Migration, remittances and development: the Filipino New Zealand experience
This study examined how remittances from Filipinos living in New Zealand and their Associations and Organizations contributed to community development in the Philippines. It specifically examined the impacts of both individual and collective remittances to the household and community level and on the broader society as a whole. This study also identified the opportunities brought about by Filipino remittances from New Zealand to communities of origin in the Philippines and possible avenues for the enhancement of the impact of these remittances at the local community level and on society. Case study as a research methodology was used in the study in order to have an in depth, more exhaustive and more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. It helped captured the emerging themes of remittance practices and development work of Filipinos and their Associations and Organizations in New Zealand to communities of origin in the Philippines. It also helped understand the phenomenon in the real life context in which a one shot survey or observation failed to capture. The study found that while it was common for overseas Filipinos to send individual remittances to household members in the Philippines for household use and human investments for family members, this was not always the case for Filipinos in New Zealand. Most Filipino migrants in New Zealand had their immediate family living with them in the host country and they sent individual remittances to the Philippines either as gifts for parents to maintain their livelihood, for investment, and support for the education of nephews and nieces. With collective remittances, individual Filipinos and their Associations and Organizations in New Zealand were actively contributing in the pooling of resources for development works in communities of origins in the Philippines. At the same time, they engaged with their recipient communities in the Philippines in order to establish and maintain their transnational ties for effective implementation of development projects in the home country. The study also found that individual remittances coming from New Zealand for family members in the Philippines had a greater impact on the family as a whole. Remittances helped establish income generating activities in the family that have multiplier effects to the family such as a steady source of income, strong purchasing power and extra money for the health and education of children. Individual remittances coming from New Zealand to support the family activities in the community also helped the name of the family in the Philippines in a good stead. On a community level, collective remittances helped maintain culture and tradition as well as raised funds for the implementation of scholarship programs, medical missions, shelter for orphaned children, and basic infrastructures in the community such as school buildings, community roads and multipurpose halls. Collective remittances also built communities and gave recipients hope for a brighter future through equitable housing scheme, community empowerment, health, and education programs. Filipino Associations and Organizations in New Zealand were good vehicles in finding opportunities in their communities of origin. They must engaged with Filipino Associations and Organizations and local business people in their local communities and built partnership with them on community based development projects for the benefit of the wider community.