Globalization means different things to people in different countries. Because finance and trade get a lot of attention, migration sometimes gets forgotten--but not in the Philippines. It represents an interesting case for about ten percent of its population is working abroad. The Philippine political economy is rather unique in that the government is reliant on overseas workers' remittances to finance its balance of payments. Remittances from some 8 million Filipinos working abroad are equivalent to ten percent of Philippine GDP.
Filipino workers who are in much demand overseas are nurses, especially in the US. Far larger wages can be found abroad because a developed-world scarcity of nurses has made this occupation attractive to enter. Recently, a brouhaha has occurred over alleged cheating among many of the 17,000 Filipino nurses who passed the nursing exam last year. Though only 40% of test takers who took the local exaqmination necessary to obtain Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification passed it, the testing center that administered the exam has admitted to giving out some answers in advance. Consequently, the United States issued a ban on the issuance of requisite VisaScreen certificates, insisting that Filipino nurses retake sections of the 2006 examination where cheating took place. Many of the families of the nurses are distraught over this ruling as the examination fee of $350 is no small amount for them. Stories in the local media claim that poor families have pawned their belongings in order to raise this fee. An appeal was made, but the ruling stands: the test must be taken again.