Basic Fees You Need to Know (And Pay For) When You Apply for a Job Abroad

It’s never easy to work abroad. Apart from the competition where thousands of workers are vying for the same position, you are faced with the gruesome fact that you have to pay for fees before you can actually be deployed abroad.

What exactly are these fees that you need to pay?

Read on to find out – and help you prepare for them in case you plan to work overseas:

1) Placement Fee

This is a fee collected by recruitment agencies from deployed OFWs. Placement fee is necessary for recruitment agencies since the nature of their business is risky. The fee paid to them is placed in a fund, which can be used in case something happens to the deployed worker. More importantly, recruitment agencies are responsible for extending help to OFWs they deployed abroad.

How much should this cost? POEA-licensed recruitment agencies are required to collect an equivalent to or less than one month worth of salary. Nonetheless, there are instances when placement fee is waived, which means you don’t have to pay for it. These instances include:

  • Working in US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, and Cabnada
  • Working as a seafarer, caregiver, or household service worker

Important Tip: Placement fee will only be paid once you signed your employment contract bearing the job you applied for. Make sure to ask (or demand!) for an Official Receipt (OR). It should state the date of payment and the purpose of such payment.

2) Training Fee

There are many jobs abroad that require special skills. If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, then consider getting necessary training with corresponding certificate to prove completion.

You might be worried about the fees. Some trainings require you to pay a fee upfront, but if you want to save on this, TESDA offers trainings that are either free or for minimal amount only. Take advantage of those and who knows, you can use it to your advantage.

3) Processing and Other Related Fees

Apart from placement fee, you might also be asked to pay for processing fees.

How are processing fees different from placement fee?

Processing fee is the cost your employer spent for your deployment abroad. This includes yearly contribution to social services like Philhealth and PAG-IBIG, visa fee, airfare, compulsory insurance, OWWA membership, PDOS, and POEA processing fee among others.

Nonetheless, you are not required to pay for all of these costs. You are only mandated to pay for Philhealth and PAG-IBIG, although PAG-IBIG is no longer mandatory. The rest of the costs must be paid by your employer.

4) Documentation Fee 

Documents are crucial when applying for a job overseas. You need to prove that you are not convicted on any criminal or civil liability and that your records are clear.

Some of the documents you need to submit wherein the costs for obtaining those documents will be shouldered by you are:

  • Barangay Clearance
  • Police Clearance
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • NBI Clearance
  • Medical examination fee

There are recruitment agencies that offer documentation services, which is convenient for you. The fees may be higher than just getting your own documents. If you wish to avail, make sure to ask for an official receipt reflecting the costs for each document.

The fees may vary, but the bottom line is you need to be prepared for these fees if you plan to work overseas. This way, you don’t have to borrow money to cover these fees because let’s face it, not all lenders are willing to lend money for this purpose.

95 Replies to “Basic Fees You Need to Know (And Pay For) When You Apply for a Job Abroad”

  1. I withdraw my application but I already paid for my placement fee without signing the actual contract yet because the agency said the actual contract is in manila, and they did not give me a BIT issued receipt. My agency said that I should pay for the visa. Should I pay for the visa and how much it cost? Can I ask for a refund d? Thank you!

    1. Hi Wen! You shouldn’t be paying for the placement fee and visa. This is considered as a red flag and a sign that you might not be dealing with a licensed and recognized recruitment agency by the POEA. Make sure to ask for a refund as soon as possible so you can get your money back.

  2. i paid for my placement fee, my documentation,processing fee and medical exam fees but a day before my flight date i have decided not to continue my application in saudi upon knowing from my previous co-worker that the place is for now safe but occassionally they can hear the bombing of missiles in the near area and thus have changed my mind because i have a friend who was trapped and died in Lebanon before. My agency told me that i will be blacklisted from the agency and also by the employer in saudi,plus they said i have to pay for the ticket and visa. Is this true? what I heard is that i will be given a sanctioned by poea and will pay only $100 not the whole amount of yhe visa and plane ticket as what the agency asked me.

    1. Hi there! It’s the agency’s prerogative to blacklist you from their pool of applicants. This could create an issue in future application, so make sure you disclose this to your future employers.

    2. Hi po… Maam ask ko lang po kc nag pirma na po ako ng contract saka po ako pinag medical. Wla naman po hiningi sken na pera. Yung medical,ISC at migrams lang gastos ko. Tama po ba yun process maam na pirma muna ng contrata bago mag medical? Kasi parang duda po ako. 1sr time to work in abroad so i dont any idea sa process flow ng recruitment. Salamat po.

