Ideal Workshops Every OFW Must Attend

They say learning doesn’t stop in school. That’s true. The more knowledgeable you are, the better the opportunities will be. If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker, then you need to make sure that you get as much knowledge as you can to be ahead of the pack.

In that case, you need to consider enrolling in workshops for added knowledge. If you are in the process of looking for a job overseas, these workshops could make your resume look good because of the added learnings you had.

The question now is what type of workshops should you enroll to?

Career-Specific Workshops 

It’s not enough that you know how to make bread or operate a particular machine. Think of your skill as an art where it has to be honed, developed, and constantly improved on. If you have a specific skill, then look for trainings or seminars that will help you improve on it. TESDA regularly conducts trainings pertaining to various skills, so make sure to check it out as well.

Business Courses

If you are an existing business owner or a starting entrepreneur, then this type of workshop must be included in your list the next time you come home for a visit. This type of workshop is intended to help business owners succeed further in their chosen path.

Government agencies partner with one another to come up with trainings that assist business owners on how to boost sales profit using social media platforms, intensify presence in the digital market, improve inventory, and managing business difficulties among others. Private companies like Manila Workshops also organizes talks about “how to” Facebook Ads and applying SEO techniques to boost sales.

Added Income Workshops

Surprisingly, the money you earn in dollars is not enough to sustain your family’s everyday needs. If that happens, then you and your family need to start looking for additional income ideas to make ends meet.

The good news there are a lot of training centers that provide livelihood and training seminars for extra income. You or your spouse can learn about meat processing, baking and cake decorating, bread making, and noodle-making, especially if you like food.

If you’re not into food, there are seminars about soap or laundry detergent making for business, cologne making, basic tailoring and dressmaking, haircutting, and flower arrangement among many others. Explore your options because training centers have conduct various workshops every month.

Digital Literacy Trainings

Not everyone has access to computers or any other digital resources for added knowledge. When they finally experienced one, they don’t know what to do. Thankfully, OWWA, in partnership with Facebook, came up with digital literacy training to help departing OFWs. This will be a one-hour training integrated in the exit program of OFWs.

In this training, OFWs will be taught safety and security measures when using social media platforms like Facebook, which became a “lifeline” for many migrant workers. Spotting fake news, choosing who to accept as friends, and identifying scams will likewise be taught to protect departing workers.

Aside from this, you can find courses online about learning how to operate programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and the like.

Financial Literacy / Education 

This is a must. Only a small number of families have decent and sufficient savings. The reason for lack of savings and investment? Most people don’t know or don’t understand how these work.

Change that by enrolling in classes that teaches financial literacy. Keep yourself informed about various investment products and how these could help during the rainy days. Preparing for the future is a must – and getting into financial trainings will keep you armed.

Take note that workshops often come with a fee. While these trainings give you additional knowledge, only go for those that will help you further in your current track and save experimentation later.

What You Need to Know about Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995

In 1995, the Congress passed Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act, which aims to protect and promote the welfare of migrant workers as well as their families. This includes instituting policies on deployment with other countries and fight against illegal recruitment among others.

15 years after, Congress amended the Migrant Workers Act, known as Republic Act No. 10022, to help adapt to changing times. It became a law on March 8, 2010.

You might be wondering how this law affects you. The answer is A LOT. Below are the key points you need to know to ensure that your rights as a migrant worker is protected.

Definition of Overseas Filipino Worker

According to the law, OFW or migrant worker is a person to be engaged, is engaged, or has been engaged in an activity for a consideration in a place where s/he is not a citizen. This also includes individuals who are on board a vessel navigating in foreign seas other than a government ship used for military or non-commercial purposes or an installation located on high seas or offshore.

Deployment of Migrant Workers

Filipino migrant workers will only be deployed in countries where their rights are protected. Said countries must have existing labor and social laws that includes protection of rights of migrant workers, signatory to or ratifier of declarations or conventions that protects rights of workers, and has a concluded bilateral agreement with the Philippine government.

Consequently, countries that accept migrant workers must take positive and concrete measures to ensure that the rights of the workers are protected. At the same time, these countries must be compliant with international rules and standards on migrant workers. Otherwise, a No Permit for Deployment will be issued by POEA, after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Illegal Recruitment

This is defined as any act of canvassing, contracting, enlisting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers for employment overseas, regardless if it’s for profit or not by an agency that is not registered and authorized by the Labor Department. Promises, referrals, and advertisements of employment abroad are also considered as acts of illegal recruitment.

