Filipinos who are based in Hong Kong and need to process an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Balik Manggagawa certificate can inquire from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office about the process. In this post, we share the details on how you can get the OEC in POLO-HK.
Please note that you can acquire an OEC or an OEC exemption by going to the POEA Online processing website. However, if you will need to process an individual contract verification, you need to get an appointment at the POLO-HK office and pay the contract verification fees.
An Overseas Employment Certificate is required for OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) to travel abroad. This is an exit pass for Filipinos working in other countries. This ensures that they followed all legal documentations when they move to work in another country. If you are planning to go back home to the Philippines for a vacation, you need to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or an “Exit Permit” first so that you will be allowed to re-enter Hong Kong from the Philippines.
The OEC is one of the requirements needed for every re-entry from the Philippines, including home leave. This blog contains the requirements and information about the process of getting your OEC. If you’re planning to return back to Hongkong after a vacation, emergency leave or whatever reason, you better continue reading this article.
- What is OEC (Balik Manggagawa) Certificate?
- Cost of OEC in HK
- How to Schedule OEC Appointment Online in POLO-Hong Kong
- How to get OEC at POLO Hong Kong?
- How to get OEC Exemption in Hong Kong?
- Video: Applying for an OEC in Polo Hong Kong
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Information
- Google Map
What is OEC (Balik Manggagawa) Certificate?
The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a document provided by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that acts as a “travel exit clearance” for Filipino workers abroad, certifying that their employment documentation has been properly recorded with the POEA. This is given to new hires before deployment and to returning OFWs (Balik Manggagawa).
Balik Manggagawa refers to a returning OFW who has completed or is about to complete his or her job contract and is returning to the same employer and employment site or returning to the same employer but in a different job site.
It also includes an Overseas Filipino Worker who has begun working for a new employer and is returning to that employer.
When leaving the Philippines, the OEC is given to the Immigration Department, and its validity is sixty (60) days from the date of issuance. It also exempts you from paying travel taxes and terminal fees.
Obtaining an OEC is a necessary prerequisite for travelling OFWs. It also provides advantages provided by the government to assist OFWs in travelling more comfortably by reducing some fees and travel taxes. Filipinos in Hong Kong must have the following requirements before their appointment at POLO Hong Kong to apply for an OEC:
- Appointment Sheet – two copies
- POLO verified Employment Contract
- Employment Visa or Working Visa/Permit – two copies
- Original and two photocopies of Original Passport
- OWWA Membership fee official receipt
Take note that you must have your employment contract that is fully verified by the POLO. POLO won’t grant OEC if the contract of the worker is not yet verified or authenticated. Verification of contract takes place first if you are applying for an OEC at POLO Hong Kong.
The Labor Attache will check and ensure that the employment contracts of Filipino domestic workers are in accordance with the applicable employment laws, standards, and practices in both the Philippines and the host country, as well as that the documentary requirements for overseas employment as required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are met.
The verified employment contract must also be provided to the POEA POLO centres worldwide in order for OECs to be issued, and it may be needed by Philippine Immigration Officers in the Philippines prior to departure.
If no verified employment contract yet, please provide the following for verification/authentication:
For Filipino Domestic Workers
- 2 sets of Original Standard Employment Contract
- Copy of Employer’s HK ID with contact number written on the same page
- Copy of Domestic Worker’s HK ID with contact number written on the same page
- Original and Photocopy of the domestic worker’s passport
- Copy of the New Employment Visa
- Completely filled out OWWA OFW Information Sheet
For Professional Skilled Workers
- Original and Photocopy of valid Employment Contract
- Passport Copy
- Valid and appropriate Employment Visa
- Any proof of employment such as current certificate of Employment, Valid Company ID, or Pay Slip
Both Filipino domestic workers and skilled professional workers are required to have their OEC. If they are returning to Hong Kong after staying in the Philippines for a while, they are required to get their OEC. The same goes for OFWs in Hong Kong who changed their employer.
Cost of OEC in HK
For the payments of fees, please consider HK$ 20.00 for the process of OEC; HK$ 80.00 for the verification of contract for Domestic Workers/ HK$ 160.00 for Skilled/Professional Workers; and OWWA Membership of HK$ 196.00.
How to Schedule OEC Appointment Online in POLO-Hong Kong
The first step in getting an OEC is to make an appointment online for contract verification, just as in other POLO locations throughout the world. You may simplify your online application by following these steps.
