As thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) take their holiday leaves to spend Christmas and New Year in the Philippines, we would like to give some tips to OFWs, especially those who are coming home from their overseas employment for the first time.
Filipinos returning to their job site abroad cannot leave the Philippines without an Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC). Unconstitutional, perhaps, but there is no way around it if you have a work permit stamped on your passport. Briefly, here are the steps for POEA and the OEC.
Follow these instructions and you should be able to complete the requirements within a week:
1. Go to the POEA office for processing. Before you go, check the list of requirements in POEA’s list of OFW services and procedures. Make sure to come early, bring a pen and be prepared for a long wait.
- If your contract is in a language other than English, have it translated.
- Make sure your contract has a repatriation clause. If your company doesn’t allow it (as most EU countries cannot change the standard contract), just ask them to print the repatriation clause on a company letterhead and sign it. Copy the repatriation clause of POEA’s standard employment contract, item #12. Attach this to your contract. When POEA checks your contract, make sure that you point it out to them that you already have the repatriation clause, because by default they will give the letter of compliance for the repatriation clause and ask you to come back with the signature of the company representative. Alternatively, just give your company HR the heads-up that you will be sending over the letter of compliance for their signature.
2. If you were recruited directly by the company, follow “Documentation of Landbased Name Hires“. Follow the process/requirements for Skilled Workers.
- DAY 1: Queue at POEA. Submit the documents and get a referral for your Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and the list of affiliated clinics for your medical certificate. At the end of the hall, give your PDOS referral and get a schedule for the PDOS. If you’re lucky you can do it in the afternoon but otherwise you come back the next day. Note: Medical requirements vary per country and POEA-accredited clinics will know what tests are needed for each country. Prices and the speed at which medical results can be obtained depend on the clinic, so call up a few to check. Some can give results on the same day, while some will require you to come back a few days later.
- DAY 2: Do your medical check-up and attend the PDOS. Have the PDOS certificate photocopied.
- DAY 3: Return to POEA with the completed set of requirements (including PDOS certificate + medical certificate). If there are no issues, you will then pay the USD100 POEA processing fee, OWWA membership (USD25 per contract, maximum of two years), PHILHEALTH Medicare (P900 as of February 2012) and PAG-IBIG membership (P100). The receipt will serve as your exit clearance. You may also pay additional for monthly PAG-IBIG should you wish to contribute on the spot
3. Before you depart from the airport, you need to have your OEC validated at the OFW counter. OEC bearers are exempted from travel tax and terminal fee at the airport. Click here for the location map of POEA-Labor Assistance Counter at NAIA.
For returning OFWs with valid employment contracts
If you have had your current contract processed at POEA, you will no longer pay for OWWA membership. There is a P100 processing fee and P100 PAG-IBIG membership. If your last departure was over a year ago, you may also need to pay Php1,200 for one-year Philhealth coverage.
1. Proceed to POEA. The process will take at most half a day at POEA main if the queues are long. To avoid the queues, schedule your appointment via bmappointment.poea.gov.ph. POEA offices, including those at airports, also issue OECs. Just make sure to allocate enough time to get it before your flight. There are also satellite processing units at Trinoma, SM Manila and Duty Free main for the holidays. Bring the following:
- Philippine passport valid for six months from time of departure
- Valid working visa/work permit
- Proof of employment such as certificate of employment, company ID, pay slip, and other equivalent document
- Previous OEC with receipt of OWWA membership.
2. Alternatively, get your OEC from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office at the Philippine Embassy nearest you prior to returning to the Philippines.
3. Bring your OEC with you to the airport on your departure from the Philippines.
Please note that a new employment contract requires OFWs to repeat the process of first-timers. POEA processing fee is waived for extended contracts (same employer renewal).
Happy holidays, everyone!
DISCLAIMER: The above information is applicable to landbased skilled and professional workers directly hired by companies overseas. Processes for agency recruits, seabased workers, low-skilled workers, and household service workers may be different. As we aren’t experts on this subject, kindly consult Pinoy forums specific to the particular countries and industries where you are employed or wish to be employed if you have any particular situations to discuss.We are also unable to answer questions about job openings overseas or about specific situations regarding the OEC. For more info, please contact the labor office nearest you.