How Much Does It Cost When Applying for Work Overseas?

Going overseas to work for bigger pay is one of the many things Filipinos consider. Can you imagine not just earning in dollars but also earning twice or thrice more than your salary here? It’s tempting, don’t you think?

Apparently, working abroad is not easy. Aside from the gruesome application process, applying for work overseas means there is a price to pay as well – and it’s not a cheap one. This could be the reason why many Filipinos sell whatever they could sell just to pay for these fees.

This leads you to the next question: how much does it cost to apply for work abroad?


POEA-licensed recruitment agencies are allowed to charge placement fee, which is equivalent to one-month worth of your salary abroad. This is necessary because said amount is used by recruitment agencies to sustain their businesses. Take note that the basis of computation should be on the salary stated in the POEA-approved employment contract.

Can the recruitment agency require you to pay the placement fee upon application? The answer is no. 

In fact, the agency could only deduct the fees once you signed the employment contract. In return, the agency will give you BIR-registered receipt, which shows the total amount paid. If they insist on you paying the said fee, then you need to think twice about your chosen recruitment agency because there is a possibility that you will be scammed.

Can you pay only half of the placement fee first? That would depend on your arrangement with the recruitment agency. 

You can choose to pay half of the fee upon signing of contract and the other half once you have the plane ticket and other travel documents. This could be a good arrangement if you cannot raise the entire amount upon signing of contract.

READ: Practical Ways to Raise Money for Placement Fee

Nonetheless, not all overseas workers are obliged to pay placement fee. Seafarers, household service workers, and caregivers are exempted. There are also countries that ban collection of placement fee, which includes:

  • United Kingdom
  • USA (under H2B visa)
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Canada
  • New Zealand


The good news is you won’t shoulder all expenses. There are fees that must be shouldered by employer, which includes:

  • Working visa
  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Work and residence permit
  • OWWA membership fee amounting to USD 25
  • POEA processing fee of P200
  • Insurance coverage
  • Transportation to the jobsite
  • Additional tests or assessment, especially when the job so requires


You will need to submit certain documents in order to process your job application. This would also mean shelling money to produce these documents.

Here are the requirements you need to submit:

  • Passport – P950.00 for regular and P1,200.00 for express
  • NBI Clearance – P150.00
  • Police and Barangay Clearance – amount depending on your location
  • PSA-authenticated birth certificate – P330.00
  • Philhealth contribution – P2,400.00
  • PAG-IBIG contribution – P100.00
  • Medical Exam – amount varies per clinic

You might find these fees overwhelming and too much for you wallet to handle. Unfortunately, not all fees can be waived completely, so it is best to save up for these fees as early as possible.

4 Money Lessons OFW Parents Must Teach their Kids

Being a parent is not easy. You need to prepare your kids for the future and make sure they are equipped with necessary knowledge and learnings in order for them to survive. Even if you are miles away because you have to work overseas, this is not an excuse to pass on important lessons to your kids, which they will carry on later in life. In fact, that is part of your responsibility as a parent.

When it comes to important lessons, this includes teaching them about money. Here are some basic financial lessons you should teach your kids:

Money Lesson No. 1: Money is earned and worked hard for. 

Living as an OFW could make earning money easier for you compared to working in the Philippines. Still, this doesn’t mean you should spend your money every time your family asks for it.

One of the important lessons you need to teach your kids is that money is earned and worked hard for. It is something you don’t get out of thin air or grow out of trees, rather a reward for the sacrifices you made while living and working abroad.

There are several ways to teach them the importance of money. When you go home for vacation, try holding a garage sale and sell items you don’t need but are still in good condition. If your child is good at something, say baking goodies, encourage your child to bake and then sell it to friends or neighbors. This will make your child feel how it feels to earn money.

Money Lesson No. 2: There is a difference between needs and wants.

First things first. Needs are necessary expenses that you cannot get away from like water, food, and shelter. Yes, you can look for cheaper alternatives but it is something necessary for survival. On the other hand, wants are expenses that you don’t really need and can be delayed. For instance, a new gadget, staycations, shopping for new clothes and shoes, and eating out in restaurants.

