Filipino Community in Malta
‘’As family is the basic unit of the society, so as an individual is the basic unit of the organization. Each person as much as his/her opinion is important to the shaping of the idea and obtaining a common ground that will serve as sole foundation that the organization was created for. So therefore, each has a contribution to make since without it we can’t exist and stay strong. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the furtherance of the goal that we established through collective effort.’’
Having been a colony for over 300 years, the Philippines, has strong links with the ‘West’. The recruitment of Filipinos to work with the Spanish as seafarers (who sometimes settled in other Spanish colonies such as Mexico) can be described as the first significant Philippine wave of migration. As a result of the Spanish-American war in 1898, the Spanish ceded control of the Philippines and in 1901 the Americans took control. Now being American citizens, Philippine people were initially encouraged to migrate to America.
In the 1950’s the Philippines signed its first bilateral labour agreement with the United Kingdom for 25,000 migrants to work in the British colonies of North Borneo.
As is the trend abroad, with regards to Filipinas, Malta currently attracts mostly carers and domestic helpers. Some of these decide to settle here permanently either through gaining ‘long-term residence permits’ or else through marrying a Maltese man. In addition, a number of seafarers also visit Malta though do not necessarily reside here permanently.
Philippine migration to Malta began in the late 1970s with the final wave of Philippine migration, though it only picked up in the early 1990s.
The Filipinas migrating to Malta arrived from various destinations around the world. Given the close relations between Libya and Malta, it was not very difficult for the thousands of Philippine migrants working in the caring, construction and petrochemical industries in Libya to get a visa to travel to Malta. US imposed embargo on Libya, in order for Filipinas to travel to Libya from the Philippines, the most efficient route was in fact to fly to Malta and then travel to Libya by sea. This exposed the travelling Filipinas to the social, economic and physical landscape of the Maltese Islands. Furthermore, whilst working in Libya, some Filipinas took their holidays in Malta. Earlier in the 20th century. A high percentage of Filipinas in Malta have arrived directly from the Philippines itself. 95% of all deployment by the Philippines to foreign employees was at the instance of over 1300 licensed recruitment agencies (Soriano, 2006). A healthy number of Filipinas who are currently residing in Malta are here as a result of the work of these agencies.
Apart from those Filipinas arriving directly from the Philippines or Libya, there are also a number of Filipinas who have arrived from Canada after meeting Maltese migrants who happened to be settled there. Companionship is a common pull factor for Philippine migrants to come to Malta. One cannot deny the benefits that they gain as a result of having marital relations in Malta.
Apart from meeting Maltese men in Libya and Canada, there have also been instances of Filipinas finding Maltese companions through pen-pal networks. Filipinas from both Hong Kong and the Philippines, who have found Maltese companions through this method. Penpals and e-pals are an effective way to expand one’s transnational network. This is another clear example of Filipina’s tendency to always look beyond their shores, something that goes hand in hand with their ‘culture of migration’.
Now that Malta is part of the European Union (EU), Filipina migrants face new challenges and opportunities. Malta’s increasing demand for nurses, carers and domestic helpers, and the integration of the current Philippine community means that here in Malta, Filipinas abroad find an inviting labor market.
Being a democratic, liberal and a largely Catholic country with a similar climate to the Philippines, Malta started to attract increasing numbers of Filipinas in the caring industry and in the domestic labor sector.
Source: Jeffrey Romano
Chapter 3. CONTEXTUALIZING PHILIPPINE MIGRATION THE CASE OF MALTA:
ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Please click the link below: