OFWs who are going or returning overseas where they intend to work must get an OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate before they can leave the Philippines.
However, many OFWs have been complaining about the slow process in the releasing of OECs.
Supposedly, the processing and releasing of OECs should only take 3 days, but it now takes almost a month according to some OFWs.
In a report by Zen Hernandez on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol, two OFWs were interviewed. One of them was Edwin Valenzuela from North Cotabato, a family driver, who missed his flight to Saudi because he was not able to get his OEC.
The other one was Eunice Saturno, a nurse, who applied for OEC online three weeks before she arrived here in the Philippines for her vacation, but she still had to line up the whole day at the POEA to get her OEC.
So, what’s causing the delay of the releasing of OECs?
According to POEA, this problem started when the POEA rules and regulations have been amended last 2016.
The POEA is now strictly observing the full implementation of the policy on direct hires as mandated by the 2016 Revised Rules and Regulations on the Recruitment and Employment of OFWs. (Source)
- SECTION 123. Ban on Direct Hires — No employer shall directly hire an Overseas Filipino Worker for overseas employment.
- SECTION 124. Exemption from the Ban on Direct Hiring — The following are exempted from the ban on direct hiring:
- a. Members of the diplomatic corps;
- b. International organizations;
- c. Heads of state and government officials with the rank of at least deputy minister; or
- d. Other employers as may be allowed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment.
Who are the employers that may be allowed by the DOLE Secretary?
1. Those provided in (a), (b) and (c) who bear a lesser rank, if endorsed by the POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor & Office), or Head of Mission in the absence of the POLO;
2. Professionals and skilled workers with duly executed/authenticated contracts containing terms and conditions over and above the standards set by the POEA.
The number of professional and skilled Overseas Filipino Workers hired for the first time by the employer shall not exceed 5. For the purpose of determining the number, workers hired as a group shall be counted as one; or
3. Workers hired by a relative or family member who is a permanent resident of the host country.
What’s the next step for those who are exempted from the Ban on Direct Hiring
Those who were exempted from the ban should register with the POEA and submit the following documents for evaluation:
- Verified/authenticated original employment contract which is over and above the POEA-prescribed employment contract;
- Passport valid at least six (6) months from the date of intended departure;
- Valid and appropriate visa or work permit;
- Certificate of medical fitness;
- Proof of certificate of insurance coverage covering at least the benefits provided under Section 37-A of RA 8042, as amended;
- Certificate of attendance to the required employment orientation/briefing; and
- Clearance from the Secretary of Labor and Employment for those covered under Section 124 (d) of these Rules.
All these requirements can be downloaded from the POEA website.
The OEC application will be evaluated, then, it will be signed by the POEA Administrator, and it will be endorsed to the Secretary of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The OEC will only be released upon completion of all the signatories. However, if the OEC application is not approved, it means something might be wrong with the terms of the employment contract of the applicant.
What is the government doing to improve the OEC application process?
Because there are so many OFWs who are applying for OEC, the POEA has been receiving a lot of applications that they need to evaluate and to be signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.
The POEA has already created a technical working group to study the possibility of making amendments to the POEA rules and regulations that will help the process of OEC application much faster and easier.
According to POEA, they’re doing all these to ensure that all OFWs are protected.
Tips for OEC Applicants
1. OFWs who are applying for OEC must bring their complete requirements before going to the POEA. Having incomplete requirements can delay the processing of your OEC.
2. Those who are applying for OEC are advised to finalize their flight booking or departure schedule only upon issuance of the DOLE clearance and the OEC or overseas employment certificate from the POEA.
Click here to read:
- What you need to know about Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
- How to Submit your Concerns to POEA Legal Assistance ONLINE