OFW Guide: How To Apply For Police Clearance

Let’s face it: applying for a job, whether here or overseas, requires you to submit TONS of documents. These documents will be photocopies several times, depending on how many agencies you applied to.

One of the documents you need to secure is a police clearance.

Not all countries or agencies you will apply for requires you to get a police clearance. On the other hand, countries like USA, Canada, Australia, here’s what you need to know when applying for this type of requirement as well as a step-by-step procedure on how to get one.

But first, what is a police clearance?

A police clearance is a type of document that proves that you, the holder, has no criminal or derogatory record. This is valid for six months with a unique QR code to verify its authenticity.

You may be asked to get a police clearance either from:

  • Your place of residence, to ensure that you didn’t commit any crime in the area where you live; or
  • Your place of work, which ensures that you are not guilty of committing any crime in the companies you worked for within the same area.

Take note that the scope of police clearance is for a specific locality. It is also different from NBI Clearance in terms of scope since the clearance issued by the agency covers all criminal records anywhere in the Philippines.

Step-By-Step Procedure On How To Apply For A Police Clearance

Step 1: Prepare the requirements.

You will need:

  • At least two valid IDs with photo, complete name, and signature
  • PSA-certified birth certificate in case you only have one ID
  • Police clearance application form, in case you have not registered online
  • Cash for payment of police clearance fee – in case you have not registered online
  • An active email address

Take note that most local government offices prefer that you register with the NPCS website instead of applying thru walk-in.

Step 2: Register and create an account with NPCS.

Most city governments require applicants to register with the National Police Clearance System to speed up the process.

Go to the NPCS website and click Register. A new window will appear, so make sure to tick all the boxes to continue. Don’t forget to read everything since this serves as a guideline when applying for a police clearance.

Then, fill out the New Applicant Registration form and click Register. Check your email because a verification link will be sent, which you need to click to verify your information. Thereafter, you will be asked to sign with the email address you used to register.

Once you logged in, don’t forget to edit your profile by completing the necessary information being asked.

Step 3: Set up an appointment.

Click the Clearance Application button. Choose the police station where you will apply. Thereafter, a list of available schedules will appear. Choose your preferred date and time, and click Next.

Don’t forget to click the Land Bank of the Philippines button before saving your appointment.

Take note of the payment details, which will be displayed as soon as you saved your appointment. A reference number will likewise be given so TAKE NOTE and write it down. You will use this reference number when paying for the fee.

Step 4: Payment.

To pay, click Pay to LANDBANK button, which will lead you directly to the bank’s e-Payment portal. You can use your Landbank account, GCash, or Bancnet.

Take note that the police clearance fee is P150 plus P10 transaction fee.

Step 5: Go to your scheduled appointment.

Don’t forget to bring the requirements such as valid IDs, reference number, and official receipt of your payment. Once you presented the documents, you will undergo biometrics process wherein photo, fingerprints, and digital signature are taken.

When done, wait for your name to be called for the release of your police clearance.

In case your application got a hit, you have to go through a verification process first before you can claim your police clearance.

The good thing about applying for a police clearance now is that the process is faster since it is digital. It’s more efficient now compared before; hence making the process more convenient for you.

OFW Guide: What You Need To Remember Before You Board The Plane

Finally, after months of trying and waiting, you are on your way to another country to work. From the moment you stepped on the entrance gate of NAIA up until the plane landed to your destination, there will always be mixed emotions. This will remain true, especially for first-time OFWs.

Unfortunately, this mixture of emotions could backfire against you.

This is why preparation is important to make sure that you won’t forget anything come departure. Don’t worry because we listed the documents you need to bring plus other preparations and tips you need to remember to ensure that your trip will be smooth and hassle-free.

