As an Overseas Filipino Worker in Syria, you should be aware of the necessary documents to obtain whenever you plan to visit the Philippines for vacation or other emergency reasons. More often than not, Filipinos who go home return to Syria to work again. With that said, you need to know more about OEC—a certification that is most valuable to OFWs when going back and forth to the Philippines.
In this article, we summarized everything you need to know about OEC, including the process, qualification, requirements, and some FAQs to help you out. Continue reading this article if you are working in Syria and planning to go home to your family.
- What is an OEC (Balik Manggagawa) Certificate in Syria?
- OEC Requirements in Syria
- What are the qualifications?
- How much does it cost to get an OEC?
- How to Schedule OEC Appointment at POLO Syria?
- How to Apply for OEC at POLO Syria
- How to get an OEC Exemption?
- Video: How to Get an OEC in Syria
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. Who is eligible for the OEC exemption for Balik Mangggawa (BM) in accordance with Gbr no. 12, s 2016?
- 2. What does “has a record in the POEA database” mean?
- 3. How do I get the OEC exemption as an OFW returning to the same employer or job site?
- 4. Where do I find out if I am exempt from securing OEC?
- 5. Is it still possible for me to change the email address/log-in account I selected when I signed up?
- 6. During my last vacation, I received an OEC from POLO and an e-receipt from the POEA main office, but I did not register with the POPS-BAM. will I be exempt from receiving an OEC?
- 7. I’m returning to the same employer and same job site, and I had an OEC before, but the system forwarded me to the appointment page. Where did it all go wrong?
- Contact Information
- Google Map Location
What is an OEC (Balik Manggagawa) Certificate in Syria?
The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a document that enables Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), also known as Balik-Manggagawa workers (BMs), to work outside the Philippines.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices issues OECs. All OFWs are required to obtain OEC. OEC serves as proof that OFWs were legally authorized to work abroad. Under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) rules and regulations, all returning OFWs or BMs are required to obtain an OEC and are exempt from paying travel taxes and airport terminal fees when returning to work abroad.
OECs expired after sixty (60) days.
OEC Requirements in Syria
According to the official website of POEA, the following documents be should considered:
- You must have at least three (3) copies of your original PassportAccomplished Printed BM Online Appointment / Information Sheet.
- POLO Verified Contract (applicable to those who do not register with the POEA or who relocate their employment within the United Arab Emirates (UAE))
- You must bring your return airline ticket or any other flight documents with you.
- A copy of your previous OEC or your current and previous visas if you did not obtain OEC exemption and are returning to the same employer.
Note that POLO will not issue OEC to workers who entered the country on a visitor/tourist visa and then changed to an employment visa, according to the official website of POEA. It can only certify the labor contract as a condition precedent to obtaining OEC in the Philippines (POEA).
Also, returning OFWs who have already registered with the POPS-BaM and are returning to their previous employer and workplace qualify for the OEC EXEMPTION.
What are the qualifications?
You are qualified to acquire an OEC if you are:
- An OFW who is employed directly by a foreign employer
- A Filipino worker who hired through a recruitment agency
- An OFW who hired through the POEA’s GPB (Government Placement Branch) entity
How much does it cost to get an OEC?
To obtain the OEC, you must pay the following fees in addition to your application fee:
- The POEA Processing Fee of OEC is PHP 100.00 per e-receipt, which is a one-time payment.
- OWWA Membership Fee of USD 25.00 or its equivalent in Peso
- PAG – IBIG Contribution of at least PHP 100.00 per month is required.
PhilHealth makes a contribution of PHP 2,400.00 per year to cover the cost of the coverage.
If you are hired via a recruitment agency, the agency will be responsible for billing your employer. The following is the amount that your employer is expected to pay you:
- POEA processing fee is PHP 200.00,
- OWWA membership fee of USD 25.00, or the equivalent amount in Philippine Peso
- PhilHealth – Medicare is PHP 900.00 per annum coverage.
Note that your agency has the authority to deduct your one-month salary instead of your placement fee, except in countries that do not collect fees from their employees (such as the United States). You should always ask your agency for a receipt because some agencies collect many fees but don’t provide a receipt.
How to Schedule OEC Appointment at POLO Syria?
You must first be registered with the POPS-BaM before you can schedule an appointment to receive your OEC. Visit the website and complete the registration process there. There is a portion there that will require your flight information.
You can register for the new POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa by following the steps outlined below.
- 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
You are now registered to POPS-BaM after doing the steps above. You can then make an appointment at POLO Syria. Just follow the provided steps below.
