Working Remotely FROM the Philippines

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Posted

Hi guys!

I have been to the Philippines several times and have many Filipino friends there. I am looking to semi-move to the Cebu area in the next few months. (By semi-move, I mean that I will spend maybe six to nine months a year in the Philippines and three to six months back in the U.S.)

I own a small U.S. based software company and am fortunate to also have a trustworthy partner who is capable of running the day-to-do operations without me.

However, I have no interest in retiring now, and I do want to remain active in my company and continue working from within the Philippines. By working, I specifically mean that I want to continue writing software, interfacing (remotely) with clients, collaborating with my partner, etc.

I am interested in renting/leasing an office in I.T. park so that I can effectively maintain somewhat of a normal routine while abroad. Additionally, I need to be in a near brownout-free environment where I have 24 hour access to Internet as needed--as my business is very Internet-centric. I.T. park appears to have the most stable power and Internet outside of Makati so it is the right place for me.

I don't know what limitations there might be on my working remotely for my own company back in the U.S., whether it is legal for me to lease an office, if I might be allowed to hire an assistant or two. I absolutely do not want to run afoul of the Bureau of Immigration, do not want to be fined, and most definitely do not want to get blacklisted. I absolutely want to do everything as above board as possible to avoid even any trouble.

Has anyone else had experience with working from within the Philippines and especially from within Cebu? Do you know where I might find specific regulations that govern this type of remote working activity? Can you offer any advice?

I am quite thankful for any assistance you may be able to provide. Thank you in advance for your help!

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Posted

Welcome to the forum

Firstly when copy and pasting paste as plain text to avoid those grey areas behind the text for easier reading.

I live in the IT park and the power has gone off in certain areas at times but not recently. All buildings here have their own generators. There is a software company operating here in Eblock you might like to talk to.

If you are running a business here whether remote or not you will need the normal business permits as you have staff in an office from what you say. Remembering that foreigners cannot own a business unless its a corporation where 60 % is Filipino owned . But there are other options for companies registered outside of the Philippines but you need more than what our opinions are to do that.

If you yourself are going to be working here then you need the correct type of visa. Many if's but another possibility is if you employ 10 or more you can get a special visa which will allow you to do that. Lot of issues to overcome and I dont know if your married to a Filipina or not but that would help. 

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Posted
3 hours ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Lot of issues to overcome

Sure are!  That is a massive topic for an introductory post.  I would also want to know if the poster is married to a filipina because a 13a Marriage visa would help.

 

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Posted

I wrote software for the transportation (trucking) industry when I lived in the US.  When I retired and moved here I agreed to continue to work for my company on a consultant basis for six to twelve months for the sake of continuity.  If it were "just you with no employees", I think you would be fine anywhere you could maintain fast internet and reliable power.  Even here in the province I was able continue helping them for 2 1/2 years.  Even in the beginning it was unusual to work more than 20 hours/week so my situation may not relate to yours entirely.  My point is if you can do without help, in your own living space, and all your clients are in the USA - no problems.  Lease space and/or hire help and the challenges will quickly grow.  Labor laws here for example are probably much different than what you will find in the US, not to mention the culture difference between supervisor/employee.  For me the only real issue was the time difference, providing live support to the west coast was midnight to 8 AM here.  Some of my most pleasant memories here are sitting at an outside table looking out over the water, sipping a cold one, and writing code on my laptop.  And getting PAID FOR IT, how could life get any sweeter than that. :thumbsup:

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Posted

Definitely can't do that on a tourist visa.

You can own 100% of a Filipino company if it's over 60% exporting, e.g selling your software to foreigners.

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Posted

I'm almost the same, I stay in the Philippines with a 30 day visa each time, I travel around 10 days per month, split in to 2 trips, as my work is in the middle East and other Asian countries, so when I'm here I'm just a keyboard warrior and lazy.... , I spoke to the Philippine embassy in Dubai, they informed me as I'm not engaged in work in the Philippines but overseas, I can work this way as long as I dont overstay my Visa, so far 6 months and no issue. 

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Posted

I manage my affairs from the Philippines. I don't Actually do business IN the Philippines. I do have two personal assistants/keepers. Just in case I go all Johnny Weissmuller. I gave them the slip Friday as a test and told them they have to be more vigilant.

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Posted
1 hour ago, robert k said:

I don't Actually do business IN the Philippines.

Exactly so really there is no answer from you to this topic. The point is yes you can sit in front of a computer and direct business anywhere in the world but the day you have an office here things change. 

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Posted
5 hours ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

The point is yes you can sit in front of a computer and direct business anywhere in the world

So bloggers like "Ree-Kay" sp?  are not working here? He sits in front of a camera all day and makes a living from it.  I have often wondered if that is considered working in the Philippines so since you offer this definition then how do you feel about this type of blogger, OR more importantly, how would you think the BI or the DTI or the BIR would view this activity.

Let's examine some of the common points all these bloggers have.

1) They are video documenting or writing about (and in) Philippines.  So they are physically here and physically doing some form of "work?"

2) They all have their websites or channels located in other countries to say they are working remotely.

3) They all have income from these sites deposited from a foreign source.

My personal opinion is that they are not "gainfully employed" in Philippines any more than a CNN reporter would be if he/she came here to cover a story, but my opinion counts for squat when the person is in front of a deportation committee.

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Posted

Working for your company outside the Philippines is fine...  You can rent office space to use as long as it's for your own use BUT it can only be a temporary office space and not a full term leased office...  And no company employees...  

As an author living with really sad internet, I sometimes needed better facilities...  So a temporary office space was needed...  I did get some looks at BI when I asked about producing an occasional show or 2 for a Canadian radio station while using computer for a remote set-up here in the Philippines...  But it was ok as long as it's just me working out of another country...

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