“Why then should they seek work overseas? The quick answer is that there is a surge in unemployment as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the months of lockdown – and leaving the country may be the only hope they have for landing a job.”
The OFW will now have to abide by the guidelines for travel from their town to Manila, at the airport and upon arrival. Once they arrive in their country of work, there will be more procedures and guidelines, not to mention the adjustment to their employer, culture, climate, food and everything else that are not the same back home.
For those returning from overseas work, the scenario is no different. Recall that the first batch of OFWs repatriated from different countries numbered 13,000 in April. It increased to more than 20,000 in May. When they arrive in the Philippines, OFW returnees are required to do the 14-day quarantine.
Although headed to opposite direction: one leaving, the other coming back, OFW deployees and returnees brace themselves for life in the ‘new normal’. The deployee may not be aware of the changes that have taken place in their new country of work, while the returnee who has clear memories of how it was before, will be both sentimental and overwhelmed.
So what are the things common to OFW deployees and returnees in their journey amidst the pandemic? Both face restrictions and have to cope well. They will be conscious of health like they never were before, more aware that staying healthy is the key to a happy life. Both will be alert and mindful of opportunities with a strong desire to survive and move on… Clearly, both will have to live with the conditions of the ‘new normal’ which is yet to take shape and soon to evolve.
In her paper “The Journey Common to OFW Deployees and Returnees,” CRC consultant for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work Dr. Veronica Esposo Ramirez pointed out that with the onslaught of the pandemic came about various challenges, especially for Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs. Despite the many restrictions and new guidelines that both OFW deployees and returnees must abide by, the demand and opportunity for OFWs will continue to grow due to a surge in unemployment in other countries. Hence, OFWs must be prepared to cope with the new normal as they continue to embark on their personal journeys.

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