How to Get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for OFW Balik Manggagawa

The process of obtaining an Overseas Employment Certificate is something that every aspiring overseas Filipino worker (OFW) should be familiar with (OEC). Applying for a job in another country would be impossible without this.

Also Read: How to Become an OWWA Member?

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) requires OFWs to obtain an OEC before leaving the country to work abroad. It is presented at immigration to demonstrate that the individual is a legal overseas worker.

OFWs are also exempt from paying the terminal fee and travel tax at the airport, thanks to the OEC. The OEC is also a document that will help OFWs apply for loans in the Philippines.

how to apply oec ofws owwa

What is an OEC?

An OEC – Overseas Employment Certificate – is a certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration verifying that you are a registered Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a clearance issued to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), known as Balik-Manggagawa (BM) who exit from the Philippines for employment purpose.

The POEA grants exemption to certain divisions of Balik-Maggagawa workers and exemption of paying any fees processed by the POEA.

Note: A worker exiting from the Philippines without an OEC may not be allowed to complete their check-in or may be prevented by the immigration officer from leaving the country. It is essential to always make sure that before your departure, this document is with you at all times.

As of writing, the OEC is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance. However, if your work permit expires before the 60-day period, you will have to obtain a new OEC. OFWs will be required to present the OEC every time they exit an airport.

Note: If your OEC expires while you’re abroad, you can apply for an OEC from your work destination so that you can return to the Philippines. Any OEC is valid only for a single exit from the Philippines.

What to do before getting an OEC?

Before going straight to the POEA Office, you must prepare yourself or else you will only waste your time: Here’s what you should look into the future:

  1. Checking if you see fit for direct hiring ban exemption – Philippine labor laws and regulations prohibit overseas employers from directly hiring Filipino workers. They should have hired you through a POEA-accredited recruitment agency. But there are certain employers that are exempted from the direct hiring ban of OFWs. These are namely:
    1. Foreign Diplomats
    2. International Organizations
    3. Heads of State and High-ranking Government Officials
    4. Officials listed in the first three items with a lower rank who are endorsed by the POLO
    5. Employers of Professional and Skilled Workers with Verified or Authenticated Employment Contracts in compliance with standards of POEA
    6. Permanent Residents of the Host country who are hiring their family and relatives, except for domestic workers
  2. Prepare all the required documents. Immediately get all your requirements ready as soon as you checked if your employer is exempted from the direct hiring ban.

overseas employment certificate sample

Requirements to get an OEC

OFWs is not yet done with tedious paperwork. An OEC is processed separately from your work visa application, thus requiring OFWs to secure a separate set of documents.

Basic Document Requirements

  • Printed Online Appointment Information Sheet/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

Comprehensive Requirements

The requirements for skilled and professional workers, low-skilled workers, and household service workers vary. Also, OFWs bound for Canada and the United States need to submit additional requirements. There are two phases of the application.

Phase 1

In this phase, individuals are required to submit the document requirements pertaining to their qualification.

Professional and Skilled Workers

  • Company Profile, Business License or Commercial Registration of the Employer
  • Endorsement Letter from Philippine Overseas Labor Office addressed to the Administrator seeking exemption from the ban on direct-hiring

Additional Country-Specific Requirements

Depending on the what and where you are applying for, there may be additional requirements that you will have to submit.

Canada

  • Labor Market Opinion (LMO)
  • Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Canadian Letter and Employer’s Certificate of Registration from ECON (Province of Saskatchewan Executive Council) or Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) approval

USA

  • Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action
  • The Middle East and African countries
  • Contingency Plan Issued by the Employer

Additional Documents to Support Job Application

  • Certificate of Employment or Business Permit (for self-employed)
  • Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • NC II / PRC License
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resume
  • Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage Covering at least the Benefits Provided Under
    • Section 37-A of RA 8042 As Amended;
    • Notarized Statement on How the Workers Secured His/Her Employment
  • Photocopy of Employer’s Passport/ID and Contact Details

Phase 2

This phase involves local labor law compliance making the documents for this phase government labor-related.

