Expats working in the Philippines will find themselves in an ethnically diverse and multicultural working environment influenced by Spanish, American, Malay and Chinese traditions. The country has an emerging economic market with a highly skilled and educated workforce.

Seen as a gateway to the Southeast Asia region, Metro Manila is home to many multinational corporations with their regional head offices in Makati. Over and above being the financial and business hub of the Philippines, Makati is also the diplomatic centre of the Philippines, and as such, there is a large expat population living and working here.

Job market in the Philippines

The presence of international corporations and the up tick in the country's economy have made the Philippines a popular destination for expats seeking work opportunities.

Mining, food processing, construction and tourism industries offer the most opportunities. Many expats also relocate to the Philippines to teach a foreign language, while call centres and other business outsourcing units are also booming.

Finding a job in the Philippines

Many expats move to the Philippines as part of an intra-company transfer or to work for a multinational corporation.

We suggest jobseekers visit the websites of companies operating in the country to search for vacancies. Job hunters can also explore listings on online job portals and employment networking websites such as JobStreet.com, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

Expats who want to work in the Philippines need to obtain a valid work visa, which they should secure before their arrival. Employers typically organise work permits in the Philippines.

Generally, expats should secure employment before moving to the Philippines, as it can be challenging to obtain a work permit. Hiring companies must first prove the position they offer to an expat cannot be adequately filled by a Filipino citizen before a work permit is granted.

Work culture in the Philippines

Most professionals in the workplace speak English, so most Western expats won't experience any language barriers. Nevertheless, we encourage expats to familiarise themselves with the local business culture in the Philippines.

In particular, expats should be aware of the concept of ‘saving face’, as self-esteem is important to Filipinos. Public displays of anger and disparaging someone in front of others can result in a 'loss of face', which Filipinos avoid at all costs. So, expats doing business in the Philippines should avoid publicly criticising or arguing with their Filipino colleagues.

The working week in the Philippines is from Monday to Friday, with a few offices open on weekends. Office hours are 8am to 5pm and there is a one-hour lunch break.

Expat Health Insurance

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Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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