Philippines Travel Information header image 1

Obtaining Work Permit in the Philippines for Expats

September 17th, 2014 · 17 Comments

Let’s face it, with very limited jobs to go around for qualified Filipinos, it is quite difficult to find a job for an expat in the Philippines.

The Philippine government ensured that Filipino jobs are practically for the locals. Certain laws have been put up to secure the stand of locals against foreigners seeking to work in Filipino companies. Unless you are married to a Filipino, you will find it hard to move around here to earn an income. If you have got some capital funds to spare for a business or two is an entirely different thing. Foreign investors are warmly welcomed in the Philippines; foreign workers are not.

Obtaining a work permit in the Philippines could be pretty challenging. You will have to be pre-employed first. That is easier that way than obtaining one with just prospective job offers in the horizon. After securing a job, your employer would most likely make the recommendation that you be awarded a working visa. In this case, you will have to go to a local embassy of your home country. From there, you will also have to go through the Philippines’ Depart of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and obtain an alien employment permit from there. The process usually take three to six months long; the validity of the working visa is mostly for one to two years depending on the circumstances you were awarded it. Renewal of the working visa is much easier than putting everything in place the first time. Unless you have made a pretty bad record, you will most likely get your renewal in a no-sweat fashion.

Yes, a foreigner may stand a chance at taking the best jobs in the Philippines because of the high quality standard of their degrees as compared with the locals. But the government is keeping expats off guard, especially with millions of Filipinos waiting in line to be hired. If you are extremely skilled in your profession and you know you could do well with a Filipino company, start applying for jobs. You have all the right to. If the company gets you, go through the painful process of obtaining a working permit and you are on a roll. Be aware, however, that compensation packages in the Philippines are not as impressive. You will need to find your way through a meek salary if you really want to be employed. As mentioned earlier, it is different when you are funding to build a new business there. That is mostly the advisable deal for expats.

Tags: Expats

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 janice // Sep 1, 2008 at 11:36 am

    i am a filipina and i have a british boyfriend thats planning to set up business in philippines like retail,selling a movie character or a collectible toys shop.i wish to know how exactly what we gonna do to get a business permit for him and how difficult it is.hope i can get any answer in this site.thank you.

  • 2 Mohamed Tawfik // Mar 2, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I am currently living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with my Filipino wife and we would like to relocate to Manila, Baguio or Cebu.
    I am currently working now in a Travel Agency where I have been for the past 5 years, and am very committed to ensuring that the business runs to its fullest potential maximising its yield through careful yield management and ensuring that I run a harmonious and productive workplace.
    I have had extensive experience within a number of management, customer service and leadership roles and would like to further my current knowledge and skills within these areas. I am a self-motivated individual with excellent planning and organisational skills. I am able to help bring cohesion to teams that I work in, through my ability to think outside the square and my strong belief in the importance of teamwork and hands on Leadership.
    I ideally would like to stay working within the hospitality, Travel and Tourism industry or a Hotel property. My wife is also an Supervisor in a Travel Agency here in Dubai, UAE
    I am a young, vibrant and energetic person who love the Philippines way of life and would really like to relocate there with my wife.


  • 3 Ryan Tan // Sep 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    To whom it may concern,

    I am a Philippine born Australian Citizen. I manage to obtain a job in a call centre here in the Philippines and need a WORK permit asap! How can I obtain one so that I can start work?

  • 4 Mary Elaine dela Rama // Feb 3, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I just would like to ask something to fully understand what is written above.

    If I am an alien and am pre-employed here in the Philippines, can the company give me a higher position? Am I authorized to be general manager, for instance? Can I be a signatory of some documents like IDs?

  • 5 Mary Elaine dela Rama // Feb 3, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I just would like to ask something to fully understand what is written above.

    If I am an alien and am pre-employed here in the Philippines, can the company give me a higher position? Am I authorized to be general manager, for instance? Can I be a signatory of some documents like IDs even though my visa is a student visa?

  • 6 maurice // Apr 11, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    hi there,

    I am maurice 27 of age and am from the Netherlands.

    My plan is to move out to the philippines live there and write myself in at the chamber of commerce as a individual worker hiring myself out to companies based on offshore dredging or european inland waters anyway its working on a ship.

    until now i haven’t got all the information jet so would this al be possible for me to do anyway?

    Obtaining a work permit in the Philippines could be pretty challenging

    yes ok but in my situation isnt this different and is it already different that am not going to earn money in the philippines but all abroad.

    so i think i dont have none to do with this blog am i rigth? questionmark is caus am not 100% sure jet.

    And who made this website?

  • 7 work visa philippines // Apr 13, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Obtaining a work permit in the Philippines for foreigners might be more difficult than applying for a tourist visa because of the above mentioned reasons. However it is not impossible, it takes patience to be able to get a working visa in the Philippines.

  • 8 rhena // May 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    hi i just wanna ask if how an american apply for work permit if he is married to a filipina?

  • 9 Ricky // Jun 12, 2010 at 1:57 am

    My name is Ricky and i am willing to work as CSR in one of the Phillippines Call Centres.

    Please advice me on this

  • 10 philip turner // Jul 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

    hello i want to how i can receive a permanant
    residency to manila philippines im a mission who wants to share the Gospel i have friends in pasig and also mandalouyong city who are from
    the philippines can you please give me a some feedback how and what i must do here
    thank you so much

  • 11 Antoine Deane // Nov 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for the interesting and helpful comments regarding work in the Philippines.
    I’m a pilot that just recently travelled to Angeles City and loved the country and location,
    I think from what has been said it seems a worthless pursuit unfortunately to try and obtain a work visa, shame because I did love the country. Thanks for your comments that were helpful for me!

  • 12 cyberbkk // Jan 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Sorry to say that, but this seem to be utter nonsense. I arrived in Manila on a Tourist Visa in December, I was recommended to a large Philippine IT Company by former colleagues, I had the first Interview with technical staff, then one more with HR last week, signed the contract that they offered me and as I write this my papers are being processed and I will start working on Tuesday.

    In the IT field they welcome foreign expertise, that is, in the large Datacenter Environment where people with years of Experience don’t grow on trees

    So, I can only say it went not only smooth, but very fast.


  • 13 Avi // Apr 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    i have a fishing company here , n i want to hire a PA to handle it when i cant ( visiting home, or travelling for leisure ) . how can i get him the work permit ? cz u know , like most of the the foreigners n Even the locals say , u cant trust a filipino when it comes to money . . .
    i want one of my own , even for a price

  • 14 Dr.saad jardaneh // Apr 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Am holding Ph.D in pharmacy looking for job for one two years salary not much looking for just accomodation and little pocket any pharmacy college.

  • 15 Hussain // Dec 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    but how to obtain a working visa and working permit in the Philippines?

  • 16 kigen // Dec 31, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Hw much does the visa cost to get it and upon renewal?

  • 17 Henry Brennan // Mar 16, 2012 at 5:48 am

    I was able to get a permanent visa/ACR card for working in the Philippines (I’m also married o a Filipina). I did this by going through an attorney/fixer. A little expensive, but well worth it!

Leave a Comment