OFW Direct-Hire Processing System

Most Filipinos who want to work abroad tried their luck in applying to some recruitment agency in the Philippines. But there are also applicants who are lucky enough to find an employer abroad without the help of an agency. This is called a direct-hire Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Some of the benefits of direct-hire OFWs include having more control over negotiating their own terms and conditions of employment, avoiding the fees charged by recruitment agencies, and potentially earning higher salaries. However, it’s important to note that direct-hire OFWs are responsible for securing their own work visas and other travel documents, as well as for addressing any issues or concerns related to their employment without the assistance of a recruitment agency.

direct hire ofw processing


The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) requires all employers to hire Filipino workers through POEA-accredited recruitment agencies. This is to prevent abuse, exploitations, and violations against Filipino workers. However, there are also employers who are exempted from the rule under the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 08. There are employers who fall under the Exempted Category such as:

  • Foreign diplomats
  • International organizations (United Nations, ASEAN)
  • Head of State and high-ranking government officials (deputy minister or higher position)
  • Officials listed in the first three items with a lower rank. Must be endorsed by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
  • Employers of professional and skilled workers with verified or authenticated employment contracts compliant with the POEA standards.
  • Permanent residents of the host country who are hiring their family or relatives, except for domestic workers, household service workers, or lived-in caregivers.

For workers who fall under non-exempted category, the POEA will conduct a thorough review of the application before giving clearance to the applicant that can take weeks after submitting all the required documents.


The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) requires applicants to submit both original copy and photocopy of all the  documents. So, make sure to get multiple copies just to make sure. There are two (2) phases when submitting requirements for direct-hire OFWs.

Phase 1:

  1. Passport with at least one (1) year validity
  2. Valid work Visa or Entry/Work Permit
  3. Employment Contract:
    1. Must be original copy of Employment Contract 
    2. Must be verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
    3. Must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate (for countries with no POLO)
    4. Must be apostille with POLO verification
    5. Must be apostille with Philippine Embassy Acknowledgment
  4. Company Profile, Business License/Employer’s Commercial Registration
  5. POLO Endorsement Letter Addressed to the Administrator seeking exemption from the ban on direct-hiring
  6. Additional country-specific requirements:
    1. Canada: Labor Market Opinion (LMO), Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
    2. United State of America (USA): Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action
    3. Middle East and Africa: Contingency plan issued by the employer
  7. Additional documents
    1. Employers ID/Passport and contact details
    2. Diploma and/or Transcript of Records (TOR)/Form 137
    3. NC II/PRC License
    4. Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  8. Notarized Statement detailing on how the worker secured his/her employment, employer’s contact details, and authenticity of documents submitted

Phase 2:

  1. E-Registration Account (POEA e-Services Portal)
  2. Compliance Form
  3. Medical Certificate (DOH-accredited medical clinic authorized to conduct medical exam for OFWs
  4. Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) Certificate 
  5. Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) Certificate
  6. POEA Clearance
  7. Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage covering at least the benefits provided under Section 37-A of RA 8042 amended:
    1. Repatriation in case of death
    2. Vehicle insurance from employer (for drivers)

Direct-Hire Assistance at the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)

Being a direct-hire OFW doesn’t mean you don’t need to register yourself as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). The DMW has a separate process for direct hire and we are giving you the step -by-step guide for direct-hire Filipinos.

Step 1: Call the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Direct Hire Division at 722-11-60 or email them at DirecthirePhase1Eva@poea.gov.ph to let them know your situation and ask if there are additional requirements and processes you need to follow.

Step 2: Gather all the requirements we listed above in Phase 1.

Step 3: Set an appointment to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) by sending an email at DirecthirePhase1Eva@poea.gov.ph. You can request for an appointment from 8am to 11am Mondays to Friday and wait for them to send you an appointment confirmation and print it.

Step 4: On your appointment date, make sure to bring all your documents and printed appointment confirmation. Ask the guard for a queue number or line to submit your requirements. Once they verify your documents, they will let you know if you are qualified or not. If you are qualified, they send your application to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) but if not, they will advise you to go through an agency.

Step 5: If you are qualified, your ma,e will be listed in the POEA website and prepare for Phase 2.

Step 6: Gather all the requirements we listed above in Phase 2. Set an appointment in POEA by sending an email through DirecthirePhase2Eva@poea.gov.ph.

Step 7: On your appointment date, make sure to bring all your documents and printed appointment confirmation. Ask the guard for a queue number or line to submit your requirements and the person in-charge will verify your documents.

Step 8: When they are done verifying your documents, they will ask you to pay the OEC fees such as:

  • POEA processing fee = 100 USD (in peso equivalent)
  • OWWA processing fee = 25 USD (in peso equivalent)
  • PAG-IBIG Contribution
  • Philhealth Contribution

Step 9: Wait for your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). It usually takes 64 hours to be processed. Once you have it, you can now travel abroad.

Video: How Long is the Process for Direct-Hire OFWs?

Want to know more about the direct-hire process? Watch this video by besh LORIE and listen to her as she shares her experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the validity of OEC?

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) has 60 days validity from the issuance date.

Do I have to get a Work Visa, Entry or Work Permit?

Depending on your host country, you should apply for a Work Visa, Entry or Work Permit.

Is it okay not to submit a Notarized Statement?

No. The notarized statement will let the POEA and OWWA know the details on how you are able to secure your job on your own.


Applying for a job abroad is difficult and risky. Aside from the employers’ requirements and standard being too high, you also need to carefully make your own background check to the employer or company. You need to make sure that you are applying in a legit company and that you will be safe once you are abroad. But luckily, you will not do it all by yourself.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will verify all the documents to make sure that your company is legit and they will make sure that it will comply with the rules and regulations set to all overseas employers.

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