FAQ on Overseas Employment

Frequently Asked Questions on Overseas Employment
Q. What is the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) issued by the POEA?
Ans. You shall be issued an Overseas Employment Certificate, which serves as the OFW travel exit clearance at the airport and immigration counters. The OEC is also an exemption for OFWs from payment of travel tax and airport terminal fees. You shall likewise get a free OFW electron ID card or e-Card, which is your permanent identification card to facilitate your departure and access to services as OFW.
Q. What are the legal documentation and processing fees that a recruitment agency is allowed to collect? 
Ans. Documentation costs include fees for passport, NBI/Police clearance, medical examinations, medicare premium, trade tests, authentication and birth certificate.Processing costs include visa, POEA processing fee, and OWWA membership fee to be paid by the employer.
Q. How much is the processing of documents at POEA? 
Ans.If you are a name-hired worker, these are the costs:
  • POEA Processing Fee –  P 100.00
  • OWWA membership fee – US$25 or its peso equivalent 
  • (Philhealth) – P900.00
  • PAGIbig – P100.00  

Q. After paying a large sum of money, I found out that the person recruiting me for a job abroad was not authorized by POEA. He promised me that I would be deployed even though he has no license. What shall I do? 

Ans. Report the matter immediately to POEA’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch at telephone no. 722-11-92 or the Philippine National Police or NBI. You are not assured of protection once you run into trouble abroad as he has no bonds posted to answer for any eventuality. He may promise you a job but he can only have you deployed by resorting to irregularities that will compromise your welfare. The POEA Legal Assistance Division will help you in filing and prosecuting your case.

Q. What welfare assistance are provided by the POEA to overseas workers and their families? 

Ans.Filing Welfare CasesPOEA provides the following assistance concerning welfare of overseas workers and their families:Counselling on the following:

  • terms and conditions of employment contract
  • family relations
  • policies, laws
  • general information

Conciliation/Conferences:(for Name Hires processed to POEA and Balik-manggagawa workers)

  • violation of terms and condition of employment contract
  • claim for medical/death benefits

Request for:

  • repatriation/for plane ticket or pre-paid ticket advice (PTA)
  • repatriation of remains/personal belongings

Indorsementto Adjudication Office of requests for watchlisting of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with warrant of Arrest and Hold Order issued by appropriate agency. (POEA Rules, Book VII, Sec. 4)

Watchlisting of OFWsfor monitoring and conciliation

  • for breach of code of discipline for overseas contract workers (POEA Rules, VII, Rule VI)
  • Obligations of overseas workers
  • Delisting from roster of watchlisted OFWs

Request for assistancein maltreatment and detention cases, (withholding of documents), etc.


  • free legal aid (Integrated bar of the Phils. (IBP), UP Law Center, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Department of Justice, etc., UST, Ateneo, San Beda, Commission on Human Rights, and Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)
  • Coordination with appropriate office: OWWA, DFA, NLRC, Labor Posts/Embassies

Indorsementto Pre-Employment Services Office (PSO) of requests for inclusion of principal/employers in the POEA watch list; request for delisting

Issuance of clearancesto agencies, OFWs, principals, employers


  • watchlisting of principals
  • watchlisting of workers for monitoring and conciliation
  • suspension of documentary processing of agencies for non cooperation

Where to file:

Assistance and Welfare Division, Welfare Service Branch 2nd Floor, POEA Building Tel. No. 722-11-96/722-11-82

Who may file:

Worker, family of contract worker, agency, employer

Documents needed:

  • Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
  • Employment Contract
  • Death Certificate and Affidavit of Succession of Heirs (in case