Documents To Prepare

Before you go to the airport and face the Immigration Officer, make sure you have the original as well as photocopies of the following documents:

  • Pre-Departure Overseas Seminar or PDOS Certificate
  • Valid passport
  • Working visa
  • Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC
  • Flight ticket and Boarding pass
  • Employment Contract
  • NBI Clearance
  • Valid government-issued ID with your photo
  • Letter of Guarantee or Letter of Endrosement, if applicable
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers

These documents will be presented to the Immigration Officer or IO. These signifies that you are a documented Overseas Filipino Worker and may leave the country legally. Have these documents stacked in an organized manner to make it easier for you to look for what you need.

What happens when you face the Immigration Officer?

Aside from ensuring your documents are ready, you need to fill out a Departure Card, which is readily available in the airport.

Once you’re done, line up and present the following documents to the officer in charge:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • OEC
  • Plane ticket
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers
  • Departure card

This is tricky. IOs need to ensure that no Filipino will be a victim of human trafficking, which is why they pay extra attention to OFWs. Remember to:

  • Be calm and composed.
  • Answer the IO’s questions honestly and truthfully.
  • Answer the question directly and avoid giving too much information.
  • Dress appropriately.

IOs may intimidate you to ensure that you are telling them the truth. Just relax because sweating profusely and distorted stories might cause you to be offloaded.

Things To Bring Aside From The Documents Listed Above

Your documentation requirements are crucial. Still, you need to remember to bring these things to avoid hassle:

  • Black pen, for filling out other documentation requirements in the airport
  • Small notebook with your employer and/or agency’s contact details like contact person, mobile number, and address
  • Cash. Despite the exemption from airport terminal fees and taxes, you’ll never know when you’ll need another bottle of water. It’s better to be prepared.
  • Water tumbler. Drinking fountains are available in the airport, so make sure you keep those filled. This will prevent you from spending too much money on something you can get for free, right?
  • Extra clothes. Who knows, you might be stuck in the airport or there is a sudden change of weather in your destination. It’s better to be prepared.

That being said, here is a step-by-step process of what you need to follow once you’re in the airport:

  • Go to the OFW Lounge. This is where your OEC and Employment Contract will be validated.
  • Go through the airport security and scanning.
  • Proceed to your designated airline for check-in and dropping of bags. A boarding pass and baggage claim tag will be given to you after.
  • Go to the Departure Lobby for another scan. Make sure you present your passport and boarding pass.
  • Get a Departure Card and fill it out.
  • Head to the Immigration counter – OFW Express Lane. Make sure that all your documents are ready.
  • Once approved by the IO, pass through Customs for another scan. At this point, body search is legal and you will also be asked to remove your shoes.
  • After passing through Customs, go to your designated pre-departure gate for boarding.

Going through Immigration will take time, so make sure you arrive at least three hours before your designated departure. This way, you still have enough time to relax and enjoy the airport facilities.

Find Out The Costs Of Working Overseas

Do you plan to seek greener pastures and work overseas? If yes, then you’re not alone. There are hundreds, even thousands of Filipinos who are willing to work abroad and earn more than what they can earn here,

Here’s the reality: despite the promise of higher salary, there are fees you need to pay – some shouldered by you while the others will be paid for by your employer or agency.

Apart from the documentary requirements, here are the costs you need to prepare for before you say to a job overseas:

Shouldered By The Worker

You need to prepare your wallet for the following expenses:

  • NBI Clearance – P130.00
  • Philippine Passport – P950.00 and P1,200.00 for regular and express processing, respectively. You also have to pay additional P150.00 if you want it delivered to your home.
  • Philhealth – P2,400 every year
  • Police Clearance – P100
  • Birth Certificate – P150
  • SSS Contribution – Depends on your salary grade but it starts at P960 per month
  • Medical Exam Fee – Depends on the medical clinic conducting the examination, but it usually charges P5,000
  • Placement Fee – Equivalent to less than or equal to one month salary stated in your contract
  • Immunization Fee – Depends on the immunization, but it is safe to prepare at least P5,000. This is not mandatory but some host countries require that workers take necessary shots before being deployed.

