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Lessons from the Philippines: MPI Releases Report on Unique Temporary Migration Management System
Press Release
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lessons from the Philippines: MPI Releases Report on Unique Temporary Migration Management System

WASHINGTON – The Migration Policy Institute today released a new report on how the Philippines manages its major temporary migration system, one that is unparalleled in scale and scope worldwide.

The new MPI Insight, Managing Temporary Migration: Lessons from the Philippine Model, examines how one traditional migrant-sending country proactively manages a large-scale, systematic and legal movement of temporary migrant workers. The report details the Philippine system’s strengths and challenges, and examines whether it offers lessons for other labor-exporting countries as well as for destination countries. 

Every year, more than a million temporary migrant workers leave the Philippines to work as nurses, domestic workers, factory workers or engineers all over the globe. In 2007 alone, Filipino temporary migrants worked in over 190 countries, each one bearing an employment contract issued and certified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Legal movements of temporary workers on this scale are unmatched elsewhere in the developing world. For many international observers, the Philippines’ system of managing temporary migration has unrivaled sophistication, and is a model for other developing countries.

“For all its successes, however, the Philippine model has its imperfections,” said MPI Associate Policy Analyst Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias, who authored the report. “There are some inherent conflicts when the agency responsible for protecting migrant workers’ welfare also is charged with maximizing work opportunities abroad.”

“Other countries interested in emulating the Philippine example must overcome this challenge of dual mission,” Agunias added. “And they also must find ways to provide sufficient funding and personnel, which the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration presently lacks.”

Despite what she called the POEA’s “mixed record,” Agunias’ report concludes the Philippine model offers many important lessons for other developing countries hoping to expand their temporary migration programs and benefit from greater global labor mobility.

The report is available online here.


The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. Founded in 2001, MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. It aims to meet the rising demand for pragmatic and thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities that large-scale migration, whether voluntary or forced, presents to communities and institutions in an increasingly integrated world.