MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - If you are looking for a job not too far away from the Philippines, then Japan may just be the host country for you.
Jeng Dela Cruz, administrative officer of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Japan, said there are opportunities for Filipino workers in Japan, a country around 4 hours away by plane from the Philippines, even if Japan is essentially still a closed job market for foreigners.
"Marami po tayong household workers dito. Meron din po tayong skilled workers like engineers," she said in an interview with DZMM on Wednesday.
Dela Cruz clarified that although Japan has not opened its labor market to household workers and drivers, Filipinos can be hired directly by diplomats.
"Ang nakakakuha lang ng household workers ang mga diplomat dito," she said.
Filipino engineers, on the other hand, have special arrangements with the companies they work for in Japan.
"May mga employers na sila dito, directly kinukuha sila from the Philippines, may visa na, inaapplayan na ng employer dito sa Japan," she said.
Others go through recruitment agencies duly accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
"Through them, nakakakuha sila ng skilled workers," she said.
There are also job opportunities for English teachers.
Dela Cruz said an entry level teacher may earn an average of ¥150,000 (approximately P65,000) while household service workers are paid between 120,000 to ¥150,000 (P52,000 to P65,000), depending on their employers.
"Meron po dito [household worker] nagpa-verify ng contract and sweldo niya ¥300,000 (approximately P130,000)," said Dela Cruz.
Filipino drivers, on the other hand, are most preferred by employers in Japan and earn an average of ¥200,000 (P87,000).
"Karamihan sa mga Filipino drivers natin they drive for the ambassadors, mga diplomat po. Marunong mag English ang mga Pinoy drivers," she said.
A college degree is not a necessity if one is applying for a driver's position, she said, as long as the applicant can speak English.
"Tayo naman po nakakapag communicate ng English," she added.
Meanwhile, there are still Filipinos who work in Japan as entertainers, but they are no longer just dancers.
"Every month mayroon pa din dumadating. Nagko-concentrate sila sa mga probinsya tulad ng Fukushima, Hiroshima pero dito sa Tokyo, mga tatlo lang po ang promoters dito na nagha-hire ng entertainers, mga banda pa po," she said.
But Dela Cruz advises potential applicants to only trust agencies which are POEA-accredited. Check the POEA website for a complete list of accredited recruitment agencies.