- Log in to your POPS-BaM account ( 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 the true and correct 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.
How to Apply for OEC at POLO Syria
Here are the following steps if you are an OFW obtaining your OEC at POLO Syria.
- After scheduling an appointment through the POPS-BaM, make sure you have the complete list of required documents on hand before heading to POLO to complete the process.
- In the first instance, double-check your Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) membership if it is still valid. If your membership has expired or you are a first-time employee, you must apply for membership in the OWWA by filling out an application form at the POLO.
- Among the forms that must be completed in order to obtain your OEC are the OEC Balik Manggagawa form and the Pag-Ibig form, both of which can be obtained from POLO or downloaded and printed online from their website. Important supporting documents, which were previously specified as requirements for receiving an OEC, must also be submitted during your application.
- Pay all applicable fees and wait patiently for your OEC.
How to get an OEC Exemption?
To obtain an OEC exemption, log into your POPS-BaM account prior to your scheduled return to work. Then select “Obtain OEC or Exemption.” If you are exempted, the system will show a confirmation message containing your BM Exemption number and pre-departure instructions.
Video: How to Get an OEC in Syria
Here is a video from the PH Embassy in Syria which explains that they are the office where Filipinos can seek assistance regarding Philippine government transactions, including OWWA and OEC certificates. Please check out the video below for your reference:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions and answers about renewing OWWA in Syria. Please take note of these questions and answers for your reference:
1. Who is eligible for the OEC exemption for Balik Mangggawa (BM) in accordance with Gbr no. 12, s 2016?
An OFW (1) who has obtained a work visa or work permit, (2) who has completed or is continuing his or her employment contract, and (3) who is: (a) returning to the previous and same employer, (b) returning to the same job site, and (c) has a record in the POEA database.
2. What does “has a record in the POEA database” mean?
OFWs who have previously received an OEC from the POEA in one of its offices or accredited centers.
3. How do I get the OEC exemption as an OFW returning to the same employer or job site?
If you’re returning to the same employer and same job site, you can apply for an OEC exemption by registering at the POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa. You can also go to POEA’s website, poea.gov.ph, and select BM Online. If you’ve already created an account, all you have to do now is log in with your email address and password. The Online System’s web page includes instructions on “How to Use the Online System,” which will assist you in using the service and obtaining the OEC exemption.
4. Where do I find out if I am exempt from securing OEC?
Before your scheduled return to your employer, you can log into your POPS-BaM account. The system will determine whether you are exempt from obtaining an OEC.
5. Is it still possible for me to change the email address/log-in account I selected when I signed up?
No. Your permanent log-in account is your registered email address. As a result, you won’t be able to change the email address you used when you first signed up. You can, however, change your password.
6. During my last vacation, I received an OEC from POLO and an e-receipt from the POEA main office, but I did not register with the POPS-BAM. will I be exempt from receiving an OEC?
You should register as a new user if you have a record in the POEA database but have not yet registered in the system. You will be guided through the registration process by the system. Users must log in using their registered email address and password. The system will check if you are exempt from obtaining an OEC if you return to the same employer and same job site.
7. I’m returning to the same employer and same job site, and I had an OEC before, but the system forwarded me to the appointment page. Where did it all go wrong?
In any of the following situations, the system will automatically redirect you to the Appointment Page Balik Manggagawa:
- If you’re a watchlisted employee or an OFW working for a watchlisted company,
- If you’re returning to a country that is restricted or non-compliant;
- If you don’t have a POEA record or there’s a discrepancy between the data you entered and the data in the system,
- If you’re an undocumented worker (for example, a tourist who becomes an OFW, a dependent who becomes an OFW, a student who becomes an OFW, and so on); and if you were a sea-based worker, who became a land-based worker
If you are an OFW who does not yet have your OEC, please take the time to get one because failing to do so will prevent you from returning to your work country if you want to work there again. You can follow the information above to easily obtain your OEC.
POLO-OWWA Damascus, Syria
Address: Philippine Embassy in Syria, 56 Hamze IBM Abdul Mutaleb Street, West Mezzeh, Damascus, Syria
Office Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday – Thursday except for holidays
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Contact Number: (0096311) 6132626, (0096311) 6125138, (96394) 9155557 (ATN)
Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/PHinSyria
Google Map Location
As mentioned in this post, there is no actual POLO-OWWA office in Syria, but it is the Embassy of the Philippines in Syria that handles the programs and services by POLO-OWWA. Here is the map guide location of the PH Embassy: