Countries to Consider if You're Thinking of Leaving PH

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Best Countries to Consider if You Want to Move Out of the Philippines

Whether it’s an escape to the scorching heat, a chance at greener pastures, or a desire to start life anew, migration (or immigration in many cases) is an attractive option. But despite the incentives—and sometimes prestige—that come with relocating to another country, it doesn’t happen easily. You need the right skills, enough funds, and a stamina that can weather heartbreaks and rejections before you can score that much-coveted ticket to a new life. Factors such as show money and waiting time depend on which countries you are planning to immigrate to from the Philippines. In many cases, luck plays (and good timing) in it, too. To help tilt the options to your favor, The Beat Asia listed down countries to consider if you want to move out of the Philippines.


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Migrate to Australia From the Philippines

Filipinos are the fifth largest migrant community in Australia, accounting for 3.9% of the country’s overseas-born population and 1.2% of its total population, according to the Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs.

Paths to relocation

  • Skill Stream Visa: This is for workers “who have the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy.” To see the list and types of workers sought, check out this page. Qualified workers must find a sponsor or secure a government nomination. You can also look for an employer through the SkillSelect program, which matches skilled workers with employers looking for foreign-national workers.
  • Family and Child Stream Visa: This path enables close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens to permanently migrate to Australia. It covers partners and parents, as well as aged dependent relatives, carers, remaining relatives and orphan relatives.
  • Special Eligibility Visa: This is for former residents and certain people who served in the Australian Defence Force.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: For employer nomination scheme (direct entry pathway), the processing time may take 12 to 25 months. This may vary depending on the type of visa. For partners, children, or orphans, it ranges from 29 to 76 months.

How much money should you prepare: P280,000

Average monthly salary: P125,000

Cost of Living Ranking: 7th

Click here for more information

Migrate to Japan From the Philippines

Japan was the third destination countries of Filipino emigrants between 1981 and 2018, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Filipinos also constitute one the largest English-speaking populations in Japan.

Paths to relocation

  • Work visa: A job offer from a Japan-based company (sponsor) is required before applying for a work visa. Your sponsor must apply to Japan’s Regional Immigration Bureau for your certificate of eligibility, which is needed for the Japanese work residence permit. A work visa is valid for three months up to five years, depending on the conditions.
  • Point-based system for highly skilled professionals: Your will be assessed and earn points depending on academic background, employment background, and annual income. Highly skilled foreign professionals in Japan are categorized into three: Advanced academic research activities, Advanced specialized/technical activities, and Advanced business and management activities. This has more benefits than the work visa route, but the competition is much more cutthroat. You need to score 70 points or higher to get preferential immigration treatment.
  • Student visa: Residence permission is allowed between three months and four years for student visa holders. Students need to obtain permission from the immigration office if they wish to engage in paid activities.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: Five to 10 working days for the work visa and up to three months for the Certificate of Eligibility

How much money should you prepare: P150,000

Average monthly salary: P125,300

Cost of living ranking: 15th

Click here for more information

Migrate to South Korea From the Philippines

Ah, the land of Hallyu. South Korea has become a favorite tourist destination owing to its popularity in pop culture. We won’t be surprised if you’re planning to relocate to this country in the hopes of reliving your favorite K-drama. Many of our Filipino workers in this country land a job as an English teacher or in the electronics and manufacturing industry.

Paths to relocation

  • Professional and non-professional visa: Depending on your skills and academic background, you can apply for a work visa in South Korea. Here are some of the common types of a professional visa:
  • C-4 – A short-term visa allowing you to work there for 90 days
  • D-10 – Want to move to Korea without a job? This visa is for you. D-10, however, is difficult to obtain and is often reserved for individuals with impressive academic background who wish to contribute to the South Korean economy.
  • E-1, 2, 3 – This is for professors, foreign language instructors, and researchers.
  • E-5 – This is for professionals in the fields of law, medicine, accounting, and others with an international license.
  • F-2 – This is the next step if you have been living in South Korea for at least five years and want to reside there permanently. It is a points-based system, requiring at least 80 points out of 120 to qualify.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: Two weeks to two months

How much money should you prepare: P150,000

Average monthly salary: P160,900

Cost of living ranking: 27th

Migrate to New Zealand From the Philippines

Filipinos are the third-largest Asian population in New Zealand. As of a 2018 census, more than 72,600 Filipinos were living in the country, equivalent to 1.5% of its population. With a low crime rate, a dynamic culture, and gorgeous natural assets, New Zealand is an attractive option for relocation.

Paths to relocation

  • Study: New Zealand has four visa options for students who wish to come to the country to study. One of which allows you to study up to three consecutive courses on a single student visa while working.
  • Work/Permanent Living: New Zealand welcomes skilled migrants like farm managers and engineers. They have a range of visas depending on one’s qualifications. For example, the Long-Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa allows you to work in New Zealand and apply for permanent residency after two years. Most of these visas require that you already have a job offer prior to your application.
  • Join a family: You can also apply for a visitor visa (nine-month stay), residency, or a work visa if a qualified relative is a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand.

Visa processing timeframe: Three to six months

How much money should you prepare: NZ$4,200 (roughly P140,000)

Average monthly salary: P155,000

Cost of Living Ranking: 9th

Click here for more information

Migrate to Canada From the Philippines

As of April 2018, there were 901,218 Filipinos in Canada, made up of a mix of naturalized Canadians, permanent residents, and temporary foreign workers, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Canada’s impressive healthcare system, high-quality of living, and natural wonders make it a favorite country for relocation by different nationalities.

