A recent survey conducted by The Western Union Company reaffirms that Filipino professionals residing in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations feel secure, happy and fulfilled in their host countries, for a wide variety of reasons.
Of the 102 Non-Resident Filipino (NRF) respondents who participated in the regional ‘My Yellow Brick Road’ survey, 64.7 per cent ranked safety as the principal reason for their sense of belonging and integration.
This was followed by the comfort offered by friendships developed in their host countries (62.7 per cent), and 48 per cent who said they felt right at home, because they were able to enjoy comfortable lifestyles. More than 40 per cent had found ‘peace of mind’.
With an average age of 33 years, Filipino respondents to the survey said they had collectively achieved several goals, chief among them was personal savings (70.5 per cent), then a better lifestyle (51 per cent), followed by buying a home (44 per cent) and paying for education (44 per cent).
Equal numbers of respondents said working in the GCC has enabled them to start a family and travel to new places. Starting a business and paying debts were listed as other accomplishments as well.
One of the respondents, Armando Santos, who works in Al Ain said, “I love the culture of the UAE and now I have also learnt to speak Arabic, so communication becomes much easier. Having been in the UAE for seven years, I truly feel at home here because I have a better lifestyle, and I have made good friends. Working in the UAE has helped me save money, buy a home, and start a business, and I plan on staying here for a long time.”
On the professional front, a majority of NRFs in the GCC (76.4 per cent) view their jobs as being ‘very important,’ while 62.7 per cent declared that they ‘enjoy it’. Many respondents said their jobs complement the host country’s progress and development by the roles they play in creating integrated community lifestyles, building infrastructure, educating future generations, ensuring quality healthcare and enabling the country realise its economic potential.
See: Filipino employees less satisfied with their jobs: Survey reveals
Melanie Collado, who has been working and living in Qatar for 3 years, says, “My work in the banking sector is something I truly enjoy as I have been able to help a lot of people financially to achieve their dreams and goals in life while contributing to the economy. It has helped me to interact with people from different nationalities, which has made it more exciting and fun. My stay in Qatar has been really beneficial as it has helped me save money, have a better lifestyle and travel to new places.”
Fatima Shamsuddin says that she followed her personal yellow brick road from the Philippines to Kuwait, and for the last year, has been contributing to the country’s welfare and well-being. “As a nurse, by practicing safely and competently with the right skills, knowledge and attitude, I raised the levels of wellness and helped lower the rates of morbidity and mortality. Personally, I am able to show compassion to the people of Kuwait by being an advocate and pillar of good health and offering my services for their healing.”
According to Patricia Riingen, Western Union’s Senior Vice President for Southeast Asia and Oceania, the survey showcased personal journeys of NRFs as they shared stories of their work and life abroad – and their stories serve as inspiration for others. “The results of the ‘My Yellow Brick Road campaign’ embody the experiences and aspirations of migrant Filipino professionals who go to the Gulf region in search of better prospects and better lifestyles. Over time, these host countries have not only helped them achieve many of their goals, but has also proven to be a true home to them. Their stories are truly inspirational.”
Riingen also emphasised the contributions made by Filipinos to their host countries. “Besides the overall happiness factor, they have a deep sense of belonging, and take enormous pride in being there. Most respondents truly believe they are contributing to the growth of these countries – however small their efforts.”
“As a global payment services provider, Western Union continues to nurture meaningful relationships with migrant professionals, and ‘My Yellow Brick Road’ campaign adds another dimension to the company’s numerous efforts,” Riingen said.
Encompassing the GCC states of Bahrain, Oman Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the survey was conducted in English through online channels over a six-month period.
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