Shouldered By The Employer / Agency

Don’t worry. Not everything will be shouldered by you. With the passage of Republic Act 8042, there are costs that must be shouldered by the employer. This includes:

  • POEA Processing Fee – P200
  • OWWA Membership Fee – $25 or its peso equivalent
  • OFW Compulsory Insurance – Depends on the insurance provider
  • Visa Fee – This will depend on the host country
  • Airfare – Varies, depends on the airline
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS – P100

In other words, you will be charged at least P50,000 for the documentary requirements and mandatory memberships alone.

Apparently, the costs don’t stop here. Even if you were able to comply with all of these requirements, you need to worry about the costs of living overseas. This is why it is important that before you leave the country, you will set aside a budget that will help you pay for basic necessities like food and water in order to survive the first few weeks.

“How much?,” you might ask.

Again, it depends on your country of destination, Some countries like Singapore, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have higher cost of living than in Manila. This means even if you are earning three or four times than your salary in the Philippines, you will end up paying more because the cost of goods are high.

Still, don’t let this discourage you. Filipinos are known for being resilient and ma-diskarte, so use those to make the most out of your salary. Be wise with your spending and avoid buying unnecessary things, especially during the first few months overseas. Set a budget, prioritize your spending, and get a side job if time permits so you will be able to earn more.

You’ll get used to this eventually. Just make sure you use your salary wisely.

OFW Guide: How To Get Or Renew NBI Clearance While Overseas

Fact: when you decide to work as an OFW, you need to secure TONS of documents to process your application. By documents, this includes NBI Clearance.

Usually, you need a NBI Clearance as part of the requirements you need to submit prior to leaving the country. It is valid for a certain period only and may be renewed whenever needed.

Why do you need to get this document when you’re already out of the country?

There are two scenarios:

  • If you want to live permanently on the country where you currently work
  • If you want to migrate to another country while working in a foreign country

Given these scenarios, does it mean you need to go back to the Philippines to get a NBI Clearance?

Thankfully, NO. In fact, all you need is a decent Internet connection because getting this document can be done online.

There are two options when you apply for NBI Clearance online:

  • Through a proxy or an authorized representative
  • By mail, which does NOT require an authorized representative

Here’s how you can apply or renew NBI Clearance WITH REPRESENTATIVE:

Step 1: Prepare all the documents.

For new application:

  • NBI Form No. 5 or the Fingerprint form. You can get a form from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. If you have a representative, s/he can get the form at NBI UN Avenue branch.
  • Duly signed Letter of Authorization, in case you have a representative
  • Photocopy of passport, including the latest stamp of departure
  • 2×2 photo in white background. Make sure that the photo was taken at least three months prior to application.
  • Valid IDs provided by your host country

For renewal:

  • Previous NBI Clearance in its original form
  • Duly signed Letter of Authorization, in case you have a representative
  • Photocopy of passport, including the latest stamp of departure
  • Valid IDs provided by your host country
  • NBI Form No. 5, although this is not a mandatory requirement

As soon as you prepared all documents, send these to the Philippines.

Step 2: Registration

Go to NBI Clearance website to register for a new account online. Make sure you provide all relevant information for faster verification process. You can also access the website here.

Step 3: Create an online appointment.

Once you successfully registered, set an appointment. Make sure you use “PASSPORT” as your valid ID.

Since you are overseas, choose NBI Clearance Center, UN Avenue, Manila as your branch.

Step 4: Payment of fees.

Depending on your preferred payment method, you or your representative must pay for the corresponding fees. A reference number will be generated after, which you should keep.

Step 5: Submission of documents.

Your representative must submit the documents and present the reference number at the NBI Central Office in UN Avenue. Make sure that your proxy will present valid ID to verify his or her identity.

Step 6: Mailing and Authentication.

Once your NBI Clearance is released, your representative must mail it to you. Once you received it, it should have NBI Dry Seal.

Then, go to the Philippine Embassy or Consulate and have your clearance stamped.

