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.

33 Replies to “Direct Hire Workers: What You Need to Know In Case Someone from Abroad Hired You”

  1. I reckon that the government should not make it difficult for Filipinos to be hired directly specially by large foreign companies. I am giving example to my own experience. I used to be an agency supplied Oil Field worker and had to be content with the salary which after the agency’s cut is not even a quarter of what the company is paying to the agency. We were not also covered by the international health and sickness benefits. Not until the company was recruiting agency personnel for direct hiring and promotion and of course, the offer was beyond your wildest imagination. To make the story short, I got hired directly and climb up the ranks through completion of company sponsored training. My monthly income went as high as 15,000 USD and even got paid the same amount of salary during a month off on a Month On/Month Off rotation. My family was covered by the company’s health benefits,and I am covered by a lifetime pension plan.
    To step back in time a bit, before I got hired, I have to go through a lot of scrutiny through POEA/OWWA. I have to present to them the contract I signed with the company which must be registered thru POEA. They were so concerned that I may fall into an illegal recruiter or a bogus company hence the figures were too good to be true. I got prostrated at this point because how can I get my company to go through all these hassles, they might just drop me off instead. Eventually, it was sufficed with a certification from my new employer and a direct fax from my company HR in the US. I presented to them my Insurance and health benefits which is a thousand folds better than the local standards.I also have to present my membership in a company Stock options which is a dream if I were an agency hire. To sum it up, I was employed by the largest Oil Drilling Company for 25 years and just recently retired. My children went through prestigious schools and earned their degrees. We managed to build and expand our family business and still have enough to look forward to for the years to come.
    The bottom line is…how come the government have to the right to ban Direct Hiring and be selective whom to be hired? I reckon that the government should encourage foreign companies to directly hire Filipinos for better future rather than limiting their opportunities.

    1. Hi Manuel! We understand your concern. We also get a lot of questions and sentiments regarding direct hire workers. Unfortunately and as harsh as it sounds, this is government policy and there’s nothing we can do but to abide by these rules. Surely, there are sound reasons behind this. Nonetheless, we’re happy to read that life overseas worked well for you.

  2. I had a sponsor to get working visa in dubai,a foreigner who also own a company in dubai,What is ECC (Exit Clearance Certificate),with this document He said, I will skip POEA,OWWA, PDOS…He hired as Skilled worker and promised a good salary,But still askingfor opinion ,might be illegal ..He gave me the entry permit number invisa approved,but when i checked online no records found..pls.help me.. 09957885154

    1. Hi Rolando! Skipping POEA, OWWA, PDOS is illegal. These agencies as well as attending PDOS are mandatory. There is a possibility that it might be scam so it is best to stay away from that so-called sponsor.

  3. I currently hired as an Administrative Assistant at KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES COMPANY, Amsterdam Netherlands (direct hire). My working Visa is on process and handled by a lawfirm and needed my presence for verification and finalisation of my working visa application at Naturalisation Immigration Service Netherlands. Do I still need to comply requirements for OWWA AND POEA?

    1. Hi Aive! Good to know that everything is working well for you. If you will be returning to the Philippines, then you have to get an OEC sa POLO in Netherlands to avail of exemption.

    1. Hi Ambot. Ideally, no since that would be unfair on those directly hired prior to the ban. Upon expiration of contract, that’s the time when you have to apply through licensed recruitment agencies.

        1. Hi Jeffrey! Direct hire is not allowed, but there are exemptions. Please refer to the post on what to do in case you were hired directly 🙂

  4. Hi, ask ko lang i got a job contract and already ipa spass to work in singapore in a big company like samsung, when nagpunta ako sa poea for oec, nasa list nila si samsung na may accredited agency na,but in different country, not singapore,. When i ask the agency hindi sila accreditedbfor singapore na magprocess.. Now im stuck in a loop..any recommendations?

    1. Hi John! Unfortunately, direct hiring is not allowed by POEA. You can check the list of accredited agencies in POEA and see po kung sino ang pwedeng agency ang pwede mag-process ng iyong work documents for job overseas. Salamat po.

  5. How long does it take to get oec? If you go now and come back for vacation are you exempted for oec or you will pay for insurance again pay other fees?

