Understanding Balik Manggagawa (Returning OFW)

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Whether aspiring to work abroad or OFWs vacationing in the Philippines, the term Balik Manggagawa (BM) is confused by many Filipinos. In most cases, many workers tried getting their OEC thru the Balik Mangggawa online portal. Some workers are also frustrated as they failed to avail of the OEC exemption online, which is only for selected Balik Manggagawa. But what is the meaning of Balik Manggagawa? Read on to find out what it is, how it differs from OFWs, and other information about it.

Since many Filipino workers are confused about the term Balik Manggagawa, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), now referred to as the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), clarified this issue. DMW explained what and who are considered Balik Manggagawa or returning workers. BM workers are qualified to use the Balik Manggagawa online portal and qualify for OEC exemption, given they meet the qualifications.

what is balik manggagawa returning ofw

What is the Meaning of Balik Manggagawa?

Balik Manggagawa (BM) or returning OFWs are those vacationing in the Philippines and will leave the country again to work abroad. It refers to OFWs returning abroad to continue, complete, or extend their employment contract with the same or different employer and job site. DMW also clarifies that Filipino workers working abroad for the first time are not considered Balik Manggagawa. To be specific, here are the following conditions for Balik Manggagawa:

  • Documented returning OFWs
  • Documented returning OFWs who have changed employers on-site in the same country
  • Documented returning OFWs who have changed job sites to a different country
  • Documented OFWs 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 POEA database (such as former students, exchange programs participants, au pairs, or tourists)

On the other hand, Filipino workers are not Balik Manggagawa if they have not yet deployed abroad and DMW hasn’t processed their employment documents even if they have started working via online platforms or work-from-home setup for their foreign employer. Thus, workers in similar situations are not called Balik Manggagawa but new hires.

Difference Between OFW and Balik Manggagawa

Now, let’s talk about how OFWs differ from Balik Manggagawa. In general, an Overseas Filipino Worker or OFW refers to all Filipinos working abroad, whether land-based or sea-based. They can be first-time or returning Filipino workers.

Meanwhile, workers returning abroad to continue or complete their employment contracts are called Balik Manggagawa (BM). These workers can be returning to the same or different employer and job site and can be undocumented or documented.

In short, Balik Manggagawa is also an OFW. The only difference is they were already deployed abroad and will be leaving the country again to work overseas. Whether first-time OFW or Balik Manggagawa, both workers should obtain their OEC from POEA/DMW or POLO offices whenever departing the Philippines to work abroad. This document is an exit clearance that proves the worker is documented and legal. However, some Balik Manggagawa has more advantage when applying for OEC.

Balik Manggagawa can get an OEC exemption if returning to the same employer and job site and has existing records on POEA/DMW database. It enables the Balik Manggagawa to obtain their OEC thru the Department of Migrant Workers Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM). In addition, it exempts BM workers from paying the OEC processing fee.

But not all Balik Manggagawa instantly qualify for OEC exemption even if they meet the qualifications.

For instance, watchlisted workers, those working for a watchlisted employer, or returning to a restricted country don’t qualify for the OEC exemption.

Instead, first-time OFWs and BM workers who don’t qualify for the OEC exemption should apply at POEA/DMW offices in the Philippines or POLO international offices. They should also book an appointment with the concerned office and pay the OEC processing fee to get their exit clearance.

Balik Manggagawa Requirements (for OEC)

As stated earlier, some Balik Manggagawa can get an OEC exemption. But other returning workers don’t qualify for the exemption for some reasons. Also, OFWs who need to get their OEC should secure the following documentary requirements depending on if qualified or not for OEC exemption:

For BM workers who qualify for OEC Exemption

  • Valid email address for POPS-BaM e-Registration account creation (for new users)
  • DMW e-Registration account with the following complete profile information:
  • Passport Data
  • Passport Image
  • Profile Image
  • Pagibig (MID) Data
  • Beneficiary Data

For BM workers applying for OEC at POEA/DMW or POLO offices

  • POPS-BaM Appointment form
  • BM Information Sheet
  • Valid Passport with at least six (6) months validity (copy of photo page)
  • Valid Employment Pass and re-entry Visa
  • Valid Work Visa, Work Permit, or any equivalent document
  • POLO verified Employment Contract
  • Photocopy of Confirmed 2-way Airline Ticket or travel agency-issued itinerary
  • Proof of active OWWA membership, such as official receipt and certificate of coverage
  • Other necessary documents such as Company ID, Employment Certificate, or latest payslip
  • For BM workers with existing POEA records returning to the same employer but in a different job site, a letter from the employer confirming the worker’s transfer to a job site.
  • For BM workers without existing POEA records who have changed employers on-site, provide Sworn Statement explaining how the worker obtained employment.