Here’s how you can apply or renew NBI Clearance WITHOUT REPRESENTATIVE:

This is what you will do in case you cannot assign someone to process the NBI Clearance application or renewal on your behalf:

Step 1: Preparation of documents.

Prepare the documents mentioned above. With or without a representative, the requirements are the same.

Aside from the documents, you also need to attach money order or bank draft amounting to P200 to NBI Director. Take note that personal checks or cash are not accepted.

Step 2: Mail the documents.

This should be mailed at Mailed Clearance Section, 3rd Floor, NBI Clearance Building, UN Avenue, Ermita, Manila

Step 3: Register online.

You can do this by creating an online account at the NBI Clearance website. If you have an existing account, then simply log-in at the website.

Step 4: Apply for clearance.

On the Applicant’s Information Page, click “Apply for Clearance.”

Skip the online appointment since you don’t have a representative who could go to the NBI Office in UN Avenue.

Step 5: Payment of fees.

Pay for the corresponding fees. A reference number will be generated, so make sure to take note of it.

Step 6: Processing of application.

Verification of documents and processing of NBI Clearance application often takes five days from the time the agency receives your documents.

Also, always check the status of your application through the NBI Clearance website.

Step 7: Mailing of documents.

Once approved, NBI will mail you the clearance. Make sure the document has NBI Dry Seal before you bring it to the Philippine Embassy for verification.

The process may not be perfect – for now – but this is an improvement that will definitely help Filipinos. Take advantage of this service and share on the comments section about your experience.

OFW Guide: How To Renew Your Philippine Passport

One of the most important requirements you need to accomplish when you want to work abroad is the passport. This serves as your travel document and that you are a citizen of a particular country.

Thankfully, passport validity is extended to 10 years, which means you will only renew your passport every decade.

Speaking of renewal, what are the requirements and process you need to do to be able to renew your passport? Is there a special lane for OFWs like you? How much money should you bring?

Keep reading to find out.

Passport Renewal Requirement

Here are the documents you need to bring when you renew your passport:

  • Renewal application form. You can get the form at the DFA or you can download the form here.
  • Current passport
  • Two government-issued IDs
  • OFW documents like Employment Contract, plane ticket, Exit Clearance, and passport with your employment visa stamp

In certain cases such as change of name for married applicants or misspelled name in your OFW documents, make sure you bring the following, whichever is applicable to you:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Death certificate of the deceased spouse

Take note that the DFA will only get photocopies of these documents. Still, they require that you present the original copy for checking.

What if you have an existing passport but you lost it? What documents do you need to bring to be able to get a new one?

Aside from the ones mentioned above, you also need to submit:

  • Personal appearance
  • Confirmed appointment with the DFA
  • Notarized Affidavit of Lost with detailed explanation as to how and where you lost your passport
  • Police Report, in case your passport was still valid when you lost it.

Take note that for lost passport, a 15-day clearing period is part of the renewal application process.

Where To Renew

The good news is you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. Every DFA Consular Office has Courtesy Lanes, which accommodate applicants like OFWs, minors, and senior citizens.

Thankfully, the DFA announced that the Robinson’s Galleria branch will be exclusive for OFWs. This also means that you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. You can go in anytime, as long as your requirements are complete.

Costs For Passport Renewal

Just like anything else, renewing your passport means you have to pay for certain fees.

For regular processing, which requires 15 working days before you get your passport, the fee of P950 must be paid. If you’re in a rush, then be ready to pay for P1,200 so you could get your passport within seven working days.

An additional fee of P200 or P350 must also be paid for lost and valid MRRP / MRP and e-passport, respectively.

You might also want to allocate funds for photocopy, which is P3 per page. You can save more from this by making sure that you photocopied ALL documents before going to the DFA Consular Office.

Step-By-Step Procedure And Things To Remember On How To Renew Passport

1. Prepare all documents needed for passport renewal.

Make sure that all of the documents are ready, both original and photocopies. Create a checklist so you won’t miss out on any requirements.

