In short, the answer to your question is most likely to be “Yes!”
But, let’s look at some details. The fact is that this question is the one that I hear most often in the e-mails that I receive from this particular site. A lot of people are interested in moving to the Philippines, it seems, but many of those who want to move here feel that they will need to have a job here to support them. Right now, I am not going to get into a discussion about working here (we’ll save that for tomorrow), but rather the legalities of whether you will be allowed to work here.
The easiest way that you can become legal to work here is by acquiring a resident visa to live here. If you are legally able to live here indefinitely then you are also allowed to work here, generally speaking. This would mean that if you have some kind of resident visa that allows you to live here without having to leave from time to time, then you should be able to legally seek employment.
If you are here on a more temporary basis, like on a tourist visa or some other kind of more “temporary” visa, it is still possible that you may be able to obtain permission to be employed here.
What does the law say?
1. Foreigners who wish to work in the Philippines must obtain a Work Permit before gaining employment, with the following exceptions (people who do not need a work permit):
- Members of the Diplomatic Service accredited by the Philippine Government.
- Officers of International Organizations (such as the UN) that the Philippines is a member of, and their spouses.
- Foreign Nationals who are elected to the Governing Board of a company here, provided that they seek no other employment than the Governing Board.
- Any Foreign National granted exemption by special law.
- People from Foreign Companies who come here temporarily to interview Filipinos for positions abroad.
- Teachers who are here as visiting, exchange or adjunct Professors at Philippine Universities, provided that the Universities in the Philippines and the other country have a valid agreement.
- Resident Foreign Nationals
So, due to the last point, a person like me who is a Resident Alien in the Philippines can legally work without need for a work permit. For most who read this site, the last point above would be the easiest way to gain the right to work here.
If you are not able to be legally employed by the above provisions, there is still a method for you to gain the right to work here. First, you must file an application for an “AEP” (Alien Employment Permit). With the application (which is filed at the Dept of Labor and Employment office “DOLE”) you will need to submit: Photocopy of your Passport, Contract of Employment, Photocopy of the business’ Mayor’s Permit to operate the business, a Photocopy of your current AEP (if you are renewing). Along with the application you will be required to pay a fee of P8,000 for the application. This fee will cover you for one year. If the term of employment is to be more than one year, you can gain multiple years, but must pay an addition P3,000 per additional year on the AEP. The DOLE will publish details of your application for public inspection, and provided that you have met all the requirements, and that nobody has protested the issuance upon seeing the publication, your AEP will be issued and you may then be employed.
Your AEP may be canceled under certain provision too, but basically, as long as you stay on good behavior, and in compliance with Philippine laws, you are generally safe.
Now, what happens if you work without a permit? Well, it is not pleasant! The DOLE may fine you up to P10,000 for every year (or portion of a year) that you worked without an AEP. Prison terms can also be issued, although fines and deportation are the most common remedy for those working without a permit.
So, as you can see, you can get a work permit and work here! If you are a resident, you don’t even need a permit to work here. But, the next question is this:
Would you want to work here?
Tune in tomorrow for my commentary about working here.