Having been working abroad for the past 9 years, I always look forward to going home for a vacation. However, when I must return to my work abroad, it’s such a hassle to get one of the country’s exit requirements – an overseas employment certificate (OEC).
What is an Overseas Employment Certificate?
An Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a document required to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who are heading to their workplace abroad either as a new hire or from their vacation. They usually hold a working visa and not a permanent resident status. The benefit of having an OEC is being exempt in paying the airport terminal fee and travel tax to head or return to their workplace abroad only. If an OFW plans to travel to a different location not their workplace abroad, they are required to pay the airport terminal fee and travel tax.
Requirements to get an Overseas Employment Certificate:
- Employment Contract
- Working Visa
- Work Permit
- Valid OWWA Membership with receipt
- Annual payment receipt of Pag-Ibig
- Annual payment receipt of Philhealth
- Filled-up form
Fees as of 15 April 2012:
- Overseas Employment Certificate: Php 100 each
- OWWA Membership (valid for 2 years): USD 25 or peso equivalent
- Pag-ibig (1 year): Php 1,200
- Philhealth (1 year): Php 1,200 (will increase to Php 2,400 by Jan. 1, 2013)
Location of OWWA Desk in NAIA Terminals:
- Terminal 1: if you’re facing the terminal, the OWWA office is in the right most side of the terminal from the outside.
- Terminal 2: Inside the terminal, left most side.
- Terminal 3: Inside the terminal, right most side.
Tips & Tricks:
Apply in provincial offices instead of heading to the main office in Ortigas. The lines are shorter and less stressful.
If you think that you’ll be returning to the country several times a year, get multiple OEC’s at the POEA offices.
Bring extra money as you might be surprised of required extra fees.
If you are vacationing for 5 days, you may apply directly at the airport.
If you get your OEC at the airport, they do not normally collect the Pag-ibig & Philhealth fees.
You must have your OEC validated before checking-in your luggage.
Ignorance or failure to get an OEC will only make you suffer and miss your flight.
Even if you pay the airport terminal fee and travel tax, immigration officials will not allow you to exit the country if you don’t have an OEC.
There’s a delivery service at the POEA office in Ortigas.
The POEA office in Ortigas will no longer distribute forms after 4pm.
- As much as possible, avoid getting your OECs during the Christmas season as there will be too many people queuing.
- If the country you’re working for has a POEA/OWWA office, try to get your OEC there than back home. The only downside is the cost which is usually higher than back in Manila.
I hope this will help you in getting your OECs processed. Please don’t ignore tip #7 as I’ve experienced people left behind at NAIA Terminal 1 as the POEA officer asked them to go to Ortigas to get an OEC. They were also rebuffed with their offer to pay the airport terminal fee and travel tax.
To the government, please stop thinking that OFWs are your milking cows and scam us for money. Please be considerate when you think of new fees for us to pay and our plight in working abroad, not all of us are fortunate to earn a very decent living.
The Philhealth payment is a ripped-off and you’re planning to increase it by 100% next year. For a single individual with non-retired parents, the benefit that you say we will receive is useless and negligible. It cannot even cover the entire hospital bill in another country nor our country. I also hope that you could at least allow us to assign a beneficiary of our choosing who we think could benefit on our behalf.
For the Pag-ibig payment, do you know what they told me last year when I asked what it is for? They said “Isipin niyo na lang as investment mo siya ma’am pang-retire niyo.” I do hope I will see this money when I do retire in the future. Moreover, I hope I can get a card or something to say that I’m a member and not just a receipt of payment.