      1. Hi Jarwin! Normally, medical first and then if declared na medically-fit po kayo, that’s the time you can sign the employment contract. Did you check po if legitimate ang recruitment agency?

  3. hi my husband was hired direct from my employer. poea did not release his oec and i want to try to put him under agency but the agency told me that they will charge my employer the amount of $2120. i want to know if the fee is ok for a $1000 salary. my husband has the visa and contract. thanks….

  4. Hi i just want to ask if what are the inclusions if you pay documentary fee for agency?i am applying for kuwait as waitress but the agency ask for documentation fee of about 12,000
    aside from 21,000 placement fee.
    i an ex abroad also from dubai but before i only pay about 15,000 as processing fee.thank you for your answer.

  5. Hello Good Day… im planning to work abroad… what is the best way i willnpay for placement fee or salary deduction? How about the processing fee?

    1. Hi Eugene! Recruitment agencies usually do salary deduction. You can coordinate with your recruitment agency regarding the mode of payment. Thanks!

  6. Hi, Im just curious so i truly need to ask.
    Do I really have to pay for a documentation fee if all the documents that they said to require is already obtained? Like NBI, Passport, Medical, Birth and etc. I have all those documents and is not expired. They are asking for 10,000php for documentation and handling fee.
    Which I dont know have any idea why the amount is overwhelming.

    1. Hi Klaire! Sounds dubious to us since documents don’t have to be this expensive. If you have documents on hand, then you can use and submit that.

  7. Hi, i Just want to know is it true that if i ask for a reciept in the agency there is a 12% tax by issueing me a reciept?
    I need to pay 10k for processing fee and 25k for placement fee. All my papers is ready i verified my OEC in poea and its ok even my flight ticket is confirmed too.
    I paid 25k already but when im asking for the reciept they didnt give me any and they saying when i pay the full amount a day before my flight they Will give all my documents and thats the proof of the money that i paid for.
    Please Help me To think or what should i do. Thank you

    1. Hi Louisse! You should be given a receipt once you paid for the placement fee. You should demand for the receipt otherwise, get your money back. This could be a scam so it is best to get your money right away.

  8. Hi, I received an email from an agency that I saw in POEA List, a direct hire. I am invited to attend their seminar but requiring me to pay PHP 3,600.00. Is this legit?

  9. Ma’am, are placement fees required to be paid after signing a contract? Or can it be paid in a salary-deduction mode? (Just in case I may not be able to pay for it yet while not yet deployed) Thank You!!!

    1. Hi Jordan! Placement fee should be paid AFTER signing the contract. There are agencies that prefer salary-deduction, so it is best to discuss with them kung ano ang mas magandang arrangement.

  10. Hi i am applying for caregiver in canada for direct hired but poea says that direct hired is band in canada . I go to agency and ask them how much will it cost and my agency says that 1,300 USD but they put on my papers with the amount of 1000 USD Should i give them a 1300 usd or 1000usd??

    1. Hi April! You should clarify the fees with the agency and request for a breakdown. This way, alam niyo po kung saan mapupunta ang inyong ibinayad.

  11. Hi! Meron na po akong entry visa sa kuwait then ang passport ko nsa agency, i decided na hndi na ako tutuloy sa kuwait. Makukuha ko pa ba ang passport ko? May babayaran? Thank you.

  12. Hi i met some one on facebook from uk looking for an housemaid.. I accept its offer to work for him but he told me that i will pay for the placement fee. And the rest for him. Is that true that i am the one to pay for the placement fee?

    1. Hi Merissa! We suggest that you course through your employment directly sa legitimate recruitment agencies. This could be a job scam that could compromise your safety as well. Salamat.

      1. Hello. I applied for an office work based in Abu Dhabi. Due to certain circumstances, I will not proceed any longer with my application. The employer wants me to pay the visa cancellation fee. I only signed contract woth the company, but not the contract issued with poea. Should i pay for the visa cancellatio? Thank you.

        1. Hi Des. Since you signed the contract, the employer may ask you to pay for the fees since considered na po kayo as employed. Perhaps, you may negotiate for lower fees nalang.