READ: What You Need to Know about Illegal Recruitment

Consequently, the law defined the term illegal recruitment by syndicate, which means illegal recruitment was carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring and confederating with one another to commit illegal acts.

Illegal recruitment activities include but not limited to:

  • Charging an amount that is higher than the amount indicated in the schedule of allowable fees.
  • Publishing false information or notice related to recruitment or employment.
  • Recruitment or placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality.
  • Withholding or denying travel documents from applicant workers before departure due to monetary or financial considerations.
  • Allowing non-Filipino citizen to manage or head a licensed recruitment / manning agency.
  • Failure to submit pertinent recruitment information to the Department of Labor and Employment such as job vacancies, status of employment of deployed workers, departure, and separation from jobs among others.
  • Imposing a compulsory and exclusive arrangement to applicant workers to avail of a loan ONLY on specified entities or persons.
  • Imposing a compulsory and exclusive arrangement to applicant workers to undergo medical or health examination on specific and designated medical clinics. This also includes attending trainings on designated training centers.

Take note that victims of illegal recruitment will be provided with free legal assistance.

National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers

Also known as NRCO, this center was created by DOLE for returning OFWs to help in the reintegration process, serve as a promotion house for local employment, and help in tapping and developing skills for national development. The center will be open 24 hours, seven days a week, including holidays.

Below are some of NRCO’s specific mandates:

  • Develop and support programs for livelihood, savings, investment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.
  • Coordinate with appropriate stakeholders and institutions for promotion and development of OFWs.
  • Come up with a computer-based information system on returning OFWs, which will also be accessible to recruitment agencies and employers.
  • Develop and implement programs that will help promote the welfare of returning Filipino migrant workers.
  • Conduct research for policy recommendation and program development.

Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Agency-Hired Workers

According to the amended law, ALL agency-hired workers will be covered by a compulsory insurance coverage policy and secured at no cost to the worker. It is effective for the entire duration of the worker’s employment contract and cover:

  • Accidental death with at least USD 15,000 survivor’s benefit payable to the migrant worker’s beneficiary. The insurance provider shall likewise arrange and pay for the return of the worker’s remains.
  • Permanent total disablement with at least USD 7,500 disability benefit payable to the migrant worker.
  • Repatriation cost when the employment was terminated without just or valid cause, including transport of personal belongings.
  • Subsistence allowance benefit of at least USD 100 per month for a maximum of six months if migrant worker is involved in a case or is in litigation.
  • Money claims arising from employer’s liability.

Aside from monetary benefits, migrant worker is entitled to compassionate visit by one family member in case s/he is confined in the hospital. Medical evacuation and repatriation must also be afforded to the migrant worker when necessary.

The recruitment agency can freely choose an insurance provider PROVIDED that it is duly registered with the Insurance Commission and is operational for at least P500 million. The recruitment agency must provide an authenticated copy of the insurance policy after procurement since such policy is needed to help secure the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

Claims must be paid by the insurance company without any contest and as soon as substantiated proof was presented.

Know your rights.

Go Home Early and For Good? Here’s How to Do It

Working overseas is not easy. Finding a job abroad is equally challenging as well. As soon as your contract expires, there is a possibility that you might not get a job months after you went home. Unfortunately, two years of work abroad is not enough to buy a house or at least a car and ensure that you have enough money to send your kids up to college. This explains why people constantly look for a job overseas until they have enough money to sustain everyday living.

The question is how long should you work overseas to make your dreams happen?

A minimum of 10 years is enough to be able to help OFWs prepare for retirement and live a comfortable life. Apparently, there are many who live decades of their lives overseas and retiring is something they don’t consider because the needs back home are endless.

Let us tell you this: you can shorten your stay overseas without compromising the future of your family. Here’s what you can do:

1. Set a financial goal/s before leaving overseas. 

It’s not enough that you want “to save” or “buy a house” as reasons for working abroad. Financial goals must be specific and attainable to make them happen. Having specific goals will also prevent overstaying because you will constantly feel that there is a need somewhere.

For instance, you want P1 million savings after five years, or finance at least half of the total purchase price of your dream house, or an investment worth P100,000 after two years.

More importantly, make sure that your family knows what these financial goals are. This way, they can help in making these goals happen.

2. Stick to your financial goals. 

It’s not enough that you set your goals. You need to make these goals happen by making sure you stick with them.