Therefore, teach your kids to prioritize needs over wants – a money lesson they need to learn as early as possible. Practice the concept of “delayed gratification” where the want will be used as a reward for, say good grades or good behavior. Teaching them the difference between the two concepts will help your child make better decisions in money as they grow up.

Money Lesson No. 3: Save up. 

This is important. Many Filipino families don’t have enough savings that will help them last for a month – and it’s not a good sign. In fact, your family shouldn’t be one of them.

To make that happen, you need to instill the importance of savings to your kids even before you leave for your job overseas. Make sure that you set as a good example by showing your kids that you are also doing your part to save. Give every member of the family his/her own Money Bank wherein the money saved will be pooled in the Family Fund. This teaches your kids on how to responsible with money – a trait they can carry with them as they get older.

Money Lesson No. 4: Think of ways to grow money. 

Saving is good, but don’t stop there. Saving money in the bank is a good start, but if you want financial freedom, then you should teach your kids about investing as well.

There are many ways to invest money even with little amount. Explore your options and learn about them as a family so you can decide what’s best. This should be a team effort and everyone must be involved.

Fair Training Center: A Place to Equip Aspiring Household Service Workers

Did you know that there are 2.2 million Household Service Workers (HSW) working overseas? Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Qatar are the top destinations for HSW because of both the pay and high in demand. Unfortunately, not all deployed HSWs were able to finish their contract because their employers decided to terminate them for various reasons; one of which is that the HSW is not prepared to work as one.

You might think that being a HSW is as simple as doing the chores. In fact, it doesn’t end there. You will be in a different country with different rules, laws, and way of life. These are the factors you need to consider as well to ensure that you can get the job done.

The good news is there is a training center that could help you prepare for the job.

Say Hello to Fair Training Center (FTC)

FTC is under the management of Fair Employment Agency. The agency noticed that despite its rigorous application process, four out of 10 first-time OFWs were terminated because they weren’t ready to migrate and work.

This is how FTC started in November 2016. It is an accredited training and assessment center that assists pre-departure HSWs by teaching the basics of living and working abroad, particularly in Hong Kong, through simulation – and more.

The curriculum is divided into three competencies: Basic, Common, and Core.

The program aims to teach and familiarize:

  • Your rights as a worker
  • Proper use of household appliances and equipment like washing machine and food processor
  • Basic cooking skills and recipes, including shopping for local ingredients in the market
  • Proper housekeeping skills
  • First aid and accident prevention and management
  • How to use public transportation
  • Filling up forms in the immigration
  • Understand service contracts
  • How to respond to scenarios like being accused of stealing, as well as tips on how to prevent yourself from being placed in an unfortunate situation
  • Tips on how to be professionals, including the way you talk, think, look, dress, and act
  • Proper ways to communicate with employers

In other words, FTC helps HSWs on how to be dignified professionals because after all, you are a worker and not just someone who gets paid to do the cleaning.

Aside from the basic and physical preparations, Fair Training Center also helps prepare workers emotionally and financially. You will be taught tips on how to communicate and maintain a healthy relationship with your family in the Philippines with the help of scheduling. Living in a different country is a new experience for you and FTC will help you adapt to the new living environment.

Another important thing you need to prepare for before you leave is how to handle finances at home. FTC acts as a guide to help you and your family define specific financial goals, which will serve as your motivation as you work overseas. Financial literacy is also crucial – and FTC will give you an idea about various financial concepts and how to make the most out of your earnings. This way, you are sure that all your hard work will be rewarded.

Here’s another best part: your trainers were former OFWs who have enough experiences that are not known to many.

How much does this training cost? 

The usual cost is P16,500.00, which covers everything you need to know about working as HSW in Hong Kong plus materials. As of this writing, FTC’s training fee is P8,000.00, so don’t miss this opportunity to equip yourself with the necessary skills as you start this journey.

5 Legit Websites to Help You Find a Job Overseas

Back in the day, you have to walk along the streets of Manila to check every recruitment agency’s job openings and then apply. Then, you have to wait for the agency’s call on whether or not you passed the initial screening and ready to take the succeeding steps.