2. Proceed to the DFA Consular Office early.

This way, you don’t have to worry much about long lines and you can finish early as well.

Also, dress appropriately. Sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirt, and slippers are NOT allowed. You are entering a government agency, so make sure you dress properly.

3. Get a number and wait for your turn.

The guard on duty will give you a number. Hold on to that number and wait for it to be called.

Once called, submit all the documents at the service counter.

4. Pay the passport fees.

You can go for regular processing or have it expedited.

5. Get your picture and biometrics taken.

A DFA official will assist you on this.

6. Delivery or Pickup

You have the option to either have your passport delivered to your home OR pick up in the DFA Consular Office where you applied. For delivery service, LBC will handle it for an additional fee of P150.

How To Start Your Buy And Sell Business

Your salary overseas may be bigger than your usual salary in the Philippines. Still, let’s face it: it doesn’t seem enough. This is why you take side jobs to make ends meet and yet, your family’s needs – and wants – back home are just too much for your pocket to handle.

This is why you and your family decided to start a buy and sell business to help augment financial needs. Plus, it is among the easiest business you can do since the qualifications are not restricted to large capital and a business degree.

Don’t be too complacent. A lot of people are in this field so you need to be smart in starting this business. The question now is how.

Here’s how to start your buy and sell business:

Step 1: Know Your Market.

It’s not enough that you have a brilliant idea or a product that will make people’s lives easier. To succeed, you also need to know who your market is.

Who are the people most likely to buy your product? What needs are you trying to fulfill through the product you are selling?

Aside from this, you also need to know who your competitors are. This is essential because it will help you in your market strategies. At the same time, you also need to check whether the market is already saturated. Competition is good but if there’s too many already, then you need to come up with a plan on how to set you apart from the rest.

Step 2: Establish Your Capital.

Now that you know your market, it’s time to establish how much money you will use for your new business. Consequently, you need to know where you will get your capital.

You can use your savings for your starting capital. On the other hand, you can also borrow money if you don’t want to use your savings.

Balikbayad offers up to P500,000 to help OFWs finance their needs.

Step 3: Source Your Products.

You know what to sell and how to sell it. You have sufficient money for capital, thereby making you capable of buying what you need. The next thing you need to do is to source your products.

The truth is you can sell anything you want. If you want to succeed in this arena, then you need to go for a product that will not only help Filipinos but also something new and relevant in the market.

You can start with products where you can buy wholesale for a cheaper price in areas like Divisoria, Tutuban, or Taytay. Make sure you canvass properly and find suppliers that will give you the most competitive price.

You can also get products from where you’re working and send it back home. Who knows, this could lead to exclusive distributorship where you can kiss your OFW life goodbye.

Step 4: Set Up Your Store

There are two ways to set up your store: physical store or online.

If you plan a physical store, then you need to look for a place with high foot traffic. This way, you will be able to reach more potential customers. That being said, you need to prepare yourself to pay for the rent, which must be declared as part of your expenses.

If you want to save yourself from paying the rent, then consider an online store. You will be able to use the funds for your marketing campaigns instead of paying it for rent. The best part is there are free sites that allow you to set up an online store such as Facebook and Instagram. Maximize on that. When your online store is picking up, you can put up your own website.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Many online stores don’t have the necessary permits and business registration. While this is okay, you might be asked to process the legitimacy of your business when you decide to open a physical store or rent a commercial space. Online retailer giants like Lazada and Shopee also require business documents before you are allowed to sell on their website.

It may be a hassle, but at least you are registered, right?

Step 6: Start Selling.

Now that you have your products, your business is registered, and you secured the necessary permits needed, it’s time to start selling.

Don’t wait for next week or next month. You might be foregoing opportunities if you delay. Go for it.

The Not-So-Good Filipino Traits That Affected Money Habits

Each one of us has a set of traits that are unique from others. Oftentimes, these traits are passed on from generation to generation while others may be acquired due to experience or changes in lifestyle. Still, there are traits that are common to many – even if you are not related to one another.

