Thursday, 20 August 2015

FIRST TIME OFWs : HOW TO GET AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATE (OEC)? | POEA REQUIREMENTS FOR NAME (DIRECT) HIRES


There's a sigh of relief in the air whilst I type this because... I finally got my OEC! I decided to write a post about my personal experience along with tips and tricks to give you an idea how it is to apply for an OEC as a first time Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). The blue paper on top - yes people - that's the finished product! That's what you want to get at the end of this challenging process!

I've been to and fro the UK since last year however, my visa type is business so I wasn't required to obtain an OEC. It's hassle free but the longest that you can stay abroad is 6 months, which as you can tell, is counterproductive (as you need to apply a visa again etc.). This time around, I applied for a Tier 2 - General Migrant visa and by the grace of God - has been successful :)

Now, on to the plot. When you are under a working visa (naming convention depends on the country you are working for) - you are technically an OFW. This means you need to apply for an OEC unless you want a drama on the airport because the immigration officer won't allow you to go unless you are cleared.

Here are the documents I prepared (make sure you have the original and 2 extra photocopies):

  • Passport
  • Work visa
  • Medical certificate
  • Employment contract

Notes:
  • Note that I applied under Skilled/Professional worker, Name (Direct) hire category.
  • You are to process your OEC after you get your approved working visa.
  • In my case, I completed my medical exam first before going to POEA (to save time and hassle).
  • Required documents are country-specific,  for full details, you can visit POEA site HERE.

Phase 1:
Me and mum headed on the POEA main office on a Friday. We were there at around 6:50 am. I am following a UK shift work hour even if I'm in Manila so you can imagine how groggy I was that time. We've asked our trusty driver (thanks Kuya!) to drive for us so the travel from south to Ortigas was bearable.

The security guard asked for my contract and ID (I gave him my CPA license). He then asked if I am under any agency and I told him I am under Name Hire category. He filled out a stub and signed it. I am #2! He then asked us to wait until 8 am.

At 8:05 am, they are allowing people to go in. I've been told that Name Hire Division is on the 2nd floor. Another guard inspected my documents and asked me to go in. I remember it's Window #5. So the POEA representative asked for my documents and we've had some few dialogues.

Rep: First time niyo pong aalis?
CMK: Hindi po. Actually pang 4th time ko na po to go to London. (Tip: Always be honest!)
Rep: So bakit ngayon lang kayo mag-aapply ng OEC?
CMK: I am not under a work visa on my last 3 trips. Those were just short trips (under 6 months) so di na kailangan ng OEC. You can revisit my passport if you wish. (By this time, nakapag english na talaga ang lola niyo dahil wala pa kong tulog and parang uma-aura si badet).

He then went back to check my papers and handed me some documents:

Rep: Ma'am ibabalik ko ang contract niyo. Paki edit dahil kulang ng repatriation, leaves and causes for dismissal. Ipa-authorize niyo yan then babalik kayo dito. Dapat DHL pero okay na rin ang PDF.
CMK: Okay, wait lang ha. Help me understand, Kuya. What do you want to see in my contract?
Rep: Eto po (whilst pointing on the 3 boxes on his sheet: repatriation, leaves and causes for dismissal).
CMK: Kuya, all of those are in my contract. You can revisit clauses 5, 7 and 12. I can't afford to go back and edit the whole thing kasi andiyan naman lahat ng requested stipulations in the first place. If there are differences... those are just naming conventions. ** Note that I am telling this to him firmly but my tone is still nice naman. (With this, one of his colleagues told him that this is good to go since he saw my point, luckily the rep agreed). 

After this, he handed me a document with stamp (like a tracking sheet). He also gave me my PDOS schedule which is on the following Monday at 9:00 am. I said thank you and off I went. I was instructed to go to OWWA and there, they told me to bring a copy of my passport and PDOS schedule on Monday. I finished the whole Phase 1 from 8:10 am to 8:45 am-ish.


