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Protecting Filipino Athletes Abroad: Labor Registration & Visa Requirements

Protecting Filipino Athletes Abroad: Labor Registration & Visa Requirements
Friday, 12 November 2021 By Mickey Ingles

With sports still sputtering to life in the Philippines because of the pandemic, Filipino players are cashing in on better opportunities abroad.

There are currently nine Filipino basketball players suiting up in the Japanese B. League,[1] all of which are playing in the top tier B1 division. These players have followed the footsteps of Thirdy Ravena, who made a name for himself as the first Filipino export to the Japanese B. League.[2]  

Three Filipino volleyball players—Marck Espejo, Jaja Santiago, and Bryan Bagunas—have also made the move to Japan to play in the Japan V[3]. League. Rounding up the list of Filipino professional athletes in Japan are Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada, who are playing in Japan’s first women professional football league, the Women Empowerment League (WE League).

While the demand for Filipino athletic talent is surging, sports agents and teams must be mindful of the legal requirements for Filipinos to work abroad as foreign imports or employees. This article discusses the legal requirements before a Filipino may be recruited to play professionally abroad.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • Registering as an Overseas Foreign Worker
  • Securing the necessary visa
  • Getting verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office
  • Securing an Overseas Employment Certificate

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Written by

Mickey Ingles

Mickey Ingles

Lawyer & Professor, Ingles Laurel Calderon & Ateneo de Manila University.

Ignatius Michael “Mickey” Ingles is a licensed Philippine attorney, and specializes in Philippine sports and tax law. He assists in the sports, corporate, and tax engagements on the Law Firm of Ingles Laurel and Calderon, a boutique law firm in Makati City, Philippines. Mickey is also a licensed attorney in the State of New York.

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