A reminder to all OFWs who arrived in the UAE and are excited to go home for the first time after landing a job.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has recently announced a new policy through a memorandum circular, requiring all first-time returning OFWs who were directly hired from abroad to secure the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) in the Philippines before they can leave again. Starting April 1, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will no longer issue OECs to OFWs who went to another country on visit visas and will return home for a vacation since got hired.
This POEA’s recent initiative intends to have all overseas Filipino Workers, particularly those who left the country without valid working documents, be properly accounted so government assistance can be provided quickly to them in times of emergency. According to Labor Attaché Felicitas Bay, all concerned OFWs are required to have their working contracts verified at the POLO satellite offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a processing fee of Dh40. The labor official added that the new memorandum circular will also take effect in other POLO posts across the globe very soon.
The OFW will be asked to secure an online appointment with POEA for the complete processing of his or her OEC once the employment contract has been cleared. The new policy will allow OFWs to save time and energy queuing up to get their OECs from various POEA assistance centers. Bay advised the OFWs to have their employment contract stamped as soon as they have it to avoid getting stranded back home.
All returning OFWs are required to get an OEC before going back home either for work-related purposes or for a family vacation. They will not be allowed to leave the country without the POEA-issued document.
What are the new provisions?
The latest memorandum circular has added some changes in addition to the previous requirements for the release of OECs. According to Bay, the POEA policy only added provisions for tourist visa holders who were able to secure a valid contract and change their status from a visit to employment. Other provisions which were being implemented before would remain, including OEC exemption for qualified OFWs.
Bay noted that they have been implementing the memorandum circular even before, referring to OFWs who need to have their documents verified or stamped by POLO before they can be issued an OEC. The only difference now refers to Filipinos who entered Dubai holding a visitors pass and secured an employment visa upon landing a job.
By April 1 this year, the POLO will conduct the OEC process only up to the verification stage which includes validating if the OFW is receiving the right salary as stipulated in the contract. The actual issuance of OEC will happen at the nearest POEA office when the OFW returns to the Philippines.
Requirements to secure an online POEA appointment
The POEA will require OFWs to submit the following before they can set an appointment for their OEC issuance.
- Valid passport
- Valid resident visa page
- Verified or stamped employment contract
- Proof of employment such as company ID, latest pay slip and certificate of employment
- Valid employment visa
- Sworn statement of the OFW stating how he or she got employed
OFWs are encouraged to take part in this government initiative to ensure that POEA has the appropriate records of their current location and employment status. So their records can be easily retrieved when accessing government services.
Source: DOLE Tokyo