While Filipinos are known to be resilient and always looking at the brighter side of things, there are traits that might explain why many are still unaware of what investment is or the concept of savings.

What are these traits that could hamper our success as a nation? These are:

Way Too Many Celebrations

Almost everything is celebrated in the Philippines – birthday, anniversary, graduation, baptism, wedding, grandparents day, national siblings day, and the list goes on. While these occasions warrant a celebration, the problem with Filipinos is that we celebrate too much. Many are willing to throw money just to have that party that will make everyone wish that it is theirs.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating important milestones. But do you really need those fireworks or feed 300 people? We think not.

Manana Habit

Admit it. You have the habit of procrastinating or doing things later instead of working on it now. You often say, “Mamaya na” because who doesn’t want to catch some sleep or check what’s happening to your family on Facebook?

You may not notice it, but this habit extends to how you deal with your finances. You might say “mamaya na” when you need to pay the bills, open a savings account, or even start an investment. This could compromise your financial future and by the time you decide to say yes to any one of your financial goals, it’s already late.

“Nahihiya Ako” Habit

Philippines is a conservative country, which explains why despite the modern age, many still look down on those who wear skimpy outfit or had several partners prior to marriage. Instead of being open, many people prefer to keep things to themselves.

Sadly, this extends to anything financial. Instead of asking questions about things you don’t understand such as how the stock market works or what is the difference between UITF and mutual fund, you decided to be quiet. Even if you want to know about time deposit or treasury bonds, you don’t want to ask out of fear of being labeled.

This is not a proper mindset. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, especially on those you are not familiar with. Despite tons of information available online, there’s nothing wrong with asking an expert.

Extended Family Mentality

Unlike foreigners, Filipinos are very close to family. This is a good habit but sometimes, this closeness extends to extended relatives.

What’s wrong with that? Nothing – until all of your savings or hard-earned money is shared to your extended family. Since you are working overseas, you feel obligated to let them borrow money or even put something for them on the balikbayan box.

It’s okay to share, but you need to set boundaries. You’re not a walking ATM and every money sent is a product of hard work. Leave something for yourself and your family since this is your priority.

Pahiram Naman Dyan”

When you want something, how do you pay for it? Ideally, you save up for it until you have sufficient amount to pay for the item. Unfortunately, many would love to borrow money just to buy what they want.

Stop this habit. It’s okay to borrow especially for necessary purchases that will cost you hundreds of thousands. If you don’t really need it yet, then make it a habit to save up for it. At least you don’t know anything to anyone.

Do you possess any of these habits? Don’t worry. It’s not too late to kick them off.

5 Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Bank While You’re Overseas

Leaving the country for bigger salary and being away from your family are some of the most difficult things you need to do. But hey, everyone need to make sacrifices to ensure the future, right? That is why it is important that you have the right partners that will give you peace of mind even if you are thousands of miles away.

One of them is your bank.

Having a bank is crucial in your OFW life because it will serve as your “delivery man” for your hard-earned money. You also need to make sure that your remittance will reach your family.

Before you leave the country, here are some of the things you need to look into when it comes to your bank:

The Type Of Bank

Did you know that there are different types of bank in the Philippines? In fact, they are classified into:

  • Universal or Commercial – This type of bank provides a variety of financial services to consumers. Aside from savings account, you can also apply for a loan, pay bills, start an investment, and even get a credit card. BDO, Metrobank, and BPI are some examples of universal or commercial bank.
  • Rural or Cooperative – These are small banks that are usually located in provinces. They offer basic financial services and more personalized customer service. However, financial services are limited to savings and checking account only, which means sending money from overseas could be an issue.
  • Thrift Bank – It offers higher interest rate for savings account and initial deposit is lower but unfortunately, they are limited to cash deposits only. Withdrawing via ATM may be challenging as well since branches are limited.
  • Digital Bank – Online banking are becoming popular these days, which makes financial transactions easier and more convenient. You can open an account, transfer funds, and pay bills among others using your mobile app. Interest rate and fees are also competitive. Sadly, there is no physical bank and face-to-face interaction is limited.