Phase 2:
So Monday at around 8:45 am, I went upstairs and there's a couple of people in the room. Somebody from COMELEC (Commission on Elections) gave a small talk and handed a form about absentee voting. I filled out the form and after which, she asked me to go out for a while for the biometrics. Good thing that somebody gave her PDOS schedule and passport copy to the guard because I forgot to! I gave mine to Manong Guard and returned to the room.

I'd say that PDOS is a good seminar. I was a bit hesitant due to my experience in Phase 1 but that changed because the speaker is knowledgeable, accommodating and most of all, humble. I can sense his sincerity to help. He's been patient with everyone specially with this one guy who's so pa-bibo (alam mo yung hirit ng hirit? He's the typical reason bakit di matapos-tapos! - sorry, nacarried away lang). Seriously, I've learned so much from the seminar. I forgot the name of the facilitator but well done sir! :) 

I also made friends with Khristine (hello girl!). We're exchanging stories about our Phase 1 experiences. Hers was worse. They asked her to undergo a POLO (seminar generally for drivers, DH's, etc.) but she's not a house help. She's working for a well-known law firm. Note: This is with all due respect with our house help kababayans, however, there should be a way of distinguishing which is which since, obviously, this can be offensive.

There are some few small talks about SSS, Pag-ibig and PhilHealth. There's even a portion allotted for Landbank savings thingy which I don't have anything against. Except the bank officer said that stock market was not a good way to invest and it's like gambling! I was like, whoah! You know my advocacy and how I feel about empowering people on investment and somebody from the bank sector is discouraging soon-to-be OFW's to stay away from stock market without explaining things?! :( #Sad!

Anyways, going back. After the seminar we were handed our PDOS certificate. Remember to photocopy it in 3 or 4 to be sure. Tip: Make sure that you give your PDOS schedule and passport copy to Manong Guard, or else, you'll have that hassle of waiting for them to print your certificate or worse, they might ask you to attend another PDOS!

We then went back to another window for actual Phase 2. In here, your documents will once again be reviewed and you'll be asked to come back after 30-minutes since they need to encode your details. It's about lunch time when we did this so we took advantage of the waiting time to accomplish other things.

We went to ground floor, in the Balik Manggagawa (BM) center. It's a one-stop shop for everything contribution related. Here are what we've accomplished:

  • PAG-IBIG. I paid Php 500 for MP2 (it's like a mutual fund with fixed 4.5% return. I know, 'fix' is a big word but remember that it's the PH government that's backing this up so it's safe, that's my take). I can top-up as I wish. I also asked for a complete list of my transactions (contributions). They are kind enough to print them for me. They also updated my status, etc.
  • SSS. You have to fill out a form and give it to a specific window. When my name's been called the lovely lady gave me some documents and she also updated my details on their database.

It's 1:30 pm when I went back to 2nd floor. I was asked to go straight to the window and the lady returned my original documents and referred me to another window where I paid Php 5,656. After payment, they stamped some of my documents and they finally gave me the much awaited OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATE! Yehey! It's about 2:15 pm when I finished Phase 2.

Some more tips after the jump!

Tips and Take-aways:
  1. PRAY first. I know it's quite strange to some but I believe without God's guidance, it's easy to lose your temper along the process. Anger is counter productive. It won't bring you closer to your goal (OEC) so don't waste your energy. Put God first, start your journey right.
  2. PREPARE all your documents. Better yet, call the POEA hotline if you must so you are sure. Photocopy everything in duplicate. However, in case you forgot - there's a photocopy service at POEA. Php 3.00 each. Medyo masungit si Ate as if you're disturbing her (nagca-candy crush kasi siya). So, smile ka na lang :)
  3. KNOW your documents. Specially your contract. Read them and understand the general idea. If they are asking you to change or add something, revisit your contract and rebut nicely.
  4. It took me 2 days to accomplish the whole thing. There's no PDOS on Fridays (only Mondays to Thursdays). This is for the main branch; don't know about the rest.
  5. If you are a first time OFW - don't go to OWWA. Go to POEA as I've had the same exact experience. We went to OWWA only to know it should be in POEA that I should go.
  6. On your flight date, ensure that these documents are with you: a) Passport b) PDOS Certificate c) OEC and d) employment contract. 
  7. In the airport, you don't need to pay travel tax and terminal fees. There's a designated line for OFW's but when in doubt, always ask.

