Working abroad as an OFW is surely a tough decision. Not only do you have to leave your family and friends behind, but there are also a lot of documents to prepare and seminars you need to attend to before you leave. One of them is the Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC.
OEC is a document required by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) – formerly known as Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) – for all Filipino workers and registered Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), also known as Balik-Maggagawa (BM) who wants to leave the Philippines and work in another country. This document is presented at immigration to show that a person is a legal overseas worker. Without it, immigration won’t allow you to board a plane and exit the country.
Who can apply for OEC?
All Overseas Filipino Workers who need to apply for OEC are as follows:
- Direct-Hired Filipino workers by overseas employers.
- OFW workers hired under a recruitment agency.
- Filipino workers hired by the Government Placement Branch (GPB) of POEA.
How long is the OEC’s validity?
OEC has a 60-day validity from the date of issuance and is used for single exit only. Every time an OFW exits the country, he or she needs to apply for a new OEC.
The OEC is only valid for one (1) day if it is provided by the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) at the NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airport. If your work permit ended before the 60-day period, you need to apply for a new OEC. If your OEC validity ended while you are in another country, you need to get your OEC from your work destination before you can return to our home country.
How to get an OEC?
Before applying to OEC, you have to check first the Philippines Labor Laws and Regulations for direct hiring ban exemption as some of the employees overseas are prohibited from directly hiring Filipino workers and are only allowed to hire under the accredited recruitment agency of POEA. But of course, there are some employers who are allowed to hire OFWs directly. Here are the employers who are exempted from the direct-hiring ban:
- Foreign Diplomats
- International Organization
- Head of State and High-ranking Government Officials
- Officials listed in the first three items with a lower rank and endorsed by MWO (Migrant Workers Office)
- Professional and Skilled Workers Employers with Varied or Authenticated Employment Contracts in line with POEA’s standard.
- Permanent Residents who are hiring their family and relatives to their host country, except for domestic workers.
What are the OEC requirements?
The requirements for skilled and professional workers, low-skilled workers, household workers, and workers who are bound to Canada and the United States of America needed to submit additional requirements. Please note that the additional requirements depend on your destination country. Here’s the list of the basic OEC-required documents
- printed online appointment/Balik-Manggagawa information sheet
- passport (valid for at least six months) from departure date
- valid proof of employment or employment contract
- valid work visa, work permit, or any equivalent document
OFWs are required to comply with all the documents needed for their qualification.
- Professional and Skilled Workers. Company Profile, Business License or Employer’s Commercial Registration. Endorsement Letter from Philippine Overseas Labor OFFICE (POLO) requesting for exemption from the ban on direct hiring addressed to the Administrator.
- Additional Requirements for Specific Countries.
- Canada – Labor Market Opinion (LMO), Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), Canadian Letter and Certificate of Registration of the employer from ECON (Province of Saskatchewan Executive Council) or approval from Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP).
- United States of America – Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action, Contingency Plan Issued by the Employer,
- Additional Documents to back up your application.
- Certificate of Employment or Business Permit if you are self-employed.
- Transcript of Record (TOR) and Diploma
- NC II or License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC)
- Resume / Curriculum Vitae
- Certificate of Insurance Coverage Covering the Benefits Provided Under Section 37-A of RA 8042 As Amended and Notarized Statement detailing on How the Worker Secured His/Her Employment.
- Copy of Passport, IDs, and Contact Details of the employer.
- Government Labor-Related Agencies.
- E-Registration Account
- Valid Medical Certificate (medical clinics recognized by the Department of Health)
- Medical Exam for OFWs
- Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar Certificate (PEOS)
- Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar Certificate (PDOS) from OWWA
- POEA Clearance
- Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage
What are the fees and charges for OEC?
Here is the list of the basic necessary charges and fees that you need to pay to process your documents:
- POEA Processing Fee is one hundred pesos (Php 100.00) per e-receipt.
- OWWA Membership Fee is the peso equivalent of $25.
- PAG-IBIG Contribution is minimum of one hundred pesos (Php 100.00) per month.
- PhilHealth Contribution is two thousand four hundred pesos (Php 2,400.00) per year of coverage.
If you are hired by a recruitment agency, your employer will be charged by your agency.
- POEA Processing Fee is two hundred pesos (Php 200.00)
- OWWA Memebership Fee is the peso equivalent of $25.
- PhilHealth-Medicare is nine hundred pesos (Php 900.00) per year of coverage.
Where to apply for OEC?
OFWs can now process their OEC wherever they are. POEA made sure that Filipino workers can get the OEC even if they are abroad or even in the comfort of their homes.
- Walk-in Applicant. OFWs who are staying in the Philippines can go to POEA’s main office in Mandaluyong or any regional offices near them.
- Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO). Filipino workers abroad can apply for OEC in Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in their host country. OFWs who are staying for less than 5 days in the Philippines can get their OEC to Labor Assistance Counters in Manila, Cebu, or Mindanao airports.
- Online Appointment. OFWs can visit bmonline.ph to set their appointment schedule and venue.
Video: Here’s a video on how to register to the new BM online system and secure OEC
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is an exit clearance for OFWs who are planning to return to their jobs abroad. This certification validates the OFW’s legal employment that he or she completed all the requirements.
Filipino workers need to give a copy of their employer’s contract, plane ticket and other travel documents. They can go directly to POEA’s office agency, POLO-OWWA office abroad, or apply online to get their OEC.
Preparing and securing all the documents required by the government beforehand will give you peace of mind and a hassle-free travel experience.