This was heard everywhere: President Duterte issued a deployment ban against Kuwait while suspending the processing of Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC for all Kuwait-bound OFWs.
Before the year end, the Department of Labor and Employment ordered a temporary suspension for processing of OEC to give way to investigation related to illegal recruitment activities and practices. Thankfully, this suspension was lifted.
What exactly is OEC? How important is this document in your life as an Overseas Filipino Worker? Read on to find out.
What is an Overseas Employment Certificate?
Also known as travel exit clearance, OEC serves as a proof that an individual is a documented OFW. This signifies that you are allowed to legally leave the country and work abroad. Take note that this document is only valid for 60 days from the date the OEC was issued.
The OEC is something you present at the airport before you leave. This will exempt you from paying travel tax and terminal fee. It will also serve as your exit pass and clearance at the airport.
In case you plan to apply for a loan or open an account with banks and be tagged as OFW for additional benefits, make sure you present your OEC as well. In fact, this is among the required supporting documents by lenders.
How can I apply for OEC?
You need to submit the following documents:
- Passport, with at least six months validity from date of departure
- Verified Contract of Employment or Offer of Employment
- Completely filled out Balik Manggagawa Info Sheet. You can access it here.
- Valid work permit, work visa, or any equivalent document
Take note that POEA requires other documents aside from the above-mentioned depending on what kind of worker you are (professional workers, low-skilled workers, workers heading to US or Canada, or household service workers). You can check this post to learn more about the additional requirements list.
Aside from the documents required, you will also be asked to pay fees, which includes:
- POEA processing fee – P100 per OEC
- OWWA membership fee – USD 25 or its Peso equivalent
- Philhealth contribution – P2,400 for one-year coverage
- PAG-IBIG contribution – minimum P100 every month
How to apply for OEC:
Agency-hired workers means you don’t have to worry about this. Still, what if you were hired directly by your employer? This means you have to apply on your own, either through walk-in or Balik Manggagawa (BM) Online System.
If you prefer walk-in, you have to apply directly at POEA Main Office in EDSA cor. Ortigas Avenue. You can also apply through POEA Regional Offices.
Online application would be easier. Simply register and log-in at the BM Online Appointment System to set a schedule and assign a venue for processing. On your scheduled appointment, make sure to bring two copies of accomplished BM Information Sheet, required documents, and money for payment of fees.
Is it possible that you don’t have to apply for OEC? The answer is yes. If you are a returning worker with the same employer or job site, then you don’t have to apply for OEC.
Don’t forget to log in to you BM Online account and click “Acquire OEC or Exemption.” You will see a confirmation message together with BM Exemption Number, which you must present upon departure.
Tips in Applying for OEC:
- Bring both original and photocopies of the documents required. File them separately so you won’t get confused.
- Arrange the documents according to the POEA list. You can check this link as a guide.
- Make sure to pay for the corresponding fees. We know how heavy this could be on your budget, but non-payment would mean you’ll forfeit your opportunity to enjoy services such as medical insurance or housing loan.