At this point, you should be able to enumerate various ways on how you can make your goals realize. This is where budgeting comes in because it will help you itemize your money and make sure that you will be able to stick with your goals

READ: The Basics of Budgeting 

3. Stay away from (material) temptation.

Being overseas is a temptation already. The fact that you are abroad will make you realize that goods are cheaper there than back home. As a result, you have the tendency to shop for whatever you could get your hands on to fill a balikbayan box.

If you continue to do this, then you won’t be able to retire early. Take it easy on your spending and make sure you buy only the necessary. On special occasion like Christmas, don’t hesitate to send something back home, but not to the point of exhausting every centavo of your hard-earned money.

4. You family should be independent. 

Do you know why many OFWs are unable to go home for good even if they want to? It’s because their family depends on them.

You can change that by teaching your family how to be independent. Start by educating every member of your family about how to handle finances and money in general. Avoid giving in to their demands – material demands – just to make up for the time lost. Encouraging them, especially your spouse, to have a sideline or small business can also help a lot in ensuring that you will not only reach your financial goals early but also your return in the Philippines for good.

The more involved your family is, the higher the chances of achieving your goals early.

5. Invest your money wisely. 

You might have a million in your bank account, but sadly, it’s not enough. That hard-earned million will go away easily considering the cost of goods these days.

To ensure that you can sustain a comfortable life, you need to start considering investing your money. Investing your money, say in stocks or bonds, helps you grow your money, especially when you held on to it long-term. At the same time, you get to enjoy other benefits like getting dividends from your investment. You can use this amount to pay for your needs instead of withdrawing cash from time to time.

With these tips as your guide, are you ready to say hello to Philippines for good? We hope so.

Direct Hire Workers: What You Need to Know In Case Someone from Abroad Hired You

There are two types of Overseas Filipino Workers:

  • Agency-hired, which means you apply and got accepted through a recruitment agency;
  • Direct Hire, wherein a foreign employer contacted and hired you directly.

Agency-hired workers have less to worry about, especially when you applied in legitimate recruitment agencies. On the other, being hired directly can be an issue since you have to handle everything yourself.

Here’s what we know, so far, about POEA’s latest rules and guidelines on Direct Hire workers:

Ban on Direct Hiring

As of POEA’s Memorandum Circular No. 8, Series of 2018, no employer can directly hire an overseas Filipino worker for overseas employment. Still, there are organizations who are allowed to recruit Filipino workers. Those who are exempted from direct ban hiring includes:

  • International organizations
  • Members of the diplomatic corps
  • Heads of State and government officials with at least Deputy Minister rank

Those who bear a lesser rank may be allowed IF endorsed by Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) or Head of Mission in case there’s no POLO.

Other exempted individuals are:

  • Professionals and skilled workers with duly executed authenticated/verified contracts, with terms above the prescribed guidelines set by POEA. The number of workers hired must not exceed five workers.
  • Those who were hired (except domestic workers) by a relative or family member who is already a permanent resident in the host country.

Employment Standards as Shown in the Employment Contract

Despite being a direct hire, your foreign employer must still set forth acceptable and reasonable terms to make sure your rights are protected. In line with this, the following employment standards must be set forth in the Employment Contract, which includes the following, but not limited to:

  • Compulsory life / repatriation insurance coverage
  • Basic compensation package, which includes position, job location, and basic monthly salary
  • Commencement and duration of the employment contract
  • Employee benefits such as bonuses, food and accommodation (or their monetary equivalent), overtime pay, transportation to and from work, end of service rewards, and emergency and medical treatment among others
  • Work hours and leaves (vacation and sick)
  • Just or valid causes of termination
  • Repatriation

POEA Requirements to Process Direct-Hire Deployment

  • Pre-employment medical examination, as evidenced by Certificate of Medical Fitness
  • Certificate of Attendance to Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)
  • Verified or authenticated original Employment Contract, each page signed by employer or its authorized representative
  • Philippine passport with at least six months validity prior to intended departure
  • Valid work visa or permit
  • Proof of certificate of insurance coverage
  • Notarized statement of the worker as to how the employment was secured, which also includes contact details of your employer
  • TESDA Skill Certification and Certificate of Attendance to Comprehensive Pre-Departure Education Program (CPDEP) for domestic workers

Procedure for Direct Hire Documentation:

Documentation of Direct Hire Workers will be managed by Direct Hire Assistance Division (DHAD) under Pre-Employment Services Office. In case your employer doesn’t fall under the exempted category, then here are the procedures you need to follow:

1. Submit requirements for documentation and evaluation. You will then be informed if your employer may be allowed to hire workers directly after the DHAD makes recommendation.