    2. Is it legit na pah nag back out Ang applicants or pregnant. Naapos na lahat. For booking na ung tiket. But the agency asking the reimbursement of their expenses. Ayaw PO nung cousin q na magbayad. And their telling na Ang file NG case Ang agnecy against her. Middle East PO Ang apply as a domestic helper. Is it possible na pde magdemanda Ang agency just in case hnd makapagbayad Ang cousin q? Please I need help. Thank you.

      1. Hello Moivre. The agency may seek reimbursement, especially yan na complete na ang requirements. Please coordinate with a lawyer also regarding legal remedies since sila po ang mas makakaalam kung ano ang pwede mangyari kapag umabot pa sa filing of cases. Salamat.

  13. Hi, wanted to ask how much would be the total expenses if i apply as domestic helper in hongkong, i am applying right now and we we are told that for the total processing fee including medical, training ,documentation, owwa total would be more or less Php 60,000, is this true?

    1. Hi Lhie! We’re not sure po since agency fee varies. We suggest po that you look into other agencies as well to compare fees. Thanks.

  14. Hi. Can I still backout from agency even if they processed and paid my dataflow and prometric? They want me to repeat my medical because it will expire next week and also I got a better job offer. Thanks

  15. hi, i am an ex abroad my nc2 domestic work certificate will expired on 2022, i got terminated but found an employer and signed the contract before i got back in this matter, may tied up agency sila sa pinas, they told me that i am goin to pay 25k for the training, pero hindi nila sinabi kung anong training yun. and when i got to their tied up agency in malate, its ia domesctic work nc2, same with the first training i got last 2018 ,september. sinabi ko na meron na kong training cerrtificate na pinapakuha nila saken. still they insist na mag training ako kahit pinapalagan ko na sila. hindi lang ako twice pumalag, and everytime and i asked them bakit kailangan ko pa mag train, kino kontak nila amo koat pinagagalutan ako mg employer ko. they even asked for a loan to my employer without my approval. gusto ko lang ng refund. pero ayaw nila ng i refund ung training fee ko. kapag ba nag karon ng legal case.ano pa ang chance na mananalo ako?

    1. Hello Sheanne. Unfortunately, we cannot give you a specific answer since we’re not lawyers. Please seek legal advice from a lawyer since sila po ang mas nakakaalam sa mga ganitong claims. Thanks!

  16. Hi gusto ko Lang po malaman..I have done my medical and it was ok..then the agency ask me to pay for the processing fee which cost 14k., And the placement fee is 20k..pwede po ba nila akong madaliing byaran Yung processing fee?…kc DW po for biometric..nasa kanila n po ung passport ko.. just in case pwede mag backout Wala po b akong mgging Case?..tnx in advance

  17. Hi po just I asked in directly hire in USA. Contact already come. Then I say to my sponsor. For safety only I shud bring all visa ect in poea for evaluate. He say OK. So I want to know only where I go for evaluate

    1. Hi Bellinda! There is a specific division for direct hires – Direct Hire Assistance Division (2nd floor). Please proceed there since sila po ang mag-evaluate. Thanks!

    1. Hi! We’re not familiar po kasi with the policies ng recruitment agencies. What we know is hindi po kayo pwede magbayad ng placement fee hanggat walang employment contract. Thanks!

  18. Hi I am applying on an agency. I already have my Visa and before I am deployed they suddenly asked us to undergo Language, culture and tradition familiarization training which is amounting to 12200 pesos for 3 days only. Are they allowed to asked for that big amount? Thanks.

    1. Hi Cielo! May mga free language courses sa TESDA na you can enroll 🙂 Baka pwede po yun to lessen the amount. Also, the PDOS covers culture and tradition familiarization naman po 🙂

  19. Hi just want to ask about placement fee computation. Is it must be based from monthly salary with allowances or just the basic monthly salary stated in the contract?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Julie! Usually, monthly salary stated in the employment contract, which may include allowances and other benefits po.

  20. Hi Ms. Lara. I will be working as IT staff in Taiwan. I asked the agency how much will be the placement fee. They said it will cost 60,000php. My salary is worth 44,000. Sino po ba ang magpapasahod sakin? Si agency ba or employer? And kung agency nga po may ikakaltas ba sila? Thanks.

    1. Hello Melody. Your employer should be the one paying for your salary. As to the placement fee, it’s higher than your salary. What was mandated by law was the placement fee should be equal or less than the agreed salary, so make sure you ask your agency about this.