You need a registered account at POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa or POPS-BaM for an online appointment. Here’s the step if you don’t have an account yet:
- Go to your browser and type https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx in the URL
- Click on Let’s Go
- Click on “Register” for new users ( just log in if you already have an account )
- Fill out the required information and then click register. (a message will display indicating that your registration was “Successful”)
- Log in to the email address you provided when you registered (there is a message containing your “temporary password”)
- Return to the link provided in Step 1 and login using the registered email address, then click “next.”
- Use the temporary password sent to your email, then click “log in.”
- Set the password you want
- Update your profile by clicking “My Profile,” after completing your profile, click “Update Profile” on the upper right side of the page
- Add your Identification and Beneficiary
- Attach profile picture and passport
After registration, or if you have already registered an account, this next procedure is for setting an appointment at POLO Hong Kong:
- Log in to your POPS-BaM account (https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx)
- Click “Balik-Manggagawa,” located at your top right-hand side.
- Input your next flight date, then click “next.”
- You will be asked if you are returning BM to the same employer (if yes, you can print your OEC, if no, proceed to step 5)
- Accomplish your contact details with true and correct information to the best of your knowledge.
- After clicking “Submit,” you can select your Process Location.
- Then choose an available Appointment Schedule.
- You now have an Appointment with POLO. You can print or cancel your appointment.
Note: If already registered before, you can print your OEC online via POPS-BaM and have your OEC exemption.
How to get OEC at POLO Hong Kong?
These easy steps will make the process of getting an OEC from POLO Hong Kong easier:
- Go to POLO Hong Kong on the date and time of the schedule in the appointment sheet.
- Direct to the designated booth for OEC Issuance and obtain an OFW Information Sheet, then fill up the necessary information.
- Go to the counter and present all the needed requirements, then pay for the processing fee.
- Double-check the details written in your OEC before leaving the counter
How to get OEC Exemption in Hong Kong?
A Balik Manggagawa is not required to get an appointment at POLO if he/she:
- Is already registered before in the online processing website or POPS-BaM;
- Have previous OEC number,
- Is returning to the same employer and workplace
Log in to your BM Online account before your scheduled return to your job to request an OEC exemption. Then select “Acquire OEC or Exemption.” If you are exempt, the system will show a confirmation message with your BM Exemption number and pre-departure instructions on what documents to bring with you to the airport.
Video: Applying for an OEC in Polo Hong Kong
Here’s a video of a Filipina OFW in HK as she shares a tutorial of Balik Manggagawaand her experience in obtaining OEC in Hong Kong.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please check out these frequently asked questions and answers about the process of getting the overseas employment certificate if you are based in Hong Kong:
1. Can I use an expired OEC?
No. OEC over the 60 day validity period cannot be used in leaving the Philippines unless you need to get a new one at the POEA office or OEC Exemption online.
2. Can OFW depart the Philippines without OEC?
No. The Bureau of Immigration in the airport of the Philippines will not permit you to leave the country without an OEC. It is the exit clearance to leave the Philippines.
3. Can I obtain OEC at the Philippines airports?
Only those BM workers who are on emergency leave for a maximum of five days with a confirmed flight schedule can obtain an OEC at the airport at their flight date. They will refer to the Labor Assistance Center or LAC that will evaluate their documents and the validity to obtain an OEC exemption.
4. What is OEC Exemption?
Once the OEC is presented to the immigration officer at the Philippine airports, the worker will be free from paying the travel tax and terminal fee.
Not having OEC means you are a potential unregistered OFW. Unregistered OFWs may suffer the repercussions of not completing the entire POEA process. It must be noted that these laws and standards are in place to fully safeguard migrant workers by establishing rules that require OFWs to be deployed only to countries where their rights are adequately protected. The Philippines Government may be unable to completely support an OFW in any immigration or employment-related matter or issues they may have while abroad if they are not properly registered.
So, please allocate time in getting your OEC to enjoy the benefits of the Philippine Government, which is really reserved for you as an OFW.
You can contact or reach POLO Hong Kong at their physical office located at:
Address: 2902 29/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty
Working days: Sunday to Thursday except Holidays
Office Hours: 10:00am -3:00pm (Mon-Thurs); 9:00am – 3:00pm (Sun)
Contact number: (+852) 2866 0640 / (+852) 2865 2445
Facebook page: @POLOHONGKONGSAR
The POLO office in Hong Kong is 5 minutes away by walking from Admiralty Station (Hong Kong Island), Exit D. You may follow this map for more details.