Services Offered

It’s not enough that you have a savings account, although having one is already a good start. You also need to know what other products and services can they offer that will make your life easier.

Since you are working overseas, you need to inquire about their online facility. Is online money transfer available? Can you pay your bills online?

Aside from this, ask for other products such as loan and investment. If they have a credit card as well, then go for it. Usually, you will have a higher chance of loan approval or getting a credit card if you are already a depositor of that particular bank.

Bank Fees

Another aspect you should look into is the fees charged by banks. How much is the penalty fee in case of delayed payment? How much will be charged on your account if your account is below the minimum maintaining balance? How much is the fee for balance inquiry or if you withdrew money from ATM that is not from your bank?

These are some of the fees you need to ask before you say yes to one bank.

Accessibility And Convenience

This is important. You are working overseas and sending money back home, which means accessibility and convenience is a MUST.

The bank must be accessible to your family to make it easier for them to withdraw money. An online facility is also a must since this will make remittance easier and more convenient as well. ATMs are also crucial since this will make banking more convenient.

Security

This is important. More than anything else, you need to know that your bank of choice will safeguard your hard-earned money. At the same time, the bank should assure you that your information is protected.

Identity theft and digital hacking are common these days. Your preferred bank must give you a peace of mind that your information and money is safe and secured at all costs.

Does your preferred bank met all of these requirements?

5 Money Management Tips For Couples Even If You Are Miles Away

There are many reasons why couples fight. Despite the petty quarrels over who forgot to flush the toilet or who’s turn is it to do the dishes, one of the biggest issues facing couples is the issue on money. This could get worse if you are thousands of miles away from each other. Even if you don’t want it, sooner or later, you and your spouse will be fighting about money.

Do you really have to wait for that time to come? Definitely not.

Before things get worse, here are some money management tips you and your spouse need to remember, which could eventually lead to better financial future:

Tip No. 1: Know and Understand One’s Money Personality

Before you establish ground rules, you and your spouse need to understand how you both handle money. You need to know who’s likely to be a spender or who prefers to save money so you can come up with a solid plan on how to handle everything.

Being an OFW could be overwhelming for many families since the income is higher compared to how much you are earning in the Philippines. As a result, many families are unable to save for things that truly matter because spending came first. You can avoid that early on by knowing and understanding each other’s attitude towards money.

Tip No. 2: Decide On How To Handle Money

You will more likely earn more while your spouse could be staying at home or working online while taking care of your family. Given your situation, how will you handle money?

Have a sit-down with your spouse and decide. Decide on:

  • What to do with your earnings
  • What to do with your spouse’s earnings
  • How you will split the expenses at home
  • How money will be handled, either jointly or separately
  • Whether or not you will both have personal accounts

These are some of the things you need to discuss before you leave the country. Consequently, it is something you should discuss from time to time for checks and balance. This way, you and your spouse are both on the same track when it comes to your family’s financial future.

Tip No. 3: Be Honest With Your Finances

Money is among the many issues haunting couples these days. It’s not just about who spends more or why one earns higher than others. Sometimes, it’s because couples are not honest with their finances.

Be truthful and honest. Have some sense of transparency where one knows what the other is up to and vice versa. If you have an existing loan or you feel you have spending issues, then talk about it. Let your partner know that you owe someone this big or you don’t have enough savings.

The same goes with your spouse. Make sure you are both honest with your financial situation. It may be embarrassing to talk about it but you can’t commit to a more rewarding financial path if you’re both hiding something.

Tip No. 4: Agree On Your Spending

There are many things you need to spend on – house, car, your kid’s education, daily expenses back home and where you’re working, and the list goes on. Then you have to worry about savings, retirement fund, and investment because hey, OFW life is not forever, right? Your kids might be requesting for new shoes or iPad and saying no to them is your weakness.

Whatever it is, you and your spouse must agree on where your hard-earned money will go, regardless of how big or small the amount is.

