If I retire in the Philippines, will I be able to work or start a small business?

Foreign retirees entering the Philippines with plans to become permanent residents may start a business or work once they obtain permanent residency status. Permanent residents of the Philippines never need to reapply, and permanent resident visas never expire. Depending on retirement age, an investment or condo purchase is required before foreigners gain a visa for retirement living. The cost of living in the Philippines is lower than that of the United States, so the investment required is comparatively small. Starting a business for as little as $125 is possible, and foreigners are allowed to own part or all of many different business types. Finding employment in the Philippines is difficult for foreigners, as the unemployment rate is high and jobs are typically reserved for locals. Securing a job with a corporation and receiving sponsorship from that company to obtain a visa makes the process of relocating to the Philippines easier.

Visa requirements start with a financial investment or condo purchase. Retirees age 35 and older may obtain an SRRV smile visa by depositing $20,000 in a local bank and leaving it invested throughout their stay. There are no income requirements for this visa. An investment of $50,000 or more grants an SRRV classic visa to anyone age 35 to 49. This requirement is also met by purchasing a condo with a price of $50,000 or greater. Retirees age 50 and older must invest $10,000 and have a pension income of $800 a month for individuals. Couples must have $1,000 a month in pension income to be eligible.

Starting a business in the Philippines has unique implications for foreigners. Some industries allow up to 40% foreign ownership of businesses, while others allow foreigners to own businesses outright. Many foreigners start business back-office processing companies and receive outsourced work from businesses abroad. Foreigners may own this type of business. Retail businesses require a minimum of $2.5 million to invest and are not as popular of an investment for foreign retirees. Being married to a citizen of the Philippines provides some advantages for foreign entrepreneurs and opens opportunities to a bigger range of industries.

Finding employment is possible but difficult. Foreign retirees can legally find employment in the Philippines, unlike many other popular retirement destinations such as Thailand. Corporations inside the Philippines may sponsor visas for foreign employees, and others may find local employment online before entering the country. Competition is strong for available positions within the Philippines, and securing a new job is difficult and may be restricted. Freelance work for travel companies and magazines is a significant source of employment available to many foreigners. A variety of professional work is available, but there is often substantial paperwork involved in the hiring process. Retirees looking for work should begin the job search early and be patient.