Thanks to Internet, you can look for a job overseas without leaving the comfort of your home. Be careful. Not all websites that post job openings abroad are legitimate. Protect yourself from being scammed by sticking to these legitimate websites that will help jumpstart your life overseas:

POEA Website

Yes, the government does post job openings through the POEA website, although it’s not as updated as the other job websites. Job postings are only limited to several countries, but still, it’s worth the try. After all, you are sure that these job postings are legitimate since it’s the government who posted it. The good thing about applying at the job vacancies posted is that jobs are urgent; hence application process if faster.

You can check this link to see the latest job openings you can apply to. Don’t forget to register online. 

The website only started in 2015, but over the years, it has been a go-to platform for job-seekers because the site posts job hirings from POEA-licensed recruitment agencies. When you sign up, you can also submit your resume online, thereby making it accessible to both employers and recruitment agencies to see. Doing so will also help you find the right jobs since OFWguru matches you with the job hunters according to the skills and experiences you indicated in your resume.

This website is also worth checking because aside from the job openings, OFWguru also has a “Blog” section that shares various tips and tricks that are helpful for OFWs. This includes money or finance tips and tips on how to excel overseas. 

Do you want to be a seafarer? Skip that trip in Manila to knock at every door and ask for any job opening. You can save yourself from the scorching heat and money for commute by simply checking, an online portal dedicated to aspiring seafarers. It has a database of thousands of jobs from top maritime companies and licensed manning agencies. Searching for a job is also easy since the jobs are assorted accordingly.

Unlike OFWguru, there is no need to upload a resume. Simply fill out the online application since this will already serve as your resume. Similar to OFWguru, you can also find a lot of informative articles that could help you adjust in your new venture, career tips, and of course, money posts.

This is a sister site of SeamanJobsite, but this time, it posts job openings for land-based workers. It also has more than 20,000 job listings from POEA-licensed recruitment agencies, thereby making it easier for you to look for a job with just a few clicks.

You can also sort the job listings according to categories like Specializations. Jobs, Countries, and POEA agencies among others. Simply upload your resume to make it easier for job hunters to find you. Don’t forget to download the mobile app so you can check the job listings wherever you are.

Yes, JobStreet is not just for local employment. In fact, it also has an Overseas Jobs page where you can see more than 10,000 POEA-approved job offerings in the field of Engineering, construction, finance, hotel and restaurant, manufacturing, and healthcare among many others.

Don’t worry. If you applied through JobStreet before, navigating its Overseas Jobs page will be easier for you.

So, are you ready to start looking for a job overseas? Good luck!

What You Need to Know about Illegal Recruitment

There are hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who leave the country every year for greener pastures. Regardless of the country destination, Filipino migrant workers have a common battlecry and that is to provide a better future for the family. If you happen to be one of the many Filipinos who long to make this happen through overseas work, you will need an entity that will make this dream realize.

These are the recruitment agencies.

Recruitment agencies post a job offer overseas, process applications, help prepare necessary requirements for documentation, and assist you as you leave the country.

Here’s the thing: not all recruitment agencies are legitimate. There will always be people who will take advantage of this “need” by promising a job abroad, only to scam you or get your money. In 2016 alone, there are more than 1,000 illegal recruitment cases filed – and this number does not include those cases that were dropped or not filed with the proper agency. This means the agency conducted any of the following illegal activities:

  • Giving the worker a Tourist Visa when the intention is to work overseas.
  • Backdoor exit or going out of the country using airports or seaports in the southern part of the Philippines.
  • Escort services wherein you will be “escorted” at the country’s airports and seaports.
  • Camouflaged representation wherein you will be asked to join a seminar or sporting event overseas so you can get work from there.
  • Recruitment correspondences, including submission of requirements or payment of placement is ONLY through email or mail.
  • Au pair, which is an inter-cultural program wherein a host family will sponsor someone to study a culture or language with monthly allowance. In exchange, you will be given a place to stay.
  • Trainee Scheme wherein you will leave for a training program overseas but a job is already waiting for you when you get there.

