Many Filipinos were confused by Balik Manggagawa (BM). This is why the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) (former Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) clarifies the meaning and the benefits you can avail of it.
The word Balik which means return, and Manggagawa, or workers, is exclusive to returning Overseas Filipino Workers. Returning OFWs are Filipinos who work abroad and are going back to the Philippines to have a vacation. This means that they still intend to return to work overseas after their leave. To complete or extend their contract with the same or different employers. First-time OFWs are not considered Balik Manggagawa, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). The DMW released specific criteria to be considered a Balik Manggagawa:
- Documented returning Overseas Filipino Workers
- Documented returning Overseas Filipino Workers who have changed employers on-site in the same country
- Documented returning Overseas Filipino Workers who have changed job-site in a different country
- Documented Overseas Filipino Workers who are returning to the same company/employer at the same job site but in a different job position.
- Undocumented returning workers that have not registered previously with POEA or have no existing record on POLO or DMW POEA database (such as former students, exchange programs participants, au pairs, or tourists)
For OFWs under two (2) and five (5) must submit employment documents to POLO-WDC for verification.
Overseas Filipino Worker Vs. Balik Manggagawa
Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs refer to Filipinos who work outside the Philippines, whether land-based or sea-based, and first-timers or returning workers. While Balik Manggagawa (BM) refers to Filipino workers who are returning to their job overseas. They have already been deployed abroad and
Filipino workers who were not deployed by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) abroad or haven’t processed their documents can’t be classified as Balik Manggagawa.
Overseas Employment Certificate Exemption
The Overseas Employment Certificate, or OEC, is an important document for OFWs. The Balik Mangagagawa Program gives exemptions to OFWs who already have records in the DMW database or OFWs returning to their employers and jobs.
If you are a first-timer or didn’t qualify as Balik Manggagawa, you can apply for Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) at the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) offices or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in your host country.
Overseas Employment Certificate Requirements
For Balik Manggagawa workers who are qualified for Overseas Employment Certificate exemption, here is the list of requirements you need:
- POPS-BaM e-Registration account (valid email address for new users)
- DMW e-Registration account with complete information
- Passport Data
- Passport Image
- Profile Image
- PagIBIG (MID) Data
- Beneficiary Data
For Balik Manggagawa workers who didn’t qualify for the Overseas Employment Certificate exemption, they need to apply for OEC at the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) offices or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices. Here is the list of requirements they need:
- POPS-BaM Appointment form
- BM Information Sheet
- Copy of the photo page of the passport with at least six (6) months of validity.
- Valid Employment Pass and re-entry Visa
- Valid Work Visa, Work Permit, or any equivalent document
- POLO verified Employment Contract
- Copy of confirmed 2-way airline ticket or travel agent-agency-issued itinerary
- Proof of active OWWA membership (official receipt or certificate of coverage)
- Company ID, employment certificate, or latest payslip
- Letter from the employer confirming the worker’s transfer to a job site (for BM workers with existing POEA records returning to the same employer but in a different job site)
- Sworn Statement explaining how the worker obtained employment (for FM workers without existing POEA records who have changed employers on-site)
Note that all documents must be submitted in two (2) copies; original and photocopy.
Balik Manggagawa Benefits
For those qualified Balik Manggagawa workers, here is the list of benefits they can avail of:
- BM workers don’t need to endure long lines just to submit a long list of requirements to get their OEC.
- BM workers don’t need to be physically present in DMW or POLO offices to get their exit clearance.
- OEC is available online thru the POPS-BaM portal for BM workers
- No processing fee for qualified BM workers.
Balik Manggagawa Online
If you have an old BM online account or a new user, you need to create a new account, as the old BM Online Processing System is no longer in use by the DMW. They created a new Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM). To register, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Go to the new Balik Manggagawa portal or POPS-BaM or click this
Step 2: Click the “Let’s Go” on the e-Registration.
Step 3: For new users, click the “Register.”
Step 5: Fill out the Registration Form for New Account. Make sure to write the correct information.
- First name
- Middle name
- Last name
- Suffix name
- Email Address (Username)
- Birthday date
Step 6: Click the “Register” button. Check the information you entered. If all the information is correct, click the “Yes” button.
Step 7: Wait for the confirmation to appear. When the “Account Creation Result SUCCESS” appears, together with your e-Registration number, Copy it and then click the “Home” button.
Step 8: Check your email. You will receive your temporary password. Copy them, then return to the POPS-BaM portal.
Step 9: Log in to the POPS-BaM portal using the email address and the temporary address. Once you are in, you can change your password by clicking the “Change Password” button.
If you have an old BM account, you can simply click the “Transfer Old BM Records” button located in the POPS-BaM helpdesk section after creating an e-Register account.
Balik Manggagawa Overseas Employment Certificate
Qualified Balik Manggagawa can get their OEC via POPS-BaM or DMW or POLO the same way unqualified OFWs will do.
Step 1: Go to the POPS-BaM portal.
Step 2: Click “Let’s Go” and log in using your email address and password.
Step 3: Update the details if necessary.
Step 4: Click “Balik Manggagawa” under My Links.
Step 5: Enter your return flight date.
Step 6: Answer the questions for BM confirmation.
Step 7: Download and print your OEC.
Double-check the flight dates and make sure it covers the date you plan to return, as the OEC has only 60 days of validation.
Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) offices or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices
Step 1: Set an appointment to get the OEC thru POPS-BaM.
- Go to the POPS-BaM portal.
- Click “Let’s Go” and log in using your email address and password.
- Update the details if necessary.
- Click “Balik Manggagawa” under My Links.
- Enter your return flight date.
- Enter your agreement with your foreign employer in the “Contract Page.”
- Select the nearest location, date, and time for your appointment.
- Click the “Print the Appointment” button. Don’t forget to bring it on the day of your appointment.
Step 2: Get a copy of your OEC at DMW or POLO office
- Make sure all the documents for the OEC application are complete and on hand.
- Go to the DMW or POLO office where you have booked the OEC appointment.
- Fill out the forms that the officer will give you or download the Balik Manggagawa Registration Form.
- Pay the OEC fees.
- Wait for OEC to be released.
Video: How to get Overseas Employment Certificate Exemption online? 2023 guide OEC exemption online
If you want to know more about OEC Exemption, watch this video by Abbet and Zeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Overseas Employment Certificate?
The Overseas Employment Certificate is an important document for all Overseas Filipino Workers who want to return abroad from their vacation in the Philippines.
What is Overseas Employment Certificate for Balik Manggagawa?
Qualified Balik Mangagawa workers can request Overseas Employment Certificate online. They don’t need to endure long queues and it’s free of charge.
How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate exemption?
Not all OFWs can get an exemption from the OEC. Only the qualified Balik Manggagawa workers are qualified. To know if you are qualified, you may check your status thru POPS-BaM and process your OEC. If you are redirected to an appointment page, it means you are not qualified in Balik Manggagawa and need to secure an appointment scheduled at the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) offices or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices.
As an OFW, can I travel without OEC?
No. Overseas Filipino Workers are required to have an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) when going back to their work abroad.
Every OFWs love going back to their home country to be with family and friends. And going back abroad and knowing that you will be away again from them is hard. But making OFWs process a lot of documents and force them to endure long queues, crowded places, and unpredictable weather just to get a piece of paper from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) offices or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices is even worse.
For this reason, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) wanted to help our kababayans to lessen the hassle and inconvenience when getting the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). Qualified Balik Mangagagwa workers can now download their OEC online for free.