Obtaining a Work Visa

Hello, im an Australian looking to move over to Manila, Is it legal to look for work while on a tourist visa? And are employees willing to do the paperwork to obtain the visa for you, is it a long process??

Hi and welcome on the forum gregormax :)

I have a doubt about the fact that you will be allowed to work on a tourist visa but i'm sure other members will tell you more about the visa procedures.


You cannot work on a tourist visa. And no company is going to hire you without a work visa. Unless you have a skill set thats in high demand, its unlikely someone will pay to process your visa.

Hi, Gregormax!
hope it not too late!

I am experincing the same problem now. So, actually - you are not allowed to work on te tourist visa, but as long as your company is OK with ере and they keep silence - it fine. But I would still suggest you apply for the work visa.
So you need to go to the Dept of Labour first - and get the Alien work permit paper (approx 2-3 wks) and only after you get it - you go to Immigration and upgrade your Visa.(it's long - can take 1-2 month).
Would love to help you, if you need any additional info on that!

Take care!

Hi gregormax,

As far as I have done working visas for several expats. There are ways to obtain working visa.

Normally, to obtain the AEP ( Alien Employment Permit) you must be hired first before you can get the working visa. Because, to change your tourist visa to employment visa, you will need an employment contract from the company who hired you.

If you plan to apply job on tourist visa, it's best that you shall be open about this. Depends on your qualification, some companies might pay for the expenses in obtaining Employment permit. Or, you can pay it by yourself.

Goodluck!! and if you might want more info..just send me message..will be glad to help :)

gregormax wrote:

Hello, im an Australian looking to move over to Manila, Is it legal to look for work while on a tourist visa? And are employees willing to do the paperwork to obtain the visa for you, is it a long process??

Hi Gregormax,

Immigration Head of Accralaw Regina Geraldez has a detailed response to the question: Can I come on a Tourist Visa to find work? I hope her response below clarifies your concerns. Attorney Geraldez is accommodating so in case you have other concerns that are not listed in http://www.expatcareers.com/Philippines … mmigration I suggest you contact her. Anyways, below is her response,the one in red may interest you:

Holders of the 9(a)temporary visitor visa or tourist visa may not be employed and may not engage in activities that are considered ‘doing business' as defined by the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.

"To engage" is to embark on a business or to employ one's self therein. The word "engaged" connotes more than a single act or a single transaction; it involves some continuity of action. "To engage in business" is uniformly construed as signifying an employment or occupation which occupies one's time, attention, and labor for the purpose of a livelihood or profit. The expressions "engage in business," "carrying on business" or "doing business" do not have different meanings, but separately or connectedly convey the idea of progression, continuity, or sustained activity. "Engaged in business" means occupied or employed in business; "carrying on business" does not mean the performance of a single disconnected act, but means conducting, prosecuting, and continuing business by performing progressively all the acts normally incident thereto; while "doing business" conveys the idea of business being done, not from time to time, but all the time. There may be a business without any sequence of acts, for if an isolated transaction, which if repeated would be a transaction in a business, is proved to have been undertaken with the intent that it should be the first of several transactions, that is, with the intent of carrying on a business, then it is a first transaction in an existing business.

The Philippine entity that seeks to employ a foreign national must file an application with the BI for the conversion of his visa status from temporary visitor to a proper working visa holder as well as an application for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

However, temporary visitor visa holders may be allowed to work temporarily in the Philippines for a maximum period of six months if they obtain a Special Work Permit (“SWP”) from the Bureau of Immigration. Examples of foreigners who are required to obtain the SWP are: professional athletes competing for the limited period of their authorized stay, or those otherwise gainfully employed in their professional capacity such as professional instructors, foreigners of distinguished merit and ability entering to perform exceptional temporary services, but having no contract of pre-arranged employment, foreigners coming primarily to perform non-competitive, temporary services or to take non-competitive training who could be classified as temporary workers or industrial trainees, except that they do not receive a salary or other remuneration from Philippine sources, other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay, foreign nationals authorized to search for hidden treasure, movie and television crew filming in the country, foreign journalists pursuing their profession in the country, engineers, technicians and other highly skilled, technical professionals who are engaged in the pre-testing and/or installation of machinery, equipment and other instruments under private or government contracts or grants, agents of foreign principals engaged in screening/interview of prospective clients for employment or placement, foreign or domestic and authorized representatives of an investor who are primarily engaged in monitoring and supervision of the principal's investments in the country.

It should be emphasized that the SWP is not a working visa and its holder must keep his 9(a) temporary visitor visa valid during his stay in the Philippines.

Foreigners who work in the Philippines without the necessary visa and/or permit violate the conditions of their admission and stay as tourists and may be subjected to deportation proceedings.

I hope the above helps. I wish you the best of luck!


I have a question. I am from India with 7.8 years into recruitment.

I would like to come and work in Philippines, i.e search for job and apply during my stay there.

What visa may I apply, can I apply for AEP;or is it advisable to apply for employment, finish the interviews via telephonic or skype; get the employment offer and then apply for direct work permit visa; I am willing to pay for my visa if required; the only thing is my job should be confirmed and with guarantee, I could come there.


Hi Aparna,
Did you get visa for Philippine to work or anything happened further on this. I am also looking for anjob in philippine having 7 year of experience. I am at the role of Assistant Manager now. Could you please peovide any suggestions on this?

I am from India. Inhave seen your post sometime back. Did you get the opportunity to work in philippine. I am also looking for a job in philippine. Could you please help me out on this?