What can you do to avoid being a victim of illegal recruitment? Here’s what:

  • Only apply through POEA-licensed recruitment agencies. POEA regularly updates the list of registered recruitment agencies and inform the people about agencies who were doing illegal recruitment activities. You can check the POEA website to see if the agency you are eyeing for is legitimate.
  • Deal with the authorized representative/s of the licensed recruitment agencies. Consequently, transactions must be done in the address indicated in the agency’s POEA license.
  • Check if the job offer is approved by the POEA. POEA also list some available jobs in their website, although this is not updated in real-time.
  • Take note of the placement fee. This should be equivalent to one-month salary and will only be paid UPON signing of employment contract. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt that corresponds to the amount you paid.

Here are also some red flags you need to watch out for that will tell you if a recruitment agency is a scam:

  • Placement fee is more than the equivalent of one month salary.
  • Payment of placement fee is required even if you are not yet accepted for the job you applied for or there is no employment contract yet.
  • Job offers that require immediate payment to secure your application, whether through bank deposit, PO box, or personal delivery of payment.
  • Tourist visa instead of a working visa.
  • Recruitment agency with provincial address yet there is no branch or partner agency in the said province.

Don’t be a victim by falling for these illegal practices. You and your family deserve a better life and future, and you can start having that by finding the right recruitment agency. Be careful and always check for legitimacy before you commit.

6 Money Tips for Returning OFWs

Fact: work overseas is not a lifetime career. At some point in your life, you have to go back to the Philippines and settle here. This is why you should make the most (and save the most!) out of your stay because you will never know when it’s time to go back.

Let’s say your contract expired and you’re finally back home. What is your next step? Should you apply for work overseas again or settle in the Philippines? Will you finally open your dream business you and your family have been planning for years? What about the money?

For all returning OFWs, this one is for you: money tips to remember to make sure you’ll have enough until you get another job:

Tip No. 1: Know how much you have. 

In fact, this is the first thing you need to do when you get home. Make a list of all your assets you acquired over the years. This includes savings (both in and out of the bank), investments (stocks, mutual funds, treasury bills, etc), and other assets like car or property. Place the corresponding amount so you know how much you have.

Ideally, you should have at least six months-worth of income to help you get by while you are still looking for another overseas stint. You can check out this post about crazy but effective ideas to save more money.

Tip No. 2: Make a list of how much you owe. 

Consequently, list every financial obligation that you have, regardless of how big or small the amount it. This should include existing personal, auto, home, business, and even online cash loans. Don’t forget to include the outstanding balance, interest rate or amount paid every month, and due date for each loans. This will give you a clearer picture of how much you owe as opposed to how much you have.

Tip No. 3: Develop a financial plan. 

Now that you know how much your assets and liabilities are, it will be easier for you to devise a plan on how to handle your finances. At this point, establish a way on how to pay off your existing financial obligations and making sure that you won’t accumulate more.

You should be able to look into your budget as well since you are no longer earning in dollars. Adjust your family’s weekly and monthly budget to accommodate expenses without exhausting every centavo in your bank account, which leads you to this next tip.

Tip No. 4: Look for ways to earn something extra. 

Getting another job abroad is not easy even if you already have experience. Unless you are specifically requested by your previous employer,  you have to wait for an opportunity and rely heavily on luck as well to get a job overseas.

In the meantime, look for other ways to earn extra money. This could help sustain your everyday expenses without hurting your bank account.

Tip No. 5: Avoid parties and treating friends. 

Many returning OFWs are victims of “Libre naman dyan” culture. You were away for years and the fact that you earned in dollars make you look “bigtime” in the eyes of other people. It wouldn’t hurt if you say yes to an invitation and become the designated financier in the group.

Well, it would if this happens more than once.

As much as you miss your relatives and friends, treating them could hurt your pocket. Keep in mind that you don’t have a job – yet – so save as much as you can. Don’t give in to temptations easily.

Tip No. 6: Don’t jump into business immediately. 

Admit it. You wanted to open up your own business so you don’t have to go back overseas. Apparently, it’s not as easy as it seems. Some businesses, no matter how promising it would be, fail for variety of reasons. If you are not ready to risk the money you worked hard for, then don’t start your own venture – for now.