I won't lie. The whole OEC application is daunting and I've read so many horror stories about it. However, it's a law that we need to abide. That said, I suggest that we should do our best to comply and for all the things that we can't control, we have a GOD and He can make things beautiful.

That's it. Good luck on your journey, I hope you'll enjoy your travel. -CMK
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47 comments

  1. Good post! Learned so much from fellow CPA, I am also direct hired and appreciate your share of experience. It's quite daunting indeed but with proper preparation, all is well. BTW, that bank officer is a fag loser. :)

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  2. Hello that was indeed very informative post! I've looked over POEA's website and still confused on the process. Anyways do you know the hospital list for medical certificate or any hospital would do? I will get this since my passport is still in the embassy.

    Thanks alot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello :) Thank you! Re: accredited hospitals / clinics, kindly google such with keywords like "2015 POEA accredited clinics". They have an updated list over various sites :)

      Yep - makes sense to accomplish your medical whilst waiting for your visa decision. Good luck on your application :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Kristine,
    I always read your blog and always end up learning something. :) Coincidentally, I will also be working in Europe specifically in Poland this 2016 and this post is somehow very informative. With your advise, I did asked my future employer to add 'Repatriation' in my contract. However, they are asking me of what kind of information should be there. Can you please enlighten me or provide sample of what should be on that section? Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thank you,
    M

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  4. Kristine, I was so relieved after seeing such a recent post about the entire OEC process (and in detail!) I've been feverishly reading about requirements online and coming across outdated entries, so having a more recent and relevant post is a god send. I'm currently awaiting my visa decision so I wanted to be informed ahead of time.

    I was also thinking of doing my medical checkup before hand, but based on what I've read online, POEA had to choose of an accredited clinic for you. But from what you've written it seems different now! It seems smoother and more hassle-free now.

    Thanks for sharing this knowledge. It's very informative. Good luck with your work abroad! :)

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  6. Hi Kristine,

    very informative blog. :)) Can you confirm if the employment certificate should be verified by Philippine consul?

    Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      FF for this one please...KUDOS for you Ms. Kristine for having such an informative blog like this one. :)

      Delete
  7. hi Kristine. okay lang ba magpamedical muna kahit walang referral galing sa POEA?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alpha - based on my experience. Yes :)

      Delete
  8. Hi Kristine

    Thanks for the informative post. How much did you for the medical?

    Thanks
    Rose

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rose - I think it's less than Php 3,000. :)

      Delete
  9. Thanks alot for sharing! I am going to share this with my sister as she is traveling to abroad for the first time. I think this will help her alot.

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  10. Hello Kristine! Where was the PDOS conducted? Sa POEA building ba or sa CFO Main Office in Manila? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. hello po ang CFO Main Office PDOS po ay para lamang sa mga magmimigrate sa US,Canada,,,hindi po ito para sa mga OFWs,,,tanging sa OWWA lamang po na nasa POEA main mismo ang PDOS for OFWs,,,tnx

      Delete
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  12. Nice! Thanks for this post! bookmarked for future reference.. :)

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  13. Hi Kristine thanks so much for your post🙏 If you don't mind, may I ask how long is the whole process?
    In dire need to know..
    Thank you God bless..
    April:)

    ReplyDelete
  14. HI,

    Thanks sa post. Very informative.

    I'm for an intracompany transfer to UK. Does it require all kinds of test, expecially hiv testing? Mejo ninenerbyos ako kasi I've been active these past few months and di pako nakakapag pa test ulit.

    Thanks!

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  15. Thank you so much for this information. I BADLY need this since im a first timer. cheers to you and God Bless! ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello Kristine!

    Great blog! I am also being relocated in one of the EU countries ng company namin as IT. Have you encountered any problems in case me pre-existing medical condition ang applicant and barred by POEA, meaning di binigyan ng OEC? Thank you!

