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Updated May 2024

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is an important document for any Filipino looking to exit the Philippines and work overseas as mandated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). 

Wego has compiled comprehensive details regarding the OEC, including its application process, requirements, exemptions, and more. Continue reading to delve into further insights and explore additional information about this essential document.

What is Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) in the Philippines?

The OEC, or Overseas Employment Certificate, is necessary for OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) departing the Philippines. It certifies that the OFW has permission to work abroad and is issued by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration).

To put it simply, the OEC is an exit clearance document required by OFWs to exit the country and seek employment overseas legally. The OEC attests that the holder has been adequately documented and is under the protection of the Philippine government.

OFWs can apply for the OEC online, but requirements may differ based on their employment status and destination. Holders of the OEC are exempted from paying specific fees and taxes at the airport, which helps OFWs lower the costs associated with securing employment opportunities overseas.

OEC validity

All issued OECs are valid for a single exit only. This means that a new OEC must be applied every time an OFW exits the Philippines.  

The validity period of the OEC is 60 days after the date of issuance. However, if the OEC is issued by the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) at the NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airport, the validity will only be for one day.

The introduction of the newly launched OFW Pass has addressed any uncertainty regarding the validity of OEC amidst its availability. The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has explicitly stated that OECs will remain valid for the first two months after the OFW Pass launch. This decision primarily intends to support non-tech-savvy OFWs, allowing them ample time to transition smoothly to the digital application process.

OEC requirements

The basic OEC document requirements are as follows:

  • printed online appointment/Balik-Manggagawa information sheet
  • passport (valid for at least six months) from departure date
  • valid proof of employment or employment contract
  • valid work visa, work permit, or any equivalent document
  • USD equivalent of PHP 100 (around USD 2, depending on the current PHP-USD exchange rate).

Note that additional documents may be required depending on the destination country. 

OEC online application process

OFWs, including domestic workers, medical workers, construction workers, and so on, will need to obtain an OEC every time they exit the Philippines. The application process is as follows: 

Step 1: Register for the Balik Manggagawa

All OFWs must first register themselves for the Balik Manggagawa (BM) processing system at the POEA online portal. You will have to provide various details about yourself, including your personal details, experience, education, and your latest resume/CV.

Whether this is your first or subsequent OEC application, the POEA online portal is your starting point. Note that there will be processing fees you’d need to settle to complete your application. 

Step 2: Schedule your OEC online appointment

After successfully creating your BM account, you will be directed to the nearest POEA/POLO BM-OEC service office. You may select from the available appointment schedule. 

Step 3: Attend the appointment

On the day of your appointment, make sure to gather the required documents as follows:

  • appointment sheet (2 copies)
  • employment contract (notarized)
  • work visa (the original plus 2 copies)
  • Philippine passport (the original plus 2 copies)
  • OWWA membership fee receipt

OEC login

To login to your OEC account and view your details:

OEC exemption

OEC exemption refers to certain categories of OFW that are exempted from having to obtain an OEC. The exemption applies to OFWs who: 

  1. have an employment visa or work permit
  2. have served or are serving their employment contract 
  3. are returning to the same employer, returning to the same job site, and are recorded in the POEA database

Applying for an OEC exemption

If you’re eligible, you can apply for an exemption by following the steps below:

For new users 

  • visit the POEA online portal
  • select ‘Let’s Go’ under e-Registration 
  • click ‘Register’
  • fill out the form 

For existing users:

  • log in to POEA online portal
  • update your personal data, contract particulars, and beneficiaries, then select Balik Manggagawa for online assessment 
  • provide your flight date and confirm if you are returning to the same employer and job site

If everything is in order, you will be prompted a confirmation message stating that you are exempted from having to obtain an OEC as well as payment and processing fee.

How do I apply for an OEC in Dubai?

The OEC is also required should an OFW travels home to the Philippines with plans on returning to their employment after a short period. If you’re an OFW based in Dubai, you need to gather the required documents before setting up an appointment.

OEC in Dubai document requirements

  • your passport
  • BM online appointment sheet (3 copies)
  • your flight details
  • POLO verified contract. This applies to those who have yet to register with POEA and plan to return to the same employer in the UAE
  • a copy of your past OEC and visa. This applies to those planning to return to the same employer

OEC in Dubai appointment 

Once all the required documents have been gathered, proceed to apply for your OEC in Dubai as follows:

  • log in to your existing account on POEA online portal
  • select ‘Acquire OEC’ and schedule an appointment 
  • gather all the required documents and attend your appointment

How do I apply for an OEC in Abu Dhabi? 

If you’re an OFW based in Abu Dhabi, you need to gather the required documents before setting up an appointment.

OEC in Abu Dhabi document requirements

  • your passport
  • BM online appointment sheet (3 copies)
  • your flight details
  • POLO-verified contract. This applies to those who have yet to register with POEA and plan to return to the same employer in the UAE
  • a copy of your past OEC and visa. This applies to those planning to return to the same employer
  • Copy of MOHRE Contract 
  • two copies of valid residence visa 
  • proof of employment 

OEC in Abu Dhabi appointment 

Once all the required documents have been gathered, proceed to apply for your OEC in Abu Dhabi as follows:

  • log in to your existing account on POEA online portal
  • select ‘Acquire OEC’ and schedule an appointment 
  • gather all the required documents and attend your appointment

 

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