finding job in the Philippines

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Finding employment in the Philippines is difficult. It is for Filipinos, but even more for foreigners. Wages are low, compared to US or European standards. And there is the Philippine law about hiring employees.
Companies in the Philippines are allowed to hire foreigners but only if that same job cannot be done by a Filipino. This means that if a company needs someone with special skills, and people with those skills are not available among Filipinos, they are allowed to hire a foreigner.
On the other hand companies prefer to hire Filipinos because they do not have to pay them large salaries.
Employment conditions are not the same as you will have back home. There is no such thing as a labor law which states how many hours a day you have to work or how many days off you have.
Aside from that, if a foreigner likes to have a job, this foreigner first needs a working permit. Most foreigners coming to the Philippines only have a tourist visa. They do not get a working permit unless they get a permanent resident visa. To get a permanent resident visa there are a few possibilities.
1, You need to be married to a Filipino / Filipina, to get a so called 13a visa which includes a working permit.
2, You can “buy” yourself a retirement visa (SRRV) by putting a large sum in a bank or by investing a large sum in the Philippines.
3, A company wants to hire you and has legal reasons for it. They will take care for your working permit. This is called a 9g visa.
Check HERE for different visa possibilities in the Philippines. You may also visit the local Philippine Embassy (or their website)for details.
@3: The way of getting employed in the Philippines is an assignment from a foreign company to go to the Philippines. Large multinationals do that like Shell, Unilever, some hotel companies and others.

To earn money in the Philippines you can also start your own business. If you are a computer programmer, or photographer or have some other skills like business consultant, that you can work from home, it would be possible to do that here in the Philippines. Even if your clients are in the US or Europe, the Philippines has a good internet system (in larger cities only) with broadband connections. Most of those jobs can be done from here. And there is no working permit necessary. Do not hesitate to ask for more information, but remember that I am not able to help you find a job here.

Leave a Reply or Comment

  1. It is clear that the Philippine constitution prioritizes Filipino employee rather than foreigners. It will be difficult for a foreigner to work in the Philippines unless he/she is a business person. You really have to process your work VISA, or get a help from some companies that offer services to process your work visa.

  2. There are many job opportunities for Foreigners who are also planning to work in the Philippines. All they need is to walk through the process of acquiring a secured working visa with the help or consultation of some professionals.

  3. Hello there. I’ve read about your concern. Kindly click my name “9g visa philippines,” and it will automatically redirect you to the right website for your visa assessment. They can provide you with everything that you need. Good luck!

    • I have removed the link because your website doesn’t have enough information about the variety of possible visa’s.
      And I would like to see prices for your services before I admit your site.

  4. Hi Jan,

    Congratulations on your site. Very useful info.

    In particular I am interested in what you mention about people working here, in particular for photographers: “Most of those jobs can be done from here. And there is no working permit necessary”.

    Do I not need a work permit to work as a photographer and regularly sell my photos taken in the Philippines to publications abroad? What if they (foreign publications) hire me for a job in the Philippines? What if it is a Filipino company or person that wants to hire me for a photo job? Do you know where to find more information on this? (on not needing a working permit to work here as a photographer).

    Many thanks in advance,

    (and good luck tonight against Uruguay)

    • Hi Nach,
      Thanks for visiting my website.
      As far as I know, you only need to have a visa to stay in the Philippines. You are allowed to take pictures as much as you want. Some malls and other institutions are not allowing it.
      Photographer is an independent profession. You are NOT working for someone other than yourself. If you are selling the pictures, there’s no problems. Maybe you should use a base outside the Philippines for tax reasons. I do not have enough information about this.
      The issue is that you are not taking a position which could be done by a Philippino (you are an individual artist), so i do not see any problems. Just take care for a proper visa and shoot……

  5. Hi, i just would like to ask… is it possible for a foreigner to get a permanent position in the Philippines.. lets say.. as a professor in a private university.

    • Hi Erik,
      As far as I know that is possible, but depends on your ‘speciality’. I know of a German who is a professor and teaching German language in one of the universities in the Philippines. The university probably has to take care for your necessary visa and other papers needed.

  6. Hi,

    I am hired by a Denmark company but they have their office in Manila. I work for them as freelance home-based telemarketer. Do I need to get a working visa for this?

    Please advise.

    Thanks JC

    • You are right, there are no ‘labot laws’ on paper. But there are common practices for lots of jobs: one day off a week, and 12 hours working day. But if the employer wants someone to work 7 days a week no one protests.
      It’s time that working people get organized in labour unions so they can help organising/demanding a labour law.

  7. A few things:
    1. You don’t need to be a permanent resident to get a work permit.
    2. Permanent residents don’t need work permits.
    3. SRRV is not a permanent resident visa.
    4. There most certainly are labour laws here.
    5. Wages here are about the same, in some cases higher than Europe or the USA.
    If you need any other advice or have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

    • Robert,
      Thanks for your comment. But I like to correct you:

      ad 1. You don’t need to be a permanent resident to get a work permit.
      Jan-Expat ANSWER: Not True, when a foreigner is in the Philippines as a tourist or with balikbayan status, he or she CANNOT have a job in the Philippines. Foreigners need to have a permanent resident visa or get an 9g visa together with a working permit (a Philippines Alien Employment Permit (ACR) is required ).
      ad 2. Permanent residents don’t need work permits.
      Jan-Expat ANSWER: If they are foreigners they are able to work in the Philippines, but they always need a working permit. This is to protect Filipino laborers. They will only get such permit if the specific job cannot be done by a Filipino citizen.
      ad 3. SRRV is not a permanent resident visa.
      Jan-Expat ANSWER: Wrong, SRRV is a government program to grant foreigners a way to live in the Philippines for an unlimited period (this is a permanent visa). One of the benefits is that they are allowed to have a job in the Philippines, but they always need a working permit.
      ad 4. There most certainly are labor laws here.
      Jan-Expat ANSWER: Yes there are, but only very few are implemented and only by a few companies.
      A few examples: the government declares a day as a special non-working holiday. Only banks, national and local government offices and schools are closed such day. All other companies are doing business such day and employees are seldom or never compensated.
      ad 5. Wages here are about the same, in some cases higher than Europe or the USA.
      Jan-Expat ANSWER: If a foreigner can find a job (which cannot be done by a Filipino) the salary might be at American or European level, but most of the time it is lower. But it is higher than Filipino salaries are.

      Some extra information and quotes from various official websites:

      • An Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment that allows a foreign national to work in the Philippines. This is normally applied in tandem with a 9(g) pre-arranged employment visa and applies to foreign nationals seeking employment in the Philippines, foreign professionals allowed to practice their profession in the Philippines, and Holders of SIRV, SRRV, Treaty trader visa 9(d), Special Non-immigrant Visa for executive, advisory, supervisory, or technical positions. An employee must be petitioned by his/her company and it must generally be shown that no person found in the Philippines is willing or competent to perform he service for which the foreign national is hired.
        All foreign nationals seeking admission to the Philippines for the purpose of employment, all non-resident foreign nationals already working in the Philippines, and all non-resident foreign nationals admitted to the Philippines on on-working visas, who wish to work in the Philippines, regardless of the source of compensation and duration of employment are required by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to secure an Alien Employment Permit (AEP).
      • Resident Aliens and Immigrants Who Intend to Work in the Philippines
        • Resident Alien – refers to any foreign national who is allowed by law to reside indefinitely in the Philippines
        • All foreign nationals admitted to the Philippines as immigrants, who wish to seek employment, and all resident aliens already working in the Philippines, irrespective of the source of compensation and nature and duration of employment are required to secure an Alien Employment Registration Certificate (AERC) from the DOLE’s Regional Office.
      • FINE
        Aliens who are found working without an employment permit as required by law, are penalized with a fine ranging from one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) to ten thousand pesos (P10,000), or imprisonment ranging from three months to three years, or both. In addition to such penalties, any alien found guilty shall be summarily deported upon completion of service of sentence.
      • The resident alien or the employer shall apply at the nearest Regional Office of the DOLE where the employer-establishment is located. Requirements for application of an AERC can be found at the Bureau of Local Employment website:
      • Validity of AERC
        An AERC issued shall be valid only for the position and employer which it was issued, unless otherwise cancelled or revoked for cause.

      If I am wrong, please answer with detailed information. It is in the interest of many foreigners that they get the right information. I am trying to give this information to my best knowledge.

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    • Hi Johnny, thanks for the comment.
      I knew of this website, but I like to do the writing myself (most of the time)

  9. Hi Jan. From all the info you have shared, I wonder how you were able to get all these facts and manage to live here. My girlfriend is dutch and went here to see if she can work. I thought why not try her luck if it means we can be together. We thought her language would be an advantage. After 6 months, nothing is still panning out. Jobs for foreign nationals are proven very scarce.