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Small Tabinay, Puerto Galera

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Working in the Philippines

Living and working in the Philippines can be an interesting adventure to navigate.

There are several things to consider when you’re looking to make money in the Philippines to include getting a job, starting a local business, or even working online while living in the Philippines.

But first, let’s cover a few other criteria you will want to consider when looking at working in the Philippines. That will be OFWs, Where to Live, and Immigration.

Cost Of Living In The Philippines

Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW)

Over 10 MILLION Filipinos are working outside the Philippines, that’s the first fact you need to understand. It is about 10% of the population. Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers often leave Spouses & Children behind for the opportunity to get work, work that pays well especially in order to support their families.

Most of them would certainly rather stay and with their loved ones if they could find work in their native land. They are predominantly skilled, intelligent people. In fact, Doctors actually retrain as nurses to work abroad. Most OFW’s send over 2 BILLION US$ home EVERY MONTH!

One question is If they can’t find work here, what makes you think you can?

The most important question is…

Where to Live?

When I came to the Philippines and gave up everything from my past life, I promised my silly self “Only FUN Stuff!”. If it is just about Making Money I could have stayed home and done that.

I also absolutely refused to live in the city while surrounded by a land full of Beaches, so I spent a full year on the beaches looking at possibilities than another few years trying all of these businesses until, finally, a few worked. All list of ideas that did not work is longer than the list of ones that did.

Unfortunately, when I set up some businesses that were making money the Filipinos simply set up beside me, copied exactly what I was doing, and did it cheaper. Lesson learned.

Immigration, Visa and the Department of Labor

Ouch! This one’s going to leave a mark! Be careful when you do find work without having the proper documentation. Ok, so you still want to try and get a J.O.B, hey that’s cool. I do know of many success stories as well however, a word of warning, get legit permits before you start.

Never try to shortcut the process by using a Fixer. You will only have one chance to get it done so do it right. Starting around 2016 the authorities started cracking down on workers without the correct documentation. This means YOU.

Everyone from Dive Instructors on the beach to Call Center agents in the city. Raids, jail, deportation, fines, and Black Lists are the results.

The Immigration laws here are complex, to say the least, constantly changing and a tedious process at the best of times. I am constantly asked which Visa is best, what are the requirements, what is the cost, where do I apply, what papers do I need when I find work in the Philippines? That list is endless.

My short answer for that is, I DO NOT KNOW! Your friends don’t know. Also, the guy you met at the bar won’t know. Even the many “professional” visa companies will not know. They will take your money & make promises but, when the visa is denied, the fault will somehow be yours.

The truth of the matter is that YOU will have to produce the necessary documents, submit the applications, attend the interviews, take the medicals, etc. All the Visa companies will do is charge you triple the price to lead you by the hand thru the process. So, go to the Dept of Immigration and ASK THEM! They speak English & are very helpful.

Living in the Philippines

Serious about living and earning a living working in the Philippines? Then you will need to find work for yourself.

Start learning how things work, and don’t work, right from the beginning. When you begin your relationship with the Philippines by relying on others then you are already headed for failure and frustration.

Searching the Internet is a good place to gather data but the information you learn while researching online can be false. Many of these articles are years old and the rules, regulations & requirements constantly change. Still, this is a good place to get the general law of the land and possible options but, in the end, only Philippine Immigration can give you the correct answers.

Get on the Philippines Immigration website or email them, then go to the office and ask questions! All Philippine laws, including Immigration, are written in English so no excuses.

They also speak great English which also ties into my explanation about why it is tough to find work teaching English here.

Working in the Philippines

When you are considering jobs in the Philippines, there are several different kinds of jobs you could look for. It really depends on your experience and how much money you will need to cover your expenses.

Some of the opportunities I’ll cover below (but are not the only options) are:
  • Education
  • Teaching English
  • Working for foreign national companies
  • Call Centers or Business Process Outsourcing Centers (BPOs)
  • WHO and UNICEF
  • Modeling
  • Volunteering

Below are some resources for each one.

Education

People come from all over the world to be educated in the Philippines because of the cheap living and English instruction. The Philippines is a huge market for education, both academic and practical courses, and many schools are required to have senior staff with a certain number of years of education, particular trade qualifications, and so on.

If you are qualified, look here.

Useful websites:

Teaching English in the Philippines - Speaking English is NOT enough

Most Filipinos are highly proficient in English since the US has basically been here since they took the Philippines from Spain in 1898.

Depending on how you look at the statistics, by the percentage of the population that speaks English or the sheer number of English speakers in the country, the Philippines is the 2nd or 3rd biggest English speaking country in the WORLD!

Companies in places like Thailand will hire foreigners just to talk to other foreigners because Thai natives rarely speak good English. Korea, Japan, and China will hire you, and pay you well to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and there are some spaces in the Philippines like this available but few and far between.

However, if speaking English is your only asset, then this is something to consider when thinking about working in the Philippines in the many English Schools set up in the country. Most of the Students are Korean & Chinese who are drawn to the country because of its low living cost and the great supply of instructors.

Try these sites:

Foreign National Companies

Many larger firms, especially banks, have established BPOs, Business Process Outsourcing, centers in the Philippines and have moved many of their business services here. Operations like Customer Service and computing functions are handled here and, in most cases, the upper managements are foreigners.

As a general rule, the company doing the hiring must show that the services of the alien, YOU, are indispensable to the management, operation, administration, or control of a local or locally based firm.

The company must be the one to convince the Philippine Bureau of Immigration that you possess special skills, like language abilities, which are difficult or impossible to find in the labor market.