  6. Hi!
    Naexpired yung oec ko a few days before i leave kasi namove yung vacation ko. I reapplied again and nag generate nman ng new oec is this valid? Thanks

  7. I got transferred from Singapore to US through a working VISA and got here through a flight from Singapore (hindi na ako umuwi ng pinas). Now, plano kung mag bakasyon sa pinas for 2 weeks. Do I still need to go through POEA and acquire OEC? Thanks.

    1. Hi John! We’re not sure about this but to be safe, yes, just acquire OEC. This way, you can show proof that you are a documented OFW. Thanks!

    2. Hi, you may contact POLO USA to process your OEC before going home to the Philippines. As long as you’re in US, they’ll be able to help you. OEC is only valid for 60days though, so this is advisable for OFWs who are only planning to stay in the PH for less than 2months.

      I’m bound to US and still here in the PH, i thought POLO USA could help me with OEC processing. They advised me to coordinate with POEA because I’m out of their jurisdiction since I’m currently in the PH.

  8. Good mporning i am directly hired from one of the prestigious hotel in miami florida already my documents send thru scan copy and thy told me to receive all hard copy thru courier but i need to pay 250usd for my documents bfore thy send me to us embassy to my visa application just i ask is this a scam but still i didnt send any thing for the payments. Thankyou

    1. Hi Lorna! Direct hire workers are not allowed by POEA. Please course through your job application with legitimate recruitment agencies. Thanks!

  9. I am a graduate school student in Tokyo, Japan and doing job hunting just like a regular student in Japan would do. I got my written job acceptance notification in one company and can start this November. I currently have a student visa and can be easily switched to a working visa if the necessary requirements are submitted to the Japanese Immigration Bureau. Can I go through this POEA/OWWA process while I am in Japan?

    It seems as if this regulation would require students with a Philippine passport studying abroad to go back to the Philippines and go through the OWWA/POEA system which seems impractical and costly for both the employers and employees. Honestly, I am already in Japan and quite stable already in terms of finance and housing. Going back to the Philippines just to do this would revoke my job acceptance which I have worked hard for in months.

    1. Hi Albert! We suggest that you coordinate with the Philippine Embassy or POLO in Japan just to be sure. We’re not familiar with this kind of “arrangement” and we don’t want to give the wrong advice as well. Thanks!

    2. I would suggest that you coordinate with POLO Tokyo. You may ask their assistance in obtaining your OEC. I believe they can process it since you’re in Japan. POEA only processes OEC, if you’re coming from the Philippines.

  10. I was recently hired directly here in Singapore last August 2018. And plan to go for 3 days vacation in Philippines on first week of September 2018. What do I need so I can return in Singapore as OFW.
    Thank you.

  11. Hello. Ask ko lang po ilang days na ang lead time for processing ng oec for direct hires ngayun from step 1 to finish? Thanks

    1. Hi Sara! That we cannot answer. From what we know, it would take around three months (and hopefully less than that) to complete all documents.

  12. Anyone who can help me here? I submitted my documents August 17,2018 for evaluation. It has reached the 2nd signatory on August 23, Thursday. I was out for Medical Exam for whole day on Friday so I wasn’t able to get an update yesterday.

    I was supposed to fly to the US on August 15, after learning about the process, I requested my employer to rebook my flight. They rebooked my flight on September 2 (Sunday).

    I’m really stressed out with the signatories. I’m still waiting for the original contract tho. My employer mailed them out to me Thursday and said I should expect 1-3 days shipping.

    I only have to go through PDOS to acquire my OEC. But it’s crunch time for me since Monday is declared holiday. I only have 4 days in total to process my OEC. Is there any way that I can expedite the process? 😭

    1. Hi Hannah! Are you a direct hire worker? We’re sorry to hear about this, but processing documents for direct hire has been challenging for most. Recruitment agencies’ hands, who are qualified to help you on this process, are tied as well since they follow guidelines.

    2. Hi hannah! I was just curious as you mentioned you are still waiting for your original contract. Isn’t the contract a requirement to process the OEC?

    3. Hi Hannah, have you already finished the oec process? is 2 weeks enough to process from step 1 to finish? Thank you. Looking forward for your reply

  13. Hi can i ask a question po,,meron kasing kumukuha sa amin sa singapore bilang isang musician,,gusto nyang mag self process kami sa poea,,ang tanong ko po pede bang mangyari na wala nang agency na pagdadaanan kasi nagawa na namin ito dati pa,,meron na po bang pagbabago sa rules ngayon ng processing tnx po

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