Balik Manggagawa Benefits

Here are the following benefits OFWs can enjoy for being a Balik Manggagawa (BM):

  • BM workers don’t have to queue and submit many requirements to get their OEC if they qualify for the exemption.
  • BM workers who qualify for the OEC exemption don’t need to visit any POEA/DMW or POLO offices to get their exit clearance.
  • BM workers can get their OEC online thru the POPS-BaM portal.
  • BM workers who qualify for the OEC exemption don’t need to pay the OEC processing fee.

Balik Manggagawa Form

The Balik Manggagawa Form is an entry form where returning OFWs have to fill out in order to update their personal information, as well as declare their employment and beneficiaries. It is also referred to as the OFW Information Sheet. This form is a requirement for every OFW who wishes to travel back abroad to work.

The Balik Manggagawa Form, also known as the BM Online Form, can be accessed and filled out through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) website. Here’s a sample of the said BM form:

Balik-Manggagawa-Form-Information-Sheet-OEC_page 1

Balik-Manggagawa-Form-Information-Sheet-OEC_page 2


How to Access Balik Manggagawa Login

The old BM Online Processing System no longer exists after being decommissioned by DMW. It was replaced by the Department of Migrant Workers Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM) when it launched on June 30, 2021. If you already have a POPS-BaM e-registration account, follow the steps below to access the Balik Manggagawa login portal:

1. Visit the new Balik Manggagawa portal or POPS-BaM at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.

balik manggagawa new online portal pops-bam

2. Click the Let’s Go button on the e-Registration section.

3. If you already have an account, enter your Email Address and click the Next button.

4. Enter your password and click the Next button.

5. Once logged in, click Balik Manggagawa in the upper right corner of the dashboard under My Links.

balik manggagawa login access

Remember, to book an appointment or get an OEC exemption online, ensure your POPS-BaM e-Registration account is complete and updated to access the POEA online services.

How to Register Balik Manggagawa Online

If you have an old BM account or a new user, follow the steps below to register a Balik Manggagawa online account:

1. Go to Balik Manggagawa Online portal or POPS-BaM.

Click the Let’s Go button on the e-Registration section. For new users, click the Register button.

balik manggagawa pops-bam portal register

2. Accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.

Read POEA’s e-Registration Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. Next, click the I Accept the Terms of Use button to proceed.

balik manggagawa terms and conditions

3. Fill out the New Account Registration form.

Read the reminders and warning notes. Next, fill out the required fields, including:

  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Suffix Name
  • Gender
  • Email Address (Username)
  • Birth Date

balik manggagawa new account registration form

Click the Register button. Then, double-check the entered details and click the Yes button. Also, don’t forget to provide a valid and active email address to receive the temporary password for login.

On the next page, a confirmation will appear indicating Account Creation Result Success. It also contains your e-Registration number. Copy it and click the Home button.

poea balik manggagawa account creation success

4. Check your email for the temporary password.

You’ll receive an email from DMW e-Registration containing the temporary password to log in to your POPS-BaM account. Copy the temporary password. Then, return to the POPS-BaM portal.

balik manggagawa login password

5. Log in to your e-Registration account on POPS-BaM.

Click the Let’s Go button. Enter your email address and the temporary password to proceed. On the pop-up screen, change your password. Read the reminders and enter a new password. Then, click the Change Password button to log in to your account.

login in to balik manggagawa portal pops-bam

Finally, you have registered to the new BM online portal or POPS-BaM. To get your OEC, complete your POPS-BaM profile data to access other online services from POEA/DMW. Meanwhile, if you have an old BM account, click the Transfer Old BM Records button on the POPS-BaM helpdesk section after creating an e-Registration account.