  21. Ask ko Lang .. if makukuha ko ba Yung processing fee ko at placement fee na binayad ko once Hindi ako makapasa sa medical examination NG agency? If mahirapan ako makuha ito Sino pwede ko lapitan for legal action mabawi ko Lang lahat NG binayad ko

    1. Hello Francis. You could ask the agency concerned regarding this since baka may policy sila sa mga ganitong situations. As to legal action, lawyers are more equipped to handle that. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend one in case you need it. Thanks.

  22. Hi! Good morning!

    I applied at OPEC online and got my E-contract already, I signed it and submitted it back to them. Now, they asked me to pay $1200 for the DIC Clearance which I also paid. Austrian Embassy in Europe already accredited such payment. However, Austrian Embassy here in the Philippines sent me an email asking me to pay $925 for the NBI Internation Application Fee. Do you think the fees are reasonable?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hello there. As much as we want to help, we have no idea as to the exact fees or whether or not fees imposed are reasonable. Have you checked the website of the Austrian Embassy? Some embassies list the fees to be paid on their website.

      1. Maam lara possible po na na icancel ka ng employer dahil di na siya makapag hintay kahit bayad mo na processing fee may visa kana fit to work kana ang na delay lang ung tatak ng visa sa passport kasi 1 month pa hntay ng partner ko para sa re entry nya. Tapos ssbhn ng agency kunin na dw ung passport pero need pa mag bayad ng 1500 . Hindi po ba need nila hanapan ng employer ung partner ko dahil hnd pa naman expired ung medical nya at naka pag labas na kami ng pera. 12k po ung processing vaccine nya 1500 and medical 5k. Tapos parang ppbyaan kana lang pinapawithdraw na ung passport. May hiring pa naman sila pwede naman nila ireffer po db sa employer. Kahapon sana matatatakan na ung passport nya. Kami pa po nag update sknla tapos yun lang po ssbhn nila. Pano naman po yung nabayad namin?

        1. Hi Emms. We’re sorry to hear about this. You could ask po for reimbursement ng fees since hindi naman po natuloy. Possible din kasi na mag-cancel and employer, especially kung kailangan talaga nila ng workers nila. You may coordinate narin with the agency at baka may ibang job opening na pwede kayo para hindi naman masayang ang mga binayad.

      2. Good day! I am currently applying working Abroad. I’m done with my medical. The agency told me that I need to pay processing fee that cost 15, 000 pesos cash out plus placement fee for one month salary which is salary deduction for 5 months. My concern is regarding processing fee why it cost so expensive? Is this legal for agency to ask for processing fee to applicant going Saudi?

        1. Hi Ai! We’re not familiar po kasi regarding the processing fee of agencies. Did you ask for a breakdown of fees as well para po malaman ninyo bakit ganun kalaki? Have you tried checking with other agencies as well?

  23. Hi I’m applying the home type of job in USA.They ask me You are just paying for your registration fees which is 300$ we are the one that is going to pay for your ticket and visa fees. Please tell me i will pay or do not pay the money. Salary is 3600$

  24. Yung agency nag aask ng 12% from my salary plus ung placement fee which is one month salary. How to cpmpute the 12% is it from basic salary in peso or in currency where i will be deployed? And ung 12% na ba yun kasama na dun ang payment sa pag-ibig and philhealth? And totoo po bang halos abutin ng 4k ang medical payment? Thank you.

    1. Hi Heidee. Placement fee should be NOT more than your one month salary. Nasa batas din po na ipinagbabawal ang mga recruitment agencies na humingi ng higit pa sa inyong sweldo. Medical po will depend din sa clinic.

    2. Wat is ur agency heidee?? Even me their asking 12% of my placement fee. But as per POEA regulation not more one month salary to be collected by an agency… My agency had told me that they will call up their president regarding this vat issues since i have only one week before my flight and they just told me that 12%VAT will be going to BIR for the receipt that they issued to me.. panu po kya mairaise ang issues sa POEA? At san po sa poea pede maconfirm regarding 12% VAT?

  25. Hi… i have paid half of my placement fee a the agency and now i want to back out with the application process because of a requirement that would take 3 to 5 months of waiting. Can i take back what I have paid? Thanks

    1. Hi Kara. Looks like you need to settle this directly with your recruitment agency. You could ask their policy regarding this, particularly for refund. Pwede niyo naman po makuha yung money but depending on the agency, they may not return 100 percent po.