Tip No. 5: Work Together

This is a must. You will never be able to achieve your financial goals – or any other goals – if you two are not working together. Handling money for your family is a collective effort. If you don’t work as a team, then everything that you want for the family might not happen.

OFW Guide: How To Seek Legal Assistance Through POEA

It’s never easy being an Overseas Filipino Worker. Despite the promise of a better life, there is always a possibility that your dreams of an improved future won’t happen. If you’re not too careful, you might even be a victim of illegal recruitment.

That being said, what is your legal remedy in case you became a victim of illegal recruitment? Can you file a case against the illegal recruiter? If yes, where should you file it? What is the procedure you need to follow to make sure that the illegal recruiter pays for what he did?

Here’s what you need to know about POEA’s Legal Assistance Services:

Coverage of Legal Assistance Services:

Legal Advice – this offers counselling services wherein repatriated workers are informed of rights as well as possible options for redress of grievances.

Conciliation – this gives both the repatriated worker/s and recruitment agency an opportunity to discuss and possibly come up with an amicable settlement. Per POEA, parties must undergo 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation before a complaint will be filed in the Adjudication Office for the following cases:

  • Administrative complaint involving OFW, licensed manning agency, or employer relating to overseas employment
  • Issues arising from labor and employment

In case parties are unable to settle, the POEA Conciliation Unit will issue a Certificate of Failure to Conciliate.

On the other hand, the following cases are NOT required to undergo mandatory conciliation-mediation proceeding:

  • Cases referred by POLO
  • Cases initiated by the POEA
  • Cases involving acts of misrepresentation to secure license
  • Violations of POEA Rules and Regulations involving serious offenses
  • Offenses penalized with cancellation of license
  • Complaints against agencies with revoked, cancelled, or delisted license
  • Disciplinary actions against land-based workers and seafarers, which are either considered serious offenses or carry the penalty of delisting from the POEA Registry at first offense
  • Other complaints included in the POEA Rules that are not subject to compulsory mediation

Preparation and Filing of Complaints – if the case prospers, the agency, through Legal Assistance Division, may help in the preparation and filing of complaints for illegal recruitment, disciplinary action cases, and other forms of recruitment violations.

Counseling – this is done during preliminary investigation and and hearings of criminal cases for illegal recruitment.

Procedure in Availing POEA’s Legal Assistance Services:

Before you proceed, you need to make an appointment to ensure that the agency will assist you when you arrive. Consequently, this assures the agency that the assistance is extended to OFWs only.

Click this link to make an appointment. Make sure to tick the box that indicates “Legal” under “Assistance” tab for the purpose of such request.

Once you made an appointment, here are the other steps you need to do on the day of your schedule:

  1. Proceed to Legal Assistance Division, 4th floor of the POEA Building.
  2. Get and fill out a Verification Form from the guard-on-duty.
  3. Secure an OFW Information Sheet from the Central Records Division, 6th floor, POEA Building.
  4. Submit the documents, Info Sheet and Verification Form, at Window 3, Licensing Branch, 4th floor of the POEA Main Building. The LB Verifications Officer will verify your status as OFW.
  5. Once your status is verified, submit the verified documents to the Legal Assistance Division or LAD Officer. Wait for your name to be called.
  6. When you’re called, go to the designated Legal Officer for counselling or legal assistance. The Legal Officer will also help you in the preparation or filing of a complaint form.
  7. Submit the duly accomplished complaint form to the Legal Officer. You will also be asked to swear under oath as to the truthfulness of the facts contained in the complaint.
  8. File the complaint at the Conciliation Unit, 2nd floor of the POEA Main Building if proper for conciliation OR Docket and Enforcement Division, 3rd floor of the same building.

For further details, you may contact:

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
Legal Assistance Division
4th Floor, BFO Building
EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue Mandaluyong City
Telephone Nos.: 721-0619/722-1189
Email: legal-asst@poea.gov.ph