Transnationality and the Filipina Domestic Worker: Some Evidences from Brazil

Monday, 16 July 2018: 12:00
Oral Presentation
Leonardo MELLO E SILVA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Priscilla LEONG, Centro de Estudos Rurais e Urbanos, Brazil
It has become increasingly noticeable that upper-class Brazilian families are seeking foreign domestic labour and one of these is the Filipina. Despite a recent formalization of the employment status of domestic workers in the country and the subsequent rise in wages, there are reasons to suppose that mere economics are insufficient to explain their preference. Since the early 20th century, the Philippines have been a major global source of migrant labour, both skilled and less skilled (Country Migration Report – The Philippines 2013). Most recently (between 2004 and 2007), Filipinos have been the fastest growing group of immigrants among foreigners in Brazil issued with residence and work permits (Focus Migration, 2008). This presentation explores the social fabric of Filipina society in Brazil, who is part of a new international migratory wave. The sociological scope includes the inescapable element of the question of family, language, culture, and even religion. Global domestic labour is growing in Brazil, although the country has traditionally had provisions of domestic female labour. Focusing on the city of Sao Paulo, it is possible to note through preliminary observation, the occurrence of privileged spaces of the meeting points of these workers. Using a qualitative method, information was collected primarily from Filipina domestic workers about their social, personal and occupational lives. Of fundamental importance was also the dense observation of participants in as many aspects of their lives as possible – mostly in the community. As is already identifiable in São Paulo, the Filipinos may be distinguished as one of those communities that behave in a more or less segregated way. The data shows how the Filipino community, while maintaining its distinct identity, has integrated in various ways with local Brazilian society. There are arguments to believe that transnationality is associated with various inequalities, therefore leading to vulnerability.