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
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.