2. If allowed, a Clearance will be issued by POEA administrator.

3. Once the Clearance is granted, the following steps must be made:

  • Proceed to DHAD so that the DHAD authorizing officer can approve and sign the Employment  Contract.
  • Fill up the OFW Info Sheet.
  • Relevant information will be encoded in the Direct Hire E-Processing System
  • Pay appropriate fees with POEA (processing of documents), OWWA (OFW membership), Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG. Your Overseas Employment Certificate will be issued once fees on respective government agencies are paid. Take note that the foreign employer should pay OWWA and POEA processing fees as well as visa, work permit, airfare, and insurance coverage. Membership to government agencies like SSS and Philhealth will be shouldered by you, the worker.
  • Your records will be endorsed to POEA Central Records Division.

Take note that the registration of Direct Hires can be done in POEA main office and Regional Centers and Units through Regional and Overseas Coordinating Office.

Terms Every OFW (and Aspiring OFWs) Should Know

Are you planning to go abroad? Are you an existing OFW? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, we ask you again: how much do you know about being an Overseas Filipino Worker? 

It’s not enough that you know what the job entails and what you are expected to do. Knowing your destination country and its cultures gives you an edge, but there’s something lacking somewhere.

Before you head overseas, here are some terms you need to know and remember:

Agency-Hired – This refers to Filipino workers who applied and got accepted for a job overseas through placement agency. If you are agency-hired, then the agency will be the one processing your papers and documentation.

Direct Hire – This refers to Filipino workers who were able to secure employment overseas without going through accredited placement agencies. Despite being a direct hire, you still need to go through POEA and submit documents to process your deployment.

Employment Contract – This is a document that contains important details concerning your job overseas such as monthly salary, benefits, your position and nature of work, and the like. You can learn more about employment contract here.

Foreign Placement Agency – It is a foreign principal indirectly engaging the services of OFWs.

OEC – Overseas Employment Certificate. This document serves as your travel exit clearance and proof that you are a documented OFW. Presenting your OEC will exempt you from paying travel tax and airport terminal fee.

OWWA – Overseas Welfare Workers Administration, which is attached to the Department of Labor and Employment. This government agency’s primary mandate is to protect and promote every OFW’s (and his/her respective family) overall welfare and well-being.

PDOS – Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar. It is a mandatory orientation for all departing OFWs to help adjust or adapt to the new working environment.

POEA – Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which is under the Department of Labor and Employment. It is the government agency responsible for securing not just employment for Filipino workers but also ensuring that the rights of OFWs are protected.

Private Employment / Placement Agency – It is person, partnership, or corporation engaged in recruiting and deploying of workers for a fee. The recruitment agency will also be in-charged in processing your documentation as OFW as well charging of fees to your employer abroad for facilitating the recruitment process.

Seafarer – This is a person engaged in sailing or working in a ship.

Tourist Visa – This is a type of visa that allows you to stay in a particular country for a limited period for leisure or travel purposes. Most illegitimate recruitment agencies provide tourist visa and not working visa, which makes this practice illegal.

Working Visa – This is a type of visa that allows you to work in a country where you are not a citizen. Legal and documented Filipino workers whose application was processed by a legitimate placement agency must have working visa and NOT tourist visa.

7 In Demand Jobs for Filipinos Who Want to Work Abroad

Filipinos are known all over the world for their skills. This explains why many countries are willing to open its doors and welcome Filipino workers as part of their family. After all, Filipinos are hard working and dedicated to their jobs.

Here’s the question: what kind of job should you apply to in order to ensure a better job for your family?

Check out these in demand jobs in case you decided to work overseas:

1. Healthcare

This includes doctors, nurses, caregivers, and medical assistants among others. It turns out that healthcare professionals are among, if not the highest paid job specializations. Many countries in the Middle East are looking for Filipino healthcare workers, which could give you at least P55,000 and could go more than P100,000. This could get higher if you are a doctor who specializes in Pediatrics or Obstetics and Gynecology.

Aside from Middle East countries, feel free to explore your options in other countries like New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Japan since healthcare workers are paid well there too.

2. Engineer

Engineers are needed everywhere. If you happen to be one, a licensed one at least, then going overseas could be another option for employment. In fact, it is among the most in-demand jobs today.

Land- and sea-based engineers like Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineer earn at least P50,000 every month. Depending on your skill and experience, then you could negotiate a higher amount.

3. IT Professionals

We live in a day where society is slowly becoming dependent on technology. Many companies are slowly transitioning towards the digital world, which explains why people who are knowledgeable of computers, software, and the like are in demand – all over the world.

