Jobs In The Philippines for Foreigners

So you want to get a job in the Philippines?  Most of the time when I get that question the people asking it are in need of a lot of information. Personally, I don’t consider getting a job in the Philippines as a realistic option. Can you get a job in the Philippines? In theory yes you can. A more feasible option is to start a business in the Philippines. Most of the time when someone ask this question, they really need my eBook as it shows a lack of understanding about the Philippines.  It is okay, I had a total lack of information about the Philippines at one point.

A Job In The Philippines Involves Legalities

Job In The PhilippinesTo get a job in the Philippines, you’ll need the proper visa.  The are several visas that I know about that allow you to do that are the 9G for pre-arraigned employment and missionaries.  The key here is that it is pre-arraigned before you get here. You probably do not wish to show up in the Philippines and start looking for work. The pay is very low, professionals often earn around $200 a month. This number goes up in Manila but so does the cost of living.  The minimum wage in the Philippines is determined by the day, not the hour and from memory ranges from around $5 to $11 a day depending on the region you are working.  Many Filipino though are working in less formal situations and earn between $1 and $2 a day. Unless you want to work for this type of money, you need to find a job before you get here.

I’ve run into two expats that work here.  One was basically working for room and board and very little cash. I believe he was working illegally but the employer had gone through a lawyer to supposedly make it legal. I wasn’t buying that though. I’ve lost contact with him, probably he has been deported. I don’t know.  He was working in the English as a second language field. Oddly he could barely read and write himself. The second man managed a mine. Now he was very well paid and he was looking for ways to beef up his security. I’d say jobs like this are extremely rare.

Another visa that would allow you to work is the 13a.  Generally the cost for that is marriage. I believe that is the only way to get that visa.  This is one of the immigrant visas for the Philippines. You can also own a business with this type of visa.

Another visa would be the non-quota immigrant visa for the Philippines. These are not easy to get. They are limited to a few year. I think the number is 50 for the entire country.  These are for rocket scientist or nuclear engineers.   They are intended for those that have highly technical jobs or those that will a significant impact in favor of the Philippines.

The special resident retirement visa may allow people to work though that seems a bit strange. I could be mistaken, you should look into it further. It will allow you to operate a business in the Philippines. The SVEG is another visa that allows foreigners to operate a business if they hire 10 Filipinos to work in the business.

There are a lot of complex laws regarding which kinds of jobs that foreignness can get in the Philippines. Unemployment is high in the Philippines and jobs like truck drivers are not only going to pay very little, they will also be off limits as there are plenty of Filipinos that could fill that position instead of you. I once saw a long time expat write that if a job can be filled by a Filipino then it cannot go to a foreigner. I vaguely remember seeing that someplace else as well.

To get work here, it needs to be managerial or extremely highly skilled. Something that requires knowledge of another country would also be a job for foriengers.

Labor laws here are considerably different than they are in the USA. In the papers here you’ll see advertisements for jobs that require the individual to be male or female and usually under the age of 25. If an employer in the USA did that, they might as well walk into court and file a lawsuit against themselves. 🙂

Some, if not all of these visas also require a permission to work permit. You should check with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) regarding that. BI has pointed out that most arrest they make are for people working without a permit and for overstaying their visa. I know at least one person that has been locked up for working in the Philippines without a work permit.  It does happen, don’t count on buying your way out of it.  Recently in Davao, around 20 foreigners were arrested and jailed for falsifying their visas.  Later, another person tried to bribe an immigration officer to arraign for their release and now that individual sits in jail too. Yes, there is corruption here but there are also a lot of foreigners in jail here, some with significant amounts of money. Do not count on buying your way through the system.

Better Then Getting A Job In The Philippines

If you need to earn a living in the Philippines you’re far better off with a business. However, if you’re target customers are Filipinos then you will likely face long hours and low profits. There are Filipino style convienance stores about every 50 yards in the Philippines. They are called sari sari stores and many Filipinos with a home on a busy street will sell items through a window in their home. I don’t think there is a lot of profit in this type of business and the competition is strong. Open something like this without the proper paperwork and rest assured your competition will report you to BI.

The best income for expats is a business that will follow you any place you go. One very good way to do that is through Internet marketing. That seems to scare some people.  Others are unwilling to put forth the effort and time needed to learn this trade. The key here is that marketing on the Internet requires skills. Skills that you can learn. It is not a quick fix though and it will take some time to generate enough money to live on. There are low cost courses on the net where one can learn the skills that are required to make money on the net. I’m a former member of one such course that you can sign up for here. At the time of writing this, the cost is $37 a month with a $7 trail so you can look around.

I really don’t see finding a job in the Philippines to be an option for most people. If you are having trouble finding work in the USA or other Western nation, you’ve seen nothing yet. Unemployment in the Philippines is over 10% officially. I don’t think the number is any where near that low. Many Filipinos have given up on finding work and I don’t blame them. Instead they scramble each day looking for a way to make a few hundred peso. Selling towels, sun glasses, cold water or snacks in the road or at a bus stop.  There are many Filipinos ready to fill any new job in the Philippines and more than happy to do it at a wage far less than what you will likely to be willing to accept. If you’re thinking of getting a job in the Philippines, you probably need to take a few steps back and spend sometime learning about living in the Philippines.

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Filed under: Living In The Philippines

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