Government Labor-Related Agencies

  • E-Registration Account
  • Valid Medical Certificate (DOH-accredited medical clinics)
  • Medical Exam for OFWs
  • Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar Certificate (PEOS)
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar Certificate (PDOS) issued by OWWA
  • POEA clearance
  • Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage

OEC Fees and Charges

In processing the OEC, there will be necessary charges to consider. The following are the basic fees you will encounter in the process:

  • POEA Processing Fee – Php 100.00 per e-receipt.OEC
  • OWWA Membership Fee – USD 25.00 (or its Peso equivalent)
  • Pag-IBIG Contribution – minimum of Php 100.00/month
  • PhilHealth Contribution – Php 2,400.00/one-year coverage

For those who are hired through a recruitment agency, these agencies will charge service fees from your employer. The employer pays the cost of:

  • POEA Processing Fee – Php 200.00
  • OWWA Membership Fee – USD 25.00 (or its Peso equivalent)
  • PhilHealth-Medicare – Php 900.00/one-year coverage

**Your agency is allowed to charge you a placement fee equivalent to your one-month salary, except in countries that prohibit fee collection from workers. There are agencies that collect much more than that, without receipts.

Who can Apply for OEC?

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are required to apply for an OEC. As such, the following are those who can process the OEC.

  • Filipino workers who are directly hired by an overseas employer
  • Individuals who are hired through a recruitment agency
  • OFWs hired by the Government Placement Branch (GPB) unit of POEA

Where to Apply for OEC?

Filipino workers destined for work abroad, especially the new ones, do not know where they can process their OEC. To help you, we listed where you can get your OEC, may you be a walk-in applicant, a returning OFW, or applying from home.

  • Walk-in Application – Departing OFWs who are still in the Philippines can proceed to POEA’s main office or at any of their regional offices.
  • Returning OFWs – Returning OFWs who will apply for an OEC can go to the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in the country of employment; For returning OFWs who are staying in the Philippines for five days or less may proceed to Labor Assistance Counters in Manila, Cebu, or Mindanao airports.

**Good News! Recently, it is mentioned that as long as you are a returning OFW, you can skip the process of getting an OEC. All you have to do is apply for an OEC exemption, and you can do this from your home.

  • Online Appointment – For both departing and returning OFWs, you can apply from the comforts of your home. Visit the Balik-Manggagawa Online Appointment Sytem at www.bmonline.poea.gov.ph and choose your desired schedule and venue for processing.

Ways to Get an OEC

There are different processes in which you can get an OEC. The processes vary if you are a worker hired through a recruitment agency, government-hired, directly hired, and if you are a returning OFW. Presented below are the steps you can follow in processing your OEC.

Agency-Hired

If you are hired through a recruitment agency, the agency will help you in processing your papers and be the ones to submit the papers to the POEA. Take note, avoid being a victim of illegal recruitments. Look for agencies which are known for their excellence and awards.

  1. Your recruitment agency will submit your papers to the POEA for processing. Fees needed are collected from your employer.
  2. The POEA then will issue an e-receipt upon payment of fees and this will serve as your travel exit clearance and guarantee that you are covered by the government’s protection and benefits.
  3. The e-receipt will exempt you from travel tax and airport terminal fee. Just present it at the POEA Labor Assistance Center (LAC) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) counter at the airport before departure.

Government-Hired

OFWs who hired by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Government Placement Branch (GPB) unit are those who are considered government-hired. As such, you are not going to pay for the placement fess, only the processing and other fees.

  1. After receiving a notice of employment, report for pre-documentation briefing to the:

Recruitment and Documentation Division (RDD)
Government Placement Branch (GPB), Ground Floor
Philippine Employment Administration (POEA)
Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA
Mandaluyong City
Tel. No. 722-1175; 722-1144; 722-1155

  1. When your employment offer is acceptable, you will sign the employment offer and will proceed to undergo a medical examination at accredited medical clinics.
  2. If you are medically fit, you will submit a documentary requirement for processing. If you are medically unfit, the employment offer will be cancelled.
  3. You are required to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) at the Government Placement Branch, 2nd floor.
  4. Submit the required visa requirements and accomplish your visa application form. Pay the necessary visa fee.
  5. Upon the release of visa, pay the following fees for the issuance of OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) which will also serve as your POEA travel exit clearance:
    • PhilHealth contribution – Balik-Manggagawa Service Area
    • OWWA membership contribution – OWWA Satellite Office, 2nd Floor
    • POEA processing fee – Cash Division, 5th floor
    • Airfare – Travel Center, Balik-Manggagawa Service Area
  6. You are then going to attend the pre-flight briefing conducted by GPB Account Officer at the Government Placement Branch, Ground Floor, for additional information and flight details.
  7. After going through the process, wait for the release of your travel documents (visa, passport, original employment contract and plane ticket).