Paths to relocation

  • Express Entry Program: This is a permanent residence opportunity for skilled migrants. If you are eligible, you will be ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System, a points-based system to assess and score your profile. Your educational attainment, language proficiency, and work experience are all part of the assessment.
  • Family Class Sponsorship Program: Adult permanent residents or citizens of Canada can sponsor a qualified relative (limited to dependent child, spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner) for immigration to the country.
  • Study Permit: This program lets foreigners study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). A permit may include a clause allowing you to work on or off campus while studying. You may also apply for another permit if you wish to stay in Canada or find work there after completing your course.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: Six months or less for Express Entry applications with complete documents.

How much money should you prepare: At least C$13,310, plus C$3,586 for each additional family member (or roughly P543,000)

Average monthly salary: P132,700

Cost of living ranking: 18th

Click here for more information

Migrate to the United States From the Philippines

Achieving the American dream appears to be the ultimate aspiration for many Filipinos as the United States remains the most attractive destination for millions of us. The Filipino population in the U.S. stood at 4.2 million as of 2019, nearly doubling its numbers from nine years ago and making up 18% of the Asian population in the U.S.

Paths to relocation

Employment-based visa (E1-E5): This usually requires a prior job offer from a U.S. employer. The categories are priority workers and persons with extraordinary ability such as outstanding professors or multinational managers at a branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company (E1); professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability (E2); skilled and unskilled (like seasonal roles) workers and professionals (E3); certain special immigrants such as religious ministers and Iraqi and Afghan translators (E4); and immigrant investors (E5).

Based on the approved petition, the petitioner's spouse and children aged below 21 years old may also receive an immigrant visa.

Family-based visa: You can apply for permanent residency in the U.S. if you are the spouse, child, parent, or sibling of a U.S. citizen

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: May take one to two years including the work permit

How much money should you prepare: P300,000 to P400,000

Average monthly salary: P230,000

Cost of living ranking: 17th

Click here for more information

Migrate to Spain From the Philippines

Did you know that Filipinos can apply for Spanish citizenship after only two continuous years of legal residency in Spain (10 years for non-Filipinos). Ah, the perks of being a former colony. Here’s what you need to know if you want to migrate to Spain from the Philippines.

Paths to relocation

Highly skilled and seasonal workers visa: Non-EU citizens may look for a job tagged under “Shortage Occupation.” Their employer must file for a work visa on their behalf. The accommodation and travel costs are also typically covered by the employer. For seasonal workers, the work permit is valid for nine months per calendar year.

EU Blue Card: This allows the holder to work and reside in European Union countries. In Spain, the validity of this card is one year. To apply, you must have a valid work contract or a binding job offer for highly qualified employment and meet the minimum salary threshold of €33,908.

Visa for Au Pairs: This entry path is for those who want to stay with a host family in Spain and help them with light chores or childcare. You must be aged 17 to 30 years old, know basic Spanish, have no child, and find a host family before application. Au pairs are given pocket money and are entitled to free days per week.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: Like other countries, Spain asks the applicants to secure a work permit before applying for a work visa. The work permit may be processed by up to eight months.

How much money should you prepare: P200,000

Average monthly salary: PHP152,500

Cost of living ranking: 30th

Click here for more information

Migrate to Sweden From the Philippines

Sweden is rated as one of the world’s happiest countries, thanks to its quality of living. The country is an economic powerhouse, translating into impressive health, education, and transportation systems. In particular, its capital city of Stockholm is a favorite destination among freelancers and digital nomads.

Paths to relocation

Work visa: Non-EU nationals must secure a job offer before moving to Sweden. To be granted a work permit, the monthly salary for the offer should be at least SEK13,000 before taxes. The offer should also include health and life insurance, as well as social security.

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: Work permits of expats employed by a Swedish firm usually takes up to three months.

EU Blue Card: This path is for highly skilled individuals who have at least five years of relevant professional experience or have 180 university credits.

ICT Permit: This is for expats who are working for a company outside the EU and are planning to relocate to the Swedish branch or subsidiary of the said company.

How much money should you prepare: P150,000 to P200,000

Average monthly salary: P159,000

Cost of living ranking: 13th

Click here for more information

Migrate to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) From the Philippines

The UAE has seven Emirates, namely Abu Dhabi (capital), Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al-Quwain, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah. It is known for its excellent education, health, and transportation systems. More than 16% of the 1.77 million overseas Filipino workers recorded between April and September 2020 were from the UAE.

Paths to Relocation

To live as a resident in the UAE, a foreigner must do any of the following:

-be employed by a company in the UAE

-be employed by the government sector

-be an investor in a business in the UAE

-buy a property in the UAE

-be dependents sponsored by any of the above

-be university students sponsored by their universities in the UAE

-or be retired residents

To apply for a residence visa, applicants must be 18 and above, undergo a medical test, apply for a security check, and apply for an Emirates ID card. Residence visa validity ranges from one to 10 years.

Abu Dhabi's creative visa: This visa aims to increase opportunities for residency and employment for professionals endorsed by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and who specialise in either heritage, performing arts, visual arts, design and crafts, gaming and e-sports, and media and publishing. 

UAE Golden Visa: A long-term residency visa that allows foreign talents to live, work, or study in the UAE with exclusive benefits. Beneficiaries are usually investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes. 

Remote work visa: The one-year remote work visa allows talents to live in the UAE while working for their existing employer outside the UAE under self-sponsorship.  

Visa and work permit processing timeframe: A month or so if all requirements are submitted

How much money should you prepare: P250,000 to P300,000

Average monthly salary: P281,000

Cost of living ranking: 34th

The cost of living is based on a ranking of 167 countries by online database The Global Economy. Click here to see the complete ranking.

The estimated money to prepare includes the processing fee of visa and work permit applications and the cost of living (including rent) for one month.

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