Examine the market first and see if there is an impending need for your product or service. You should be able to prepare yourself not just financially but also mentally and physically as you enter into this new venture. Once you are ready, keep in mind that Balikbayad is here to help. Send your loan application now for pre-approval and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

5 Common OFW Problems and How to Solve It

Whoever said that being an OFW is easy is definitely not an OFW. You carry the burden and responsibility of providing and ensuring a better life and future for your family. At the same time, there is pressure to sustain the lifestyle you provided to your family.

Apparently, this is just one of the MANY problems you will encounter as you go through this rollercoaster ride. Below are other “problems” most OFWs go through and surely, you can relate to all of them:

1. Homesickness

Being away from your family is no joke. During the first few months, you might end up crying and wanting to go back home because you miss them so much,

How to solve it: Remember why you are working overseas in the first place. Use it as your motivation to keep fighting instead of giving up. The good thing about working overseas today is that there are various tools you can use to communicate with your family back home. Maximize that especially during your downtime.

This leads you to another issue.

2. Long distance relationship

You’ve seen it in TV shows and movies. It’s either the OFW or the spouse left back home (or both!) has another partner. You both blame it on the distance because you cannot be with your partner anytime of the day – and this could create an issue in the relationship. Homesickness could lead to infidelity as well, regardless of how hard you fight against it.

How to solve it: A strong foundation-slash-marriage helps a lot to ensure that no infidelity will take place. Also, set aside a strict and specific time of the day to talk to your spouse. Talk about how both of your days went, any problems encountered, and just reconnect with each other. Maximize video messaging tools and constantly remind each other of why you are doing these sacrifices.

3. Not enough savings

“Madaming gastos sa ‘Pinas eh,” said most OFWs. Because of the never-ending expenses, you are unable to set aside money every month for savings. You have personal expenses as well and living in a foreign soil means higher cost of living too.

How to solve it: Discipline plays a crucial role, so make sure you pressure yourself to save. You’ll never know what could happen the next day and you have to be prepared for it. Also, teach your family to save as well. Saving is not solely your responsibility, so make sure everyone does their part.

4. Too much unpaid loans

There is nothing wrong with borrowing money. What makes it wrong is when you use the money you borrowed for the wrong reasons like buying a new gadget or for shopping. Worse, these borrowed money accumulate and the next thing you know, a big chunk of your income is used to pay for these loans.

How to solve it: First, you need to know how much you owe, so list all of your loans, regardless of the amount. Indicate the due date and interest rate for each loan. From there, you can check which loans should be paid first, preferably the one with higher interest rate OR early due date. At this point, forget about savings to pay for the loans. This will make it easier for you to save if you don’t have to worry about debts. Once you paid off a big chunk of your loan, then you can go back to saving again.

5. Unforeseen circumstances

This includes political crisis in the country where you’re working, sudden mass lay-offs, disasters such as typhoon or earthquake, or war. These circumstances are beyond your control but could greatly affect your employment overseas.

How to solve it: There’s no better way of solving this than to be prepared for it. Set up an emergency fund the moment you step your foot on foreign soil and try to save as much as you can while you still can. Consider getting a sidejob or encourage your family back home to put up a small business to help augment financial needs. Preparation is key and in instances where you need to go home immediately, all of your preparations will be worth it.

Which one have you experienced so far?

OFW Problem: Should I Send Money or Not?

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding OFWs is that you are rich. You earn in dollars and with the existing peso-dollar conversion (P52.00 ++), money is easier for you. Because of this, many relatives and some friends decide to turn to you and ask for help – financial help. No thanks to the so-called utang na loob, it’s hard to say no to them even if the money is intended for you family.

This is the challenge: should you send money to friends or relatives when they asked for help? 

The answer is it depends. It should never be your habit to let anyone borrow from you anytime they need it. Nonetheless, here’s what you can do if a friend or relative sought for your help and borrowed money:

First, be a good listener and listen to their money issues. 

You can’t just say no instantly. You need to genuinely listen to their problem first that led to money issues. You need to know where they plan to use the money IF you will let them borrow. Listening to their concerns will help you gauge whether that person is worth lending.