Direct-Hired

Before leaving the country, Filipino workers who are hired directly by a foreign employer are required to secure an OEC. The process for direct-hired workers is longer and more complicated. You will also have to apply for an OEC by yourself. There are two phases when applying for an OEC.

Phase 1: Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Clearance

  1. Request an appointment online by sending an email request to the POEA Direct Hire Assistance Division (DHAD) at dhad_lbc@yahoo.com.

The schedule of filing requests is between 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM from Mondays to Fridays.

After which, you will receive an appointment confirmation via email. Have a printout of this message and bring it to your appointment.

  1. Go to the POEA Office on your appointment schedule.
  2. Submit the requirements for your direct hire application.
  3. Check the POEA website for posting of approved POEA clearance.

Phase 2: Overseas Employment Certificate

After your approval for the POEA Clearance, return to the POEA Office for your OEC application.

  1. Request an appointment online through dhad_lbc@yahoo.com for your OEC processing. After which, you will receive an appointment confirmation via email. Have a printout of this message and bring it to your appointment.
  2. Go to the POEA Office on your appointment schedule.
  3. Get a PDOS application and attend the two-hour seminar. Upon completion, get your PDOS Certificate and have it photocopied.
  4. Submit the requirements for the OEC application.
  5. Pay for the fees needed for OEC. Wait for your receipt to be given to you.

Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System

A new way where you can get your OEC online at the comfort form your home is now available. This is called the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System. It is a web-based facility that enables applying online for OEC and has the approved OEC by you anywhere, anytime. Acquire your OEC easily now, just follow the steps below:

  1. Visit the website www.bmonline.poea.gov.ph.
  2. If you are a New User, register in the system using your personal email and click the Sign Me Up button. Verify your account by going onto your email account and click the confirmation link.
  3. Log-in as an Already Registered user. Enter your last issued OEC number. If no record found, set an Online Appointment.
  4. If the record is found, update your Personal Data, Contract Particulars, and Beneficiaries, as needed.
  5. Click Acquire OEC or Exemption for online assessment. Enter flight date and confirm if returning to the same employer and jobsite.
  6. You will be redirected to the Appointment Page. Select your preferred POEA office and schedule for processing of OEC and payment.

OEC Exemption

Returning workers who are registered with the BM Online Processing System and are returning to the same employer and jobsite can avail of the OEC exemption. Workers who are OEC exempted can already proceed to the airport directly for their departure. Government Placement Branch that hired Filipino workers is also excused from getting an OEC as long as the conditions are met. In applying for the exemption, follow the process below:

  1. Visit the website www.bmonline.poea.gov.ph.
  2. If you are a New User, register in the system using your personal email and click the Sign Me Up button. Verify your account by going onto your email account and click the confirmation link.
  3. Log-in as an Already Registered user. Enter your last issued OEC number. If no record is found, set an Online Appointment.
  4. If the record is found, update your Personal Data, Contract Particulars, and Beneficiaries, as needed.
  5. Click Acquire OEC or Exemption for online assessment. Enter flight date and confirm if returning to the same employer and jobsite.
  6. If returning to the same employer and jobsite, the system will display a confirmation message indicating that you are exempted from securing the OEC and payment of the processing fee.

How to Get OEC Balik Manggagawa in Each POLO-OWWA Office

Please check out this list of articles where you can get an OEC Balik Manggagawa in each POLO-office abroad. We have outlined the steps in each city/location:

Contact Information

For POLO Directories

Visit this link – List of POLO-OWWA Offices Abroad  https://www.poea.gov.ph/files/POLO%20Directory%20(15%20January2020).pdf

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration

Hotlines: 8722-11-44, 8722-11-55
Email: info@poea.gov.ph
Website: https://www.poea.gov.ph/www.poea.gov.ph
Location: Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City

POEA REGIONAL CENTERS/SATELLITE OFFICES

POEA Regional Center for Luzon

FERDINAND JOSE E. MERRERA
2nd Floor Kenny Plaza Quezon Ave
City of San Fernando, La Union
(072) 687-0873, (072) 607-6994
poea_rcl@poea.gov.ph

POEA Satellite Office – Tuguegarao City

ROMEO A. JARAMILLA
Methodist Church Compound
Bonifacio St., Tuguegarao City
(078) 395-0244
poea_tuguegarao@poea.gov.ph

POEA Regional Extension Unit

HELEN S. LIU
G/F Gestdan Centrum
80 Bokawkan Road corner Upper P Burgos Baguio City
poea_baguio@poea.gov.ph
poea_reu_car@yahoo.com

