How Much Do OFWs Spend to Work Abroad?

While the job of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) might appear glamorous and exciting for many, there reality actually involves a lot of hard work and sacrifices. Plus, most OFWs actually spend a lot of money even before they can work abroad.

Many Filipinos dream of working abroad because they know that the salary outside the Philippines is much higher than what they would receive in the Philippines. But many do not realize that these OFWs also have to shell out a lot of money before they actually get to work outside the country. Many also get duped by unscrupulous individuals who prey on innocent OFW-hopefuls, asking them for a lot of money but not really processing their papers properly.

If you are planning to work abroad, it is important to know how much OFWs spend to work abroad. This will give you an idea how much you have to actually pay your recruiter or recruitment agency.

Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

Depending on the job you are applying for and the country of employment, you could shell out as low as Php28,000 to as high as more than Php350,000, the Migrant Forum in Asia estimates according to ABS-CBN News.

Documentary Requirements

All aspiring OFWs need to pass various documentary requirements. Take note of these fees (a close estimate to what you need to pay):

  • Barangay and police clearances: amount varies
  • Birth certificate in security paper from the PSA (formerly NSO): Php330
  • Medical exams: amount varies per clinic, depending on tests required
  • Pag-ibig (HDMF) Contribution: Php100
  • Passport: Php950 (regular application) or Php1,200 (express application)
  • PhilHealth Contribution: Php2,400
  • SSS Contribution: amount varies, ranging from Php960 to Php2,400 per month

Placement Fees

Recruitment agencies are actually allowed to collect placement fees. Take note, however, that the fee should not exceed one month’s worth of the OFW’s basic salary! Moreover, caregivers, household workers, and seafarers are actually exempted from paying placement fees.

These countries also don’t require placement fees:

  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • UK
  • US (under H2B visa)

Photo credit: TTG MICE

Processing Fees

While the fees and requirements above should be paid for by the aspiring OFW, the following processing fees should be shouldered by the foreign employers, according to the POEA:

  • OWWA membership fee
  • POEA processing fee
  • Residence permit
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Transportation from the airport to the job site or employer’s home
  • Visa, including the stamping fee
  • Work permit

Don’t be fooled by the false promises given by fake recruiters and recruitment agencies – and don’t pay extra for the fees you don’t actually have to pay for in any recruitment agency!