Then, tell them you’ll check your finances. 

Money is something you work hard for. This is why you should never let anyone borrow from you when they need it.

If a friend asks for help, tell him/her that you’ll think about it. Explain your situation since you have a family to feed as well. Let them know that you have other responsibilities and a strict budget to follow. At this point, do not promise anything yet until you are sure that you have extra funds you can lend.

Decide whether to lend money or not. 

That friend or relative is waiting for you. A day or two of making them wait for your decision is fine, but if you are certain that you cannot lend them money, then you need to tell that person right away.

If you decide to lend money to a relative or friend – 

Ensure that the money will be used for the said purpose. Consequently, make sure to set payment terms because you and your family need money as well. Agree on a particular date on when s/he should pay and how the money will be paid. Nonetheless, you have to be ready for the consequences.

There is a possibility that this person might “forget” about the money borrowed; hence repayment won’t take place. Don’t be embarrassed to remind that relative or friend to pay because that is the money you worked hard for, especially if it’s already the agreed date of payment.

If you said no – 

Be ready for grudges. You’ll be hearing statements like, “Noong ikaw ang may kailangan …” or “Tulungan mo naman kami kasi binabantayan namin pamilya mo,” so be ready for it. Some would even insult you for not allowing them to borrow money from you, so make sure you are prepared for that.

Nonetheless, it is important to be honest on why you cannot let them borrow money. Explain your current situation and the current standing of your family when it comes to expenses.

Still, don’t feel bad. True friends are those who understand your situation. If they ended up putting you down just because you can’t lend them, then it is best to kick them out of your life. You don’t need that and just focus on what else you can do to improve your family’s financial situation.

Want to Start Your Small Business? Read These Tips to Find Out How

Let’s face it: your work overseas is not forever. At some point, you have to go back to the Philippines because your contract expired or due to some other unfortunate circumstances. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: you need to be prepared for it. 

The question is how.

One of the most obvious reasons is to put up your own business, even if it’s still a small one – for now. The challenge now is how to do it to make sure that it will be sustainable.

Here’s how to start your own small business:

Step 1: Establish your business goal. 

It’s not enough that you want to put up your own business. Every business starts with a goal. This will serve as your motivation and keep you guided on how you will manage and sustain your business as the months and years go by.

At this point, you should also know what kind of product or service you want to offer. This should address a specific concern in the market to be able to differentiate you from the rest of the entrepreneurs. Consequently, identify your suppliers and establish a good relationship with them as early as now since they will help you in making your business goal happen.

Step 2: Prepare your funds. 

This is another challenge. Even if you have a brilliant idea that no one else thought of, the question now is how do you turn this brilliant idea into something more tangible.

Therefore, you will need funds or capital. You can take a risk and use your savings to put put up your own business OR borrow money from lenders, whether traditional banks or private lending companies like Balikbayad. You can also look for a partner to help you finance your business, although you have to be careful in choosing this one.

Step 3: Make noise in social media. 

At this point, you established your business goals, identified your product or service, tapped a specific market, made friends with suppliers, and came up with funds to finance your business. The next step is to make your business known to the public, particularly in social media. This is the most convenient way to make you known because it is free and you will be able to tap your target demographic easily.

Tip: Choose one social media account and stick to it. Having too many accounts is not advisable especially if you are just starting your business. 

If you prefer the traditional way of doing business, then find a location where you can make it happen. High foot traffic and commercial centers are your best options. Since you cater to a certain market, you can consider putting up your business near them.

Step 4: Develop your marketing strategy. 

How do you plan to market your business? What strategies will you use to promote what you are offering to the public? What will you do to sustain your business? These are only some of the questions you need to answer to help you develop your marketing strategy.

READ: How to Write a Business Plan

Step 5: Review your business goals.



Here in Balikbayad, we believe in the potential and skill of every OFW. That is why we opened our doors to the OFW community to help in making sure that your dream to have a better and secured future. If you need extra funds for your business, Balikbayad is here to help. Send your online loan application now for pre-approval and we will get back to you as soon as we can.