IT professionals can earn at least P54,000 plus benefits. Singapore may be your first choice of country destination, but there are other countries you need to look into if you want to bring your skill and knowledge outside the Philippines.

4. General Work

This includes housekeeper, messenger, driver, and dispatcher among others. General work is one of the most in-demand jobs for aspiring OFWs, which accounts for more than 20,000 job orders in 2015 alone. Middle East countries are in need of this kind of workers, so it could be a good place to start.

5. Hospitality-Related 

Many countries around the world are in need of waiters, bartenders, front desk or concierge staff, and other related jobs in the hospitality-service industry.

If you want to work in this industry, then make sure you have the relevant knowledge and experience to back you up to be ahead in the game. There are many accredited training centers that will help you jumpstart your career in this industry, so make sure you get as much as you can to familiarize yourself with the job.

6. Construction or Labor

Skilled workers are always in demand overseas. This is also why many countries are looking for people who can work in construction or do labor for higher salary than the one you earn here. This includes welder, plumber, machine operator, rigger, pipe fitter, and electrician among others.

Middle East countries have a lot of job orders, but you can also consider Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and New Zealand if you worked in construction before.

7. Architecture or Interior Design 

Did you know that you can earn at least P55,000 every month as an architect or interior designer? This is a good amount you can start with, especially if you want to build a better future for your family.

Still, it’s not enough that you belong in one of these categories. You need to work on and hone your skills, and gain necessary experience to be able to get the job. Keep yourself updated with the latest trends and demands, and don’t hesitate to enroll in skill-based courses to help you improve.

7 Best Countries for Aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers

Did you know that there are more than two million Filipinos working overseas? Believe it or not, these Filipinos can be found all over the world. Nonetheless, there are countries where you can find a lot of Filipinos like Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, while there are others who settle in not-so-popular countries among OFWs because the pay is better.

If you are planning to work overseas to provide a better life for your family, then here are the best and recommended countries where you can work:

1. Singapore

Singapore is one of the best places for OFWs because of its close proximity to the Philippines. It is also a home to thousands of international companies, thereby offering not just diverse cuisine but also competitive benefits, salaries, and career opportunities. Many of the locals speak English as well; hence language is not an issue.

IT and software engineers, nurses and other healthcare professionals, and construction are some of the in-demand fields in Singapore.

2. United Arab Emirates

UAE, specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is also a favorite among many OFWs because of the available job opportunities, high salary, tax-free opportunities, and steady growth in their economy. It is, by far, the highest-paying country for healthcare professionals.

Aside from healthcare, food and beverage, domestic work, and engineering are also in-demand fields.

3. Saudi Arabia

This Middle East country is still a top destination among OFWs because of the generous employment package. Cost of living is lower, contractual benefits are strong, lower taxes, and steady increase in economy are some of the reasons why this is still a preferred destination.

Construction, healthcare, and household services are still the in demand fields in this country that you should take advantage of.

4. Qatar

Did you know that Qata experienced shortage of laborers for several years? This opened doors to many Filipinos to work overseas, thereby giving them an opportunity to earn bigger. Being one of the richest countries in the Middle East region because of the oil and gas fields, it’s not surprising that Qatar can provide competitive salary packages for Filipinos.

Here comes the best part: Qatar is preparing for the World Cup in 2022, which means they will be needing more workers in the construction, healthcare, and hotel industries.

5. Japan

If you are in the healthcare industry, then Japan might be perfect for you. The Japanese government is in need of caregivers where they will be provided with free training in caregiving and housekeeping. More so, the country’s steady economy is able to pave way to higher pay and higher quality of life.

Apart from healthcare, engineering and Information Technology are also in demand fields in this country. Plus, it is within Asia as well and not too far from the Philippines.

6. New Zealand

If you are looking for a country to work with that will give you higher quality of life, then you need to consider New Zealand in your list. Most of the expats enjoy the country’s outdoor lifestyle and sporting culture, thereby making them more physically active compared to living in the Philippines.

There are many work opportunities in New Zealand as well, but at present, healthcare professionals like nurses and caregivers are more in demand.

7. Canada

Did you know that Canada is among, if not the friendliest country to foreigners? There is so much to see and enjoy in this country, but what makes Canada a favorite is its willingess to allow permanent residence to foreign workers with at least one year and full-time job experience. This makes Canada an ideal place for start-up families.

Labor and caregiving are among the in demand jobs in Canada.

Surely, there’s no place like home, but in times when you need to provide a better life for your family, consider these countries on your list.