Are you planning to work in one of the top OFW destinations? It is wise for all newly-hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to do some research on the country they are headed to, so that it would be easier and faster for them to adjust to the new, unfamiliar environment.
Check out this short guide to the top five most popular destinations of Overseas Filipino Workers: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Hong Kong and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

These three are Muslim countries in the Middle East Region that strictly follow Islam rules and rites. All foreigners are expected to respect and follow their customs and traditions. Remember to adhere to the following:
Avoid bringing the following in Saudi Arabia: narcotics, pork products and pornographic items like magazines and videos.
Always carry your iqama or residence permit especially when going out.
The labor law of Saudi strictly prohibits transferring to another employer while the worker is still under an existing employment contract.
It is not recommended to join in any political or religious demonstrations.
Possession, smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs even in residual amounts are prohibited. Severe punishments await those who will be caught.
It is not advisable to bring religious items such as a bible, rosary, and holy images.
Taking pictures of any government facility, mosque, airport or residential house without permission might get you in trouble.
Respect the time of Ramadan or holy fasting by avoiding to eat or drink in public places.
Gambling and alcoholic drinks are also prohibited. Likewise, do not drink and drive or appear drunk in public.
Smiling at Arab men is not recommended as it might be mistaken for a romantic interest. Staring at Arab women is also considered rude.
Avoid pointing your fingers to a person you are talking to and always address them with their proper names.
Couples should refrain from engaging in public display of affection. Men and women that are living together out of wedlock is also strictly forbidden.
Muslims follow a prayer time or schedule several times a day. Respect their sacred routine.
UAE, however, is less strict than Saudi and Qatar when it comes to appropriate clothing. However, women should still avoid wearing revealing clothes such as skimpy dresses, short skirts, swimsuits and sleeveless blouses.


Singapore is considered a "City of Fines" because of its numerous rules. Strive to follow all the rules to avoid fines and penalties. Follow these common policies while in the country:
Smoking in public places such as taxis, movie houses, government offices and air-conditioned establishments is not allowed.
Do not throw cigarette butts on the streets. Fine: SGD 50.
All kinds of littering will be reprimanded. First offender: SGD 1,000; Repeat offenders: up to SGD 2,000.
Selling and possession of chewing gum is not allowed.
Avoiding spiting in public and always flush the toilet after using it.
Bringing fresh meat into the country is prohibited unless you have obtained an official permit to do so. Do not bring any animals, birds, reptiles and insects into or out of the country.
Observe punctuality.
Observe and respect the customs and traditions of the Chinese.
Always greet someone you meet.
Stick to conservative dresses. Do not wear revealing clothes.
Always be polite and punctual.
Always carry your passport with you. Do not pawn or use it as collateral for loans.
Strive to be punctual in all your appointments.
Do not give your passport to your employer as it is your personal property.
The following items are not allowed in Hong Kong:
Drugs like opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, cannabis, methadone, psychotropic drugs like stimulants, Amphetamine, Ecstasy, Benzodiazepine, Antibiotics like penicillin, tetra-cycline, corticosteroid, etc.
Chemicals like Acetic Anhydride, ephedrine.
Arms and weapons, grenades, firecrackers, and other explosive items.
Animals and plants
Endangered species
Meat such as pork and chicken
Cigarette products
Know the culture and basic laws of the country you wish to go to. For a more detailed country guide, take the Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) Online here. You can also visit to view a list of the latest job opportunities in different countries here.