Hiring Filipino Workers

What costs are there to employers when hiring Filipino workers?

The recruitment process is very different when you’re looking at hiring from the Philippines: it’s highly regulated and monitored by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Their rules demand a full settlement and support package, plus on-going pastoral care for Filipinos working in New Zealand. Because of this, there are additional costs to employers when hiring Filipino workers.

Costs and obligations when hiring Filipino workers

Here’s an overview of what employers need to do and pay for when you hire Filipino workers:

  • Recruitment agency fees are your responsibility, as are the costs involved in trade/skills testing, the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), and POEA processing fees.
  • NZ visa application fees, including any professional service fees. Read more about visas for Filipinos.
  • Return airfare for the worker.
  • Meeting the worker at the airport – or have someone meet them on your behalf.
  • Accompanying the worker to their accommodation and settle them in.
  • Paying for accommodation costs for at least the first two to four weeks.
  • It’s also recommended to provide new arrivals with a meal, some groceries, and information on their local area. While this isn’t compulsory, your employees are your responsibility while they’re in your care. Although you don’t need to feed them on an on-going basis, it’s best practice to provide food until they are able to purchase food themselves. It’s a small cost for the value the worker will provide to your business. Remember too, that they are unlikely to have much, if any, money until they receive their first wage payment.
  • Providing transportation to and from the workplace for the start of their employment. Any form of transport is fine, including bicycle or on foot, if it’s close and safe. RecruitNZ prefer to recruit workers who have a current driver’s licence, so migrant workers can be more independent while they’re in New Zealand. That said, some employers provide a shuttle vehicle to pick workers up each day, and then take them home again after work.
  • Provide orientation briefings and employment-related information to help new employees understand any industry-specific hazards, as well as their employment rights. Site safety and induction training is also required.
  • Ensure your new migrant worker has time to complete Employment New Zealand’s online modules. This must be done within one month of beginning their employment as the holder of an Accredited Employer Work Visa. The modules help migrants learn about their employment rights, which helps to avoid potential disagreements. You need to keep a record of when your migrant workers have completed the modules in case you need to provide evidence of this.
  • When you hire workers from the Philippines, you also need to provide information and help with regards to finding somewhere to live; how to access health care; how to locate public transport; and getting an IRD number.
  • Mandatory repatriation insurance for the length of their visa. This covers emergency medical evacuation to their home country, should they need it.
  • PPE gear needs to be provided and paid for by the employer.
  • Wages: these need to be fair compensation compared to other workers in your business, and not more than the market rate. And like all other employees, they are entitled to paid sick leave and annual leave. Note that there is no KiwiSaver provision for Filipino workers, as they’re not New Zealand residents.

RecruitNZ sends all our Filipino recruits a welcome gift pack, which includes a SIM card with a $30 credit, plus a RecruitNZ cooler pack, drink bottle, and beanie. Workers also receive on-going pastoral care from us via a dedicated support group on Facebook.

Costs that the Filipino employee needs to pay for

Here’s what Filipino employees will need to pay for:

  • Passport application/renewal.
  • Medical examination.
  • Police clearance certificate.
  • Authentication/notarisation of documents.
  • Living expenses and set up costs.
  • Philippine Administration Fees: Pag, Ibig, OWWA and PhilHealth.


Hiring Filipino workers involves extra processes, costs, and pastoral care. In our experience, this more than pays for itself when you gain an experienced and motivated employee.

What our clients say about RecruitNZ

“Our concrete company engaged the services of RecruitNZ to help us find some Filipino concrete contractors to join our busy company. We have been extremely happy with the process that RecruitNZ has in place and were fully informed of what was happening the whole way through this journey. It is not a quick process and we could not have done this without a company like RecruitNZ on board to sort out all the legal requirements needed to employ someone from the Philippines. We would recommend this process to anyone looking to employ someone from the Philippines as we are more than happy with our two new workers. We are now looking to employ a few more candidates in the near future to help us grow our company.”

Jodie Wallen - Wallen Concreting Limited

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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