Maximize Your Remote Workforce in the Philippines and Singapore: Essential Equipping Tips
Talent is everywhere. Remote work, in particular, has allowed companies to find their best hires virtually anywhere. Just look at the Philippines and Singapore, two attractive locations for global firms to maximize their remote workforce.
Just as digital nomads flood Southeast Asian beaches thanks to flexible visa programs, organizations are flocking to the region to find top talent. And there's no sign of slowing down.
According to data from Gartner, in 2025, more than 35% of all workers worldwide will be remote. The global talent pool is more accessible than ever.
Filipino and Singaporean workers are sought after for their strong work ethic, solid educational background, and high English proficiency.
Both nations are popular destinations for businesses looking to outsource their workforces, and both countries have developed robust digital infrastructures to support remote workers.
If your company is looking to tap into the talent pool in the Philippines and Singapore, here are a few considerations for onboarding and setting up your remote teams.
What Do You Need To Equip Remote Workers in the Philippines?
A young, vibrant country with a growing economy and population of more than 100 million, the Philippines has been a significant player in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry for years.
This industry contributes almost $30 billion annually to the country's economy. In 2019, an estimated 1.3 million Filipinos were employed in more than a thousand BPO companies, and that figure grows 8-10% every year, according to Nexford University.
After the pandemic, companies in the BPO industry started to adopt permanent work-from-home arrangements and were later backed by Government tax incentives. Remote work is now an accepted strategy in the country and also a highly coveted one.
So how do you procure equipment for your remote team in the Philippines? There are some key considerations you need to keep in mind.
According to the ITA, the Philippines ranks low in the region for internet penetration, connectivity, and speed. But there’s been progress in recent years due to USAID's investment to improve internet connectivity.
Data recorded by Ookla’s Speedtest in August 2020 placed the country in the 119th spot out of 139 for mobile downloads and 106th out of 174 for broadband. In January 2023, the country ranked 82 out of 138 for mobile downloads and 41 out of 179 for broadband.
However, the ITA still cites that cybersecurity remains a concern for the country, so companies hiring Filipino talent must double down on security compliance.
If shipping from the United States, consider that express courier services will take 2-4 days to reach your destination. In contrast, an economy courier service will deliver your package in 5 to 8 days.
All major international couriers ship to the Philippines, but parcel cost will depend on the weight, dimensions, and mail class. Because it is an island in Southeast Asia, the Philippines' complicated addresses can be problematic for delivery services.
Shipping computer equipment is not specified by the list of restricted goods the Filipino Government has. However, you might encounter airfreight restrictions for lithium-ion batteries regarding labeling and limiting the number of battery shipments on a plane per flight.
You can ship goods up to PHP 10,000 to the Philippines without paying taxes. But, goods that exceed this value are subject to a 12% VAT levied by customs authorities.
For certain products, you will need to pay customs duty on imports, which is calculated as a percentage of the import’s cost, insurance, and freight. Note that computers and laptops have a 0% customs duty.
What Should You Consider for Setting up Remote Employees in Singapore?
Singapore is a global financial center and a top destination for businesses looking to expand their reach in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, talent in this country is highly skilled, which makes them even more attractive to global companies.
According to the World Economic Forum, the country has made significant efforts to provide its citizens with a fulfilling career, translating into hefty investment in primary to tertiary education.
The Singaporean government also offers lifelong learning opportunities, $500 credits toward specific training programs for citizens over 25, and subsidized courses.
For organizations looking to tap into the Singaporean talent pool, here are a few considerations when equipping your workforce.
Singapore's reputation as a technology innovation hub is unparalleled, and the country has attracted many global tech giants, like Amazon, Google, and Facebook, to establish regional headquarters there.
The country has been dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Asia” and, in 2021, grabbed the first spot in KPMG’s global ranking of leading tech innovation hubs outside of San Francisco.
Singapore places particular emphasis on developing fulfilled citizens in their careers. According to the World Economic Forum, the government provides free education from primary to secondary to tertiary levels. Singapore's bilingual education policy means that the workforce is proficient in English and at least one other language, such as Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu, or Tamil.
When shipping products to Singapore, businesses must obtain a customs permit and ensure that shipments adhere to the Customs Act, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, and the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act. This means you must obtain a permit before shipping goods to the country.
The tax-free threshold is SGD 400, and any imported goods valued above this will attract GST and duty. While most products are non-dutiable, businesses must pay a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 7% of the CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) value on imported intoxicating liquors, tobacco products, motor vehicles, and petroleum products. Government-prohibited products for import do not include computers or laptops.
Work With a Procurement Partner Who Has Established Relationships in the Philippines and Singapore
Tapping into the highly skilled workforces in the Philippines and Singapore can be a significant advantage for global companies in terms of costs and efficiency. However, setting up those employees can come with unique challenges.
Once you have the talent you need, all that’s left is setting them up with proper equipment. But dealing with customs for international shipping can be daunting and stressful. The stakes are high when you need equipment for your newly onboarded talent on their first day.
When you use GroWrk, you don’t have to worry about anything. We do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what’s most important to your business.