Taking effect within the first week of September, OFWs who would return to the same employer at the same jobsite would be exempted from the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) requirement. This is in accordance to POEA’s Governing Board Resolution no. 12, dated August 4 2016.
The OEC is a requirement under the rules and regulations of the POEA that ensures proper documentation and protection of OFWs. Also known as the “exit pass,” the OEC is presented to international ports of exit in the country as proof that the holder is a bona fide OFW.
The exemption is important news to the Balik-Manggagawa (BM) who makes up 64% of the workers that undergo the documentation process with the POEA. It is reported that OFWs securing OECs increase to 5,000 to 7,000 a day during peak season, namely Christmas Holidays and school graduations.
- OFWs or BMs returning to the same employer and jobsite who have a record with POEA’s database
- Those hired through the Government Placement Branch or POEA’s in-house recruitment facility
So how would this be implemented?
First, the BM worker should visit the BM online platform before departure which can be found here: http://bmonline.ph/. The worker provides personal and employment details to register. This would validate if he or she would be exempted from the OEC. The POEA database stores the updated profile and electronically sends it to the Bureau of Immigration. The Immigration Officer would refer to this when clearing the worker for departure. This clearance is free of any processing fees.
But if the BM worker is not exempted from the OEC, he or she would be directed to the BM online web page for registration and setting of appointment with any POEA office or center.
Even workers who would go directly to the Bureau of Immigration counter at the airport without registration need not worry. They will be referred to the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) by the Immigration officer to determine if the worker may be cleared for departure or be evaluated further.
The resolution also says that the BMs don’t have to pay for travel tax and terminal fee. All that they have to do is present any of the following to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Manila International Airport Authority:
- valid work visa
- valid employment contract
- valid company ID
- recent payroll slip or any document proving overseas employment.