The great news for those hoping to spend the rest of their lives living and working in the Philippines is that it can be done. The bad news is that it isn’t as simple as going there and checking the job ads. To work in the Philippines you need a visa that will allow this; either a 9G or a 13A or 13B. Do not try and circumvent this requirement as apart from being illegal to work there without the proper visa, the Bureau of Immigration is one of the most efficient in the country when it comes to dealing with law breakers. Not only that, we don’t like it when aliens and illegal immigrants work illegally in our country, so let’s not do it in the Philippines.
There are two ways to work in the Philippines for foreign nationals. The first is to organize the job before you arrive. Then the company employing you will organize your work permit and take care of business for you. As well, these ‘expat’ jobs pay far better salaries than locally sourced jobs in the private sector. However, there was a job going recently in Manila for an Airport Liaison Officer working for the Australian Department of Immigration that was looking for someone already living in Manila and of Australian, New Zealand, UK, USA or Canadian citizenship. It paid P265,000 a month! Given the best I ever made was P70K a month and most jobs paid P40-50K (one even less!) this would have been a plum position to get.
The bottom line is jobs are available, even if you can’t tee it up before you get here. However the reality is they are few and far between and you have to not only know someone but be in the right place at the right time. Even that might not be enough. I applied for a job in a furniture factory on Mactan along with two dozen other expats. Unbeknownst to me (and the expat charged with recruiting the candidate) the job had already been given to a golf buddy of the boss and the job interviews were just paying lip service to the company policy requiring all positions to be advertised and competed for.
The second way to get a job, that of applying once already here, might not pay as much but it is achievable. At Bigfoot in Cebu some years ago the locally hired expats were paid US$1000 a month whereas those brought in from the US and doing the same job were paid nearly four times that. It did cause one local hire to leave but most of us were just glad of the grand a month.
I know expats who have driven jeepneys, one even met his wife doing it and still lives like a native with her and their dozen kids to this day. Another was washing dishes in a carenderia for P40 a day and a meal, he is now no longer with us but what a way to spend your last years on earth. Yet another had a bad patch and drove pigs to market for a year until his luck changed and he was offered a decent job.
The longer you are here the more people you meet and the more chance you will get offered a job. It usually pays enough to live comfortably but not enough to sock any away and really get ahead, buy a house, travel, put the kids in a decent school and so on. That is why I took my family back to Australia. But if there is just you or you and the Asawa then it can be a great experience. I look back on my years living off the economy in a third world country with pride as well as fondness. Ever since I was a teenager I had dreamt of challenging myself to landing on a foreign shore and making it on my own merits. I did that, I survived and I enjoyed the process. I then wrote about my experiences in Making A Living In The Philippines. I update the book every two years to make sure it is still current and these updates are free to anyone who has purchased a copy.
You can work in the Philippines. You can finance your life there and enjoy the good things the Philippines has to offer, including that special Filipina. When you want information you can rely on, check out my books, websites and Yahoo Groups.