How to Get Balik Manggagawa OEC

There are two ways for Balik Manggagawa or returning workers to get their OEC. You can get your OEC via POPS-BaM if you qualify for the exemption. On the contrary, returning workers not qualified for OEC exemption should book an appointment with POEA/DMW or POLO offices. To do so, follow the steps below:


  1. Go to the POPS-BaM portal at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
  2. Click Let’s Go and log in to your account using your email address and password.
  3. Complete and update your profile details if needed.
  4. Click Balik Manggagawa on the dashboard under My Links.
  5. Input your flight date.
  6. Next, answer the questions with “YES” to confirm that you’re a Balik Manggagawa or a worker returning to the same employer and job site.
  7. Then, print your OEC online. Also, the OEC is only valid for 60 days, so make sure it covers your expected flight date.

Via POEA/DMW or POLO Offices

Step 1: Book an OEC appointment thru POPS-BaM

  1. Log in to your e-Registration account at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
  2. Complete your profile data to continue.
  3. On the upper right of the dashboard, click Balik Manggagawa under My Links.
  4. Input your expected flight date.
  5. On the Contract page, enter your arrangement with your foreign employer.
  6. Choose the processing location for the appointment.
  7. Select your preferred date and time for the appointment.
  8. Review the details of your appointment.
  9. Click the Print Appointment button.
  10. Then, bring this document on the day of your appointment.

Step 2: Get your OEC at POEA/DMW or POLO Office

  1. Secure the required documents for the OEC application.
  2. Visit the POEA/DMW or POLO office where you have booked the OEC appointment.
  3. Proceed to the receptionist and present your requirements.
  4. Fill out the forms provided by the receptionists.
  5. Pay the applicable fees.
  6. Then, wait for the issuance of your OEC.

Balik Manggagawa Registration Form Download

For OFWs who wish to get their OEC, download the Balik Manggagawa Registration Form at http://philembassykl.org.my/main/images/pdf/Balik-Manggagawa_Information_Sheet.pdf

This document is a primary requirement for OFWs applying for their OEC at POEA/DMW or POLO offices. You can download this form and fill it out before your appointment date. It’s also available at POEA/DMW or POLO offices. Below is a screenshot of the Balik Manggagawa (BM) Information Sheet:

balik manggagawa registration form download

Video: Paano Kumuha ng OEC Online 2023 | OEC Exemption Updates Requirements

For more information on Balik Manggagawa, please watch the video below:

As discussed in the video, Balik Manggagawa can obtain their OEC via POPS-BaM. Just create an e-Registration account using a valid email address. Upload your passport and profile photo and complete the information on your account. Afterward, click the Balik Mangggawa button on the dashboard to get an OEC exemption. However, OFWs who don’t qualify for OEC exemption should book an appointment with POEA or POLO office at least one month ahead of their departure date.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OEC for Balik Manggagawa?

An Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a necessary document that Balik Mangggawa or returning workers vacationing in the Philippines should secure whenever leaving the country to work abroad. It’s an exit clearance required for all OFWs and available at POPS-BaM, POEA, or POLO offices.

How to get an appointment for OEC Balik Manggagawa?

To get an OEC appointment, log in to your POPS-BaM account and click the Balik Manggagawa button under My Links. Enter your flight date and choose the appointment location, date, and time. Then, print your appointment detail and bring them on the day of your appointment.

How to qualify for OEC exemption?

BM workers may qualify for OEC exemption if returning to the same employer and job site. But it is not always the case since some BM workers may not qualify for OEC exemption for some reasons. To determine if you can get an OEC exemption, log in to your POPS-BaM account and process your OEC. You don’t qualify for OEC exemption if redirected to the appointment page. On the contrary, you can print your OEC online without the processing fee if you get an OEC exemption.


To sum up, Balik Mangggawa is an OFW returning to the same or different job site and employer. These workers have also been deployed abroad and only vacationing in the Philippines. BM workers will be returning abroad to fulfill or extend their employment contract, which means they are not first-time OFWs.

Furthermore, BM workers can enjoy OEC exemption, allowing them to obtain their OEC online and exempt them from paying the processing fee, given they meet the qualifications for exemption.

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