Satellite Office – Pampanga

PATERNO D. JURIDICO JR.
3rd Floor, SM City Pampanga
Bgy. San Jose, Gapan- Olongapo Road corner NLEX
San Fernando City Pampanga
(045) 455 – 0832 (Telefax)
poea.region3@poea.gov.ph
poea.region3@yahoo.com

Satellite Office – Calamba City

KAREN M. QUILAO
Basement, Andenson Building II
Brgy. Parian Calamba City
(049) 502-2798 (telefax)
poea_calamba@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office – Oriental Mindoro

RHENEJIM JHUN A. DELA CRUZ
Unit B Sapphire Building
Roxas Drive cor Kamias St
Brgy Lumangbayan, Calapan City
poeacalapan@gmail.com
poearso4b@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office – Palawan

JONATHAN A. GERODIAS
MJ Building, Burgos Street
Puerto Princesa City
(048)717-2140; (048)717-1653

Satellite Office – Legaspi City

JEENA P. PACLIBAR-LACEDA
Ground Floor, Unit 102-103, ANST Bldg. Washington Drive
Legaspi City
(052) 480-0144
poealegazpi@poea.gov.ph

POEA Regional Center for Visayas

GLENDA M. ALIGONZA
Ground Flr. DOLE Building (old Insular Building)
corner General Maxilom Ave and Gorordo Ave
Cebu City
(032) 231-1016, (032) 231-1007, (032) 231-1003
poea_cebu@poea.gov.ph

Regional Extension Unit

RHEA GLYNDA D. CALANTAS
3rd Floor, Robinson’s Place – Iloilo
Ledesma corner Mabini Streets, Iloilo City
(033) 336-8611, (033) 335-1058

Satellite Office – Bacolod City

CARMEN S. NAGUM
2/F, Gaisano Grand Bacolod City Mall
Araneta St., Singcang, Bacolod City
(O34) 434-7391 and (034) 704-1848
poea_bacolod@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office – Tacloban City

MARLON M. MACALLA
3/F Uytingkoc Building
Senator Enage Street
Tacloban City
(053) 888-5171
poea_tacloban@poea.gov.ph

POEA Regional Center for Mindanao

MARIA CAROLINA B. AGDAMAG
2nd Floor, AMQ Building
corner Lakandula St., Dacudao Avenue
Agdao, Davao City
(082) 297-7429 (telefax)
(082) 297-7428, (082) 297-7650
poea_davao@poea.gov.ph

Regional Extension Unit

MARIETTA M. BELLOTINDOS
2nd Floor, Goodwill Center
Canelar, Zamboanga City
(062) 992-1773
poea_zam@yahoo.com.ph

Regional Extension Unit

ANN APASRA S. ABAS
Ground Floor Trinidad Bldg.
Yacapin St., Cagayan de Oro City
(088) 880-6414
poea_cdo@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office – Koronadal City

EMERITA B. GERMO
2/F, SANLE Building
Corner Benigno Aquino and Lapu-Lapu Sts.
Zone III, Koronadal City
Telefax No. (83) 520-9991
poea_koronadal@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office- Butuan City

RITCHEL M. BUTAO
Door 2, Nimfa Tiu Bldg 7 JP Rosales Avenue
Butuan City
(085) 815-1708
poea_caraga@poea.gov.ph

Satellite Office – Tawi-Tawi

AMER HASSAN E. DORO
Initiative for Tawi Tawi Area Devt. Foundation (ITAD) Bldg.
Old Housing Proj., Tubig Boh
Bongao, Tawi Tawi
poea_tawi-tawi@poea.gov.ph

Note: For OFWs abroad, please check out this list of POLO offices where you can secure this OEC.

Summary

OFWs who are planning to return to their jobs abroad are required to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). The OEC is also known as the exit clearance for OFWs, and it is proof that the OFW has been legally employed and that he or she has met all the requirements of the job.

OFWs can apply for an OEC online or at any POEA office agency, or at the nearest POLO-OWWA office abroad.

Balik Manggagawa OFWs are also required to submit a copy of their employer’s contract, as well as their plane ticket and other travel documents.

Once the OFW has secured all the necessary documents, he or she can proceed to the airport and present the OEC to the immigration officer. With an OEC, OFWs can enjoy a hassle-free travel experience and can be assured that they are meeting all the legal requirements of their job.

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