If you’ve asked around which country do most Filipinos want to visit or migrate to, you’d get several answers, but it’s unlikely that you won’t get Japan as an answer. And why not? Who doesn’t enjoy experiencing four seasons, visiting Tokyo Disneyland, or enjoying anime as much as they want?
Not many Filipinos. And in this post, we will take a closer look at the work and life of one of our kababayans working as a caregiver in Japan. We will specifically learn how much a Pinoy caregiver earns in Japan and the basic expenses they need to take care of to survive abroad. Excited to know more? Keep on reading below…
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina caregiver in Japan, Ace Wannabe on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her YouTube channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Japan.
Salary of a Pinoy Caregiver and the Cost of Living in Japan
In 2020, the Philippine government has confirmed that approximately 325,000 Filipinos live in Japan. This number shows us that Japan has been one of the most preferred work destinations among overseas Filipino workers.
OFWs in Japan find many opportunities in the field of agriculture, manufacturing, electronics, automotive, and engineering. But in the past few years, more workers in the field of healthcare are needed in Japan. This is primarily due to the growing demand for nurses and caregivers to support Japan’s aging population.
So, how much does a caregiver in Japan earn every month? Is it worth switching jobs or careers? Let us find out…
According to our resource vlogger, Ace, a Filipino caregiver’s salary in Japan varies based on factors such as experience, credentials, as well as the company they work in. In her case, she changed jobs from being an ESL specialist at a university in the Philippines to become a caregiver in Japan. She just celebrated her first year in Japan in June 2020. Her monthly salary is JPY 200,000 (Php 91,000 or USD 1,873).
That’s not so bad isn’t it? But given her experience and tenure at work, other jobs such as working in factories seem to offer better pay. Again, this all boils down to your experience, credentials, as well as the rate offered by your company.
Expenses in Japan
It’s no secret that Japan is one of the countries in Asia that has a higher cost of living. And according to Ace, her expenses are allocated to the following:
1. Social and Labor Insurance (approx. JPY 30,000)
- Employee’s Pension
- Employment Insurance
- Health Insurance
2. Income Tax (JPY 4,000, approx. USD 37.5 or Php 1,800)
Ace shares that some companies help their employees process their income tax returns. Unfortunately, her company does not. So, if you’re planning to work in Japan, this is one of the things you need to learn on your own as well if your employer will not process your income tax return for you. By filing your annual income tax return, you can save up some money every year.
3. Rent (JPY 20,000, approx. USD 187 or Php 9,178)
Ace explains that there are disadvantages to working abroad, similar to working back in the Philippines. One disadvantage she shared is that if your employer does not fulfill their end in the contract. For example, her contract mentioned that the company will shoulder her rent and accommodation expenses among other things.
Unfortunately, when she got there, she learned that she had to look for her own place to stay and ended up purchasing appliances for her living space. This is one of the reasons, she tells us, why she was still not able to save up a lot.
As a tip, do your own research when looking for an agency to apply for work in Japan. You can also do some research about the company you will be working for. You can ask other employees if the company was able to hold their end of the contract because it’s going to a shock when you end up paying for more than what your budget can accommodate, right? And just to clarify, this is not to put any company in a bad light, but let this be an eye-opener to everyone, especially for first-time OFWs, that these things do happen in real life and you need to be extra careful before accepting or signing a contract.
4. Monthly Bills (JPY 12,000, approx. USD 112 or Php 5,500)
For someone who’s living alone, Ace’s monthly bills seem to be on the more expensive end. But she tells us that most of these expenses go to her utilities, which could have been shouldered by her company had they fulfilled their end of the contract. But, just to give everyone an idea, Ace has to pay for the electricity, gas, and water, which all vary based on the season in Japan.
As you can imagine, you might consume more water in the summer, as well as use the AC longer during this season than in winter. On the other hand, you may use more hot water and end up spending more on gas or electricity during the winter.
As a tip, Ace tells us that instead of using the AC all the time, use an electric fan instead. But this still depends on how well your body can adjust to the summer heat in Japan, which, according to yearly data, has been reaching new records, almost close to the highest heat record we experience back in the Philippines.
And in the winter, instead of using the heater function of your AC, it’s better to invest in an electric blanket, which you can get for a cheaper price at second-hand stores in Japan.
The bottom line here is that try to find clever ways on how you can save up on your bills because it’s not very smart to invest in so many appliances that you can not bring home to the Philippines. Remember, the goal is to save as much as you can and to put your savings into good use or only for emergency purposes only.
5. Pocket Wifi/Internet (JPY 5,500, approx. USD 51 or Php 2,522)
Internet connection is considered a necessity in this day and age, and for someone who does not stay at home all day like Ace, a pocket Wi-Fi is the better option for you. And if you’re smart on how you use your Internet access, you can even profit from it as a freelancer, a vlogger, or an online business owner.
6. Food and Other Basic Needs (JPY 25,000, approx. USD 234 or Php 11,461)
If your eyes just went large when you saw how much a single person in Japan has to pay for food and other basic necessities in a month, let us first give you a brief background on why this is the case.
According to one of the biggest collaborative cost-of-living databases of prices in the world, Expatistan, Japan ranks 3rd among the most expensive countries in Asia (3 out of 11). And Japan’s cost of living is more expensive than 73% of countries in the world (23 out of 82).
And just to give you a clearer idea of just how much it costs to live in Japan, let’s compare Japan’s capital, Tokyo, and the Philippine capital, Manila.
Living in Tokyo, Japan is 93% more expensive than living in Manila.
And you’ll only get to appreciate this fact once you experience living in Manila and in Tokyo. However, not all cities in Japan are as expensive as Tokyo. The prices of commodities, as well as salaries, vary per prefecture, according to Ace.
So, when we do the math, a caregiver who earns JPY 200,000 will have to shell out at least JPY 96,500 per month when living in Japan. Ace’s take-home pay is now at JPY 103,500 (approx. USD 969 or Php 47,450). She uses this money to pay for her loans, advanced purchases (a new iPhone 10), remittances in the Philippines, and her savings.
If you think finding work in Japan is difficult, think about living and sustaining yourself alone abroad. It will certainly give you a more informed perspective and help you better prepare for the adjustments of living abroad as an OFW in Japan. You may be earning significantly more than you will ever do in the Philippines, but the cost of living abroad is one of the disadvantages of living as an OFW. Because of this, you need to be very smart and careful in terms of your living expenses.
You cannot be living per paycheck. You need to seriously consider improving your skills and finding better ways to earn more and increase your savings for the future. If you can remain on top of your finances every month, then consider yourself to be in the right path, and one of the more successful OFWs out there.
Are you interested in working as a caregiver in Japan? What do you think would be your immediate challenges when you become an OFW living in Japan? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment in the section below!
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