  26. May visa at employee na po ako pero di pa ko nakakapag training. Pinaparefund ko na po ung 20k na binayad ko. Pero sabi babayaran ko daw ung ginagastos ng agency.

    1. Hi Pheng. You could ask for a breakdown from the agency po para malaman kung ano ang mga nagastos na pwede ibawas sa 20k.

      1. Narefund ko na po,ung training fee ko.,kukunin ko na lang ung passport. Pag nagbackout ba need ko bayaran ung visa? Pinipilit kasi,nila ako ituloy ung training.

  27. Hi! Possible pa rin po kaya magwithdraw ng application kahit na tapos na ang training and medical pero hindi ka pa nakakapirma ng contract? After PDOS pa daw po magcontract signing.

    1. Hi Aiza. Did you ask the agency bakit after PDOS pa ang signing? If you plan to withdraw, you need to coordinate with your agency regarding the procedure since some impose fees po.

  28. Hi po ma’am nagback out po ako sa agency ko kasi buntis ako, komplento na po ako lahat except sa 2nd medical, ask ko lng po kung magkno ang babayaran, hndi po kasi nagrereply un agency kasi kukunin ko lng sana un passport ko

    1. Hi Teodora. Please consult the agency regarding this since we are not aware as to their respective fees. Thanks and be safe!

  29. Hi Ask ko lng po ung agency ko kasi sabi my placement fee kming bbayaran 35k, pero ung salary lng nmin ei 2000 qtari riyal and aside from that ung visa stamping in Qatar embassy it will cost 10500, kasi per document like nbi is 1750. Shoulder pa po ba nmin ung stamping visa or sa agency na? Please reply. Tnx

  30. Hi lara! I am applying also for a job in poland. My agency told me that i have to pay 70k for placement fee, 18k for processing fee, and i also have to pay for my hotel when i go for appearance in malaysia. The agency i legit i saw them licensed in poea and also i saw the job order of the job im applying for. But it seems they are charging too much and the salary for jr cook position is kinda low if it belongs to a skilled job as i know and i am a degree holder. Should i accept the offer? Please enlighten me. God bless!

    1. Hello Ronel. Hindi po ba parang masyadong malaki din ang hinihingi? The fees are high po considering the position you applied for. Baka po hindi na worth it or hindi agad mababawi.

  31. Good day Mam.Ask ko lang po regarding sa case namin Fit to work na kami tapos nakapag vaccine nah tapos nanghihingi agad sila ng placement fee 50% daw muna para ma process yung visa???At yung offer sa amin salary 25k lang tapos placement fee daw namin 32k po.Please enlighthen nyo po kami

    1. Hi Resty! Did you sign an Employment Contract already? If yes, some agencies collect the fee na to process the other requirements.

  32. Is it legit for a licenced recruitment agency to collect 3,600php mandatory fee for a sat&sun seminar so they can discuss employment details and so we can meet employer and so we can be interviewed by employer as well. They claim that they will refund the amount if we don’t like the employment package after the seminar. Sounds dubious.

    1. Hi Theresa. We’re not sure if recruitment agencies are allowed to do this. Have you checked the legitimacy of the recruitment agency at the POEA website?

    1. Hi Jay! Did you ask for a breakdown? As per POEA rules, hindi po dapat lumagpas sa one month salary ang halaga ng placement fee.

  33. Hi I have a friend she is applying for domestic helper before in the agency, which she obtained the said requirements are tesda training, owwa training, medical, passport and signing contract and biometric. Now, she back out due to some personal reasons. But now, she wants to clear her name in the said agency to get all her papers but they are asking for worth 80k. Is that really the amount she should pay?
    She badly needs help.

    1. Hi Ann. We’re not sure po kasi regarding this since agencies have their own policies. Perhaps, the agency is merley asking for reimbursement of fees. We suggest that your friend asks for a breakdown to justify the 80k.

  34. Hi Ms. Lara. Tanong ko lang po. Magkakaproblem po ba ako once iwithdraw ko ang application ko sa agency. Tapos na po ako magmedical and vaccine. Yung passport ko po and other original documents nasa akin pa. Sabe kasi ng agency may Visa na ako at hindi na ako pwede tumanggap ng ibang offer sa Saudi na may active visa na. Hindi ko po kasi alam kung may Visa na talaga. Thanks po

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