MANILA, Philippines - The number of undocumented Filipino migrants around the world increased last year, with majority of them located in the United States and Malaysia, according to data released by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
According to the 2011 Stock Estimate of Filipinos Overseas, the CFO said irregular migrants constitute the smallest category of migrants at 10% or 1.07 million.
But data compared with the previous year indicated a 52% increase in the number of Filipino irregular migrants.
The CFO attributed the large increase of irregular migrants in 2011 to Malaysia which registered the biggest rate of increase at 124%. From the 200,000 in 2010, Malaysia now has 447,590 irregular Filipino migrants.
The United States followed second with a 67% increase in irregular workers from 156,000 in 2010 to 260,000 in 2011.
Singapore, on the other hand, had 49,400 irregular Filipino migrants in 2011.
The CFO describes irregular migrants as those who are not properly documented, without valid residence or work permits or who are overstaying in a foreign country.
In the same report, the CFO announced that 10.46 million Filipinos are now overseas in about 217 countries and territories.
Of the number, permanent migrants comprise the largest category of Filipinos overseas at 47% or 4.86 million; followed closely by temporary migrants (43% or 4.51 million) and irregular migrants (10% or 1.07 million).
The United States is the top destination country of Filipinos at 33% followed by Saudi Arabia (15 percent), Canada (8%), UAE (7%), Malaysia (5%), Australia (4%), Japan (2%), United Kingdom (2%), Italy (2%), and Singapore (2%).
The CFO said that except for Italy and Singapore, all the countries in the list were also last year’s top destination countries.
The breakdown of 2011 Stock Estimate of Filipinos Overseas by continent/region:
Americas, Trust Territories: 4,326,059 or 41%
Asia, West: 2,987,823 or 29%
Asia, East and South: 1,449, 373 or 14%
Europe: 808, 779 or 8%
Oceania: 451,042 or 4%
Africa: 63,508 or 1%.
The remaining 3% are sea-based workers who do not reside in one country.
Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos in Japan decreased by 69,476 or 24% mainly because of the natural calamities (earthquake and tsunami) which affected the country in March 2011.
There was also a 90% decrease in the number of Filipinos in Libya, from 27,349 to 2,724 and a 79% decrease of temporary migrants in Syria from 13,869 to 2,890 mainly because of the Arab Spring.