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  17. Hi Kristine,

    Thanks for this post. This helps a lot. I also wanna know baka may idea ka kasi Ill be getting my short term visa sa Embassy of Norway then Ill fly to Beijing to get my long term visa which is valid for 2 months. This is also a direct hire for an EU member country. Hihingan pa din ba ng OEC kahit short term working visa? Ill be very happy to get a response. Thank you so much. - Apphia

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  18. Hi madam,

    Ask ko lang po para san yung bnyaran nyo na 5,656 pesos. Thanks po.

    Juvel

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Kristine,

    thank you for writing this, very helpful as I am a first timer here.
    my question is about pag-ibig, wala pa kasi ako nun, is that a requirement? and pwede bang dun na mag register with pag-ibig? or would you advise me to register prior?

    TIA,
    Bianca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bianca - Yes. that's what I did. They have a one stop shop there (PAG-IBIG, SSS, etc.).

      Delete
  20. Hi , do we still need to have our contract verified by the POLO In UK? I am direct hired and got my tier 2 visa approved . Im just a bit confused with regards to PoLO verification. Thabk you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello - I think POLO is required only for domestic helpers, drivers and the like. Regardless of the country if you fit in to this category, I understand you still need to attend the seminar. Feel free to verify with them just to be sure. :)

      Delete
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  22. Hndi po kayo nag pa red ribbon? Akala ko po lahat ng first time kumuha ng oec need yun

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  23. Hi, thank you so much for all these informations. Very helpful..

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  24. Hey, this blog has been really helpful to me. Thanks for that. But I want to ask, do you know I will still need the PDOS if I already have a certificate from them? I attended their seminar when I first left the country by sponsored trip. They say that next time I leave Philippines they'll give me the emigrant sticker for the passport. I have no idea how it works.

    ReplyDelete
  25. May bagong rules sila as of July 2016, maski skilled workers ay need maverify ung work contract sa POLO or nearest consulate.
    Yun and nangyari sa akin, kaya hassle ulit magpaverify. Mukhang naiinis na employer ko.

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  26. hello

    thank you sa infos. saan po kau nagpa medical?

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  27. Hello po! I am direct hired from Norway as a seasonal worker with a duration of 5 months only but i am confuse if i still need to get OEC since 5 months lng ang nasa offer of employment ko. hopefully meron makatulong dito. salamat.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Ms. Kristine

    Thanks for the informative post. Could you let me know please san kayo nagpa-medical? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  29. hi krristine need ba ng contract na ipa authenticate? or my seal lng tatangapin n nila?

    ReplyDelete
  30. miss kristine kailangan ba ang mga document its all original copy.like visa and contract?

    ReplyDelete
  31. kailangan po b ang visa at contract ay original copy?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Kristine! Thank you for this informative blog post. I used it as a reference when I asked my employer to fulfill my contract requirements. I just had my POEA Registration last week and would like to share my blog post about it. I did not undergo any PDOS and apparently, Medical Exam is not needed.

    http://sweetchiqchel.blogspot.com/2016/12/how-to-get-oec-for-first-time-ofw.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. very informative and entertaining to read. thank you very much

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  34. Hi. May I ask if you were asked by POEA to have your contract verified by Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)?

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  35. Hi ! Thank you for this blog entry ! I am wondering, do you have a link of all the requirements necessary ? I can't seem to find it in POEA's website.. or i am just so naive that i wasn't able to find it. :/ Anyway, merci d'avance ! :D you can write me an email at andreau.hernandez@gmail.com if you wish. :D

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  36. Great post!!!

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  37. hi po , your story make us inspired. thank you . mag aabroad pa lang po aq, plano ko pa lang dis december . para makapag trabaho dun . kailangan nadin po ba ng OEC . ? salamat po at pasensya na . madami pa po aqng di alam about sa process ng pag aabroad e. salamat po

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  38. hi po, what is hndi po sirect hire? ipapadala po sya sa sister company sa vietnam to be exact.

    ReplyDelete

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