If you expect to find a legal job here in your efforts to work in the Philippines, you absolutely need to tighten up your search criteria and make your qualifications more specific.

Please note… this visa may be applied for from within the Philippines BUT, the Working Visa “Belongs” to the Company, not you. If you leave the company, you lose your work visa.

Call Centers

Another option is this, you can obtain work as an agent making P20k > P40k per month but you will be competing against Filipinos for the sit-down jobs and they have the same qualifications as we do. They speak English, no secret there!

Real money is at the training and management level if you qualify. Accent Coaching also works if you speak clear American English. Recently there has also been a surge in call centers using languages other than English. It’s an option if you speak another language or two. They will pay you to double or triple the normal rate which is much closer to a western wage.

Working in the Philippines with WHO or UNICEF

If you have the credentials to back it up there are opportunities in Research, Foreign Service, and development work. Some people have had some rewarding and successful careers working in the Philippines with some of the below agencies.

Try these international agencies:

Modeling

One foreign lad that worked for me on our Social Media at BADLADZ actually met some Media types in Manila while partying and ended up doing a photoshoot that has turned into a VERY lucrative job.

Volunteering

A very good friend of mine started this way. Working with an NGO doing Coral Reef surveys for conservation he became involved in the local diving industry. It did not take long to realize this was being poorly serviced and, when an opportunity presented itself, he bought a small Dive Supply company. Now, a few years later, he is by far the largest Scuba Diving Equipment Supplier in the Philippines.

Volunteer work as an option for working in the Philippines as well as any country is often the most rewarding journey you can take. Whether it is guiding a child in his/her education or helping to build better homes, the value of giving a part of yourself to help others is immeasurable. In order to Find work like this, no matter where you go is easy is fairly easy.

Volunteering in the Philippines

Global Volunteer Network

Philippines Job Resources

Here are a few Job Resources to browse through when looking at working in the Philippines, please note, the response rate is generally less than 1%.

Starting a Small Business to Make Money in the Philippines

I had a bit of a different view when I came here on how to make money in the Philippines. The business has always been my thing so it never occurred to me to get a JOB. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to live here should seriously consider starting a small business in the Philippines. At least then you are in more control of your own destiny as opposed to having a job.

Keep in mind though that you will have to put in the work to get it going and get systems in place to detour the common problems business owners have here.

See the Business section of my Blog and YouTube Channel for more info on this.

Here also is the Philippine government website. There you will find some information on doing business in the Philippines under their services section.

Ideas

Brick and Mortar Businesses

Many foreigners decide to start a business in the Philippines as a means to produce a stable source of income living here. There are several kinds of businesses you can open in the Philippines as a foreigner, but you have to know how to go about it and be smart about it as you cannot actually “own” the business, but there are a few safeguards you can put in place to make sure you control it.

I wrote up a great blog post about opening a restaurant or a bar in the Philippines where I discuss how to go about legally opening a venue without breaking the laws.

3 quick tips to take into consideration when doing this:
  • You, or someone you REALLY trust, MUST be there always.
  • Be prepared, staff are ALWAYS going to be an issue.
  • If it is a bar, be prepared to drink ALL DAY.

Common Businesses Started by Expats

There is a large range of businesses that are started by expats in the Philippines. It really will depend on where you live, what your past history or experience is in, and what your interest is for a business in the Philippines since you’ll be working in the business a great deal while you’re getting it off the ground.

Some commonly started businesses by expats are:
  • Resorts/Hotels
  • Dive Shops
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Cafe’s
  • BPO
  • Training Centers

These are some of the most common types of businesses in the Philippines opened by foreigners, but there are plenty of others as well.

Online Marketing

Another common option travelers take when looking at online careers is to consider a role in online marketing. There are many different ways of earning money with online work over the internet:

You can make money with:
  • A website or a blog
  • Online Consulting Service (SEO, SEM, Design, so many more)
  • Productized Services
  • An online shop (eCommerce)
  • An online travel office
  • An Ebook
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Software with a Service (SwaS)
  • HELL, you can even TikTok your way to riches!

Surprisingly you can still start up and make money with very little capital BUT you must have an IDEA and put in the work!

Even if you are really afraid of online marketing and have no idea about setting up a website or an online shop, remember that in the Philippines you can easily hire talented, educated Filipinos who will build and write website content for you for little money. Again, all you need is an IDEA to be successful with online work here in the Philippines.

Freelance Writing and Photography

Share your experiences with international travel magazines or websites, such as Transitions Abroad, Brave New Traveler, National Geographic, or one of the many other travel publications.

Online Freelance Writing

You Need:
  • Knowledge of English
  • Access to a computer
  • Internet
  • Can you follow simple menus and click on links
  • You can put words and sentences together
  • Are you willing to put in the Time?
  • You have to be able to understand simple instructions,
  • Can you follow instructions and do what the client tells you?
You do NOT need to:
  • have a working visa
  • use your real name
  • have a website, blog, or any online presence, just an email address
  • live in your home country
  • have a foreign bank account to get paid … PayPal and an ATM will do
  • be a Filipino citizen
  • pay any money to start earning This is not a JOB in the Philippines.
Beware of online jobs that offer money for:
  • Typing and Get Paid
  • Placing Ads
  • Data Entry
  • etc

These usually require some type of upfront fee and that is as far as you will go. Also, If they are legit then you will be getting about one-third of what the company is charging for your services. You can get paid to learn the ropes of the businesses and then switch over to get the online work yourself.

Much better to do the research and find the work directly and make 3 times more money when you are considering work from home jobs in the Philippines.

Here are some freelance sites to look at and join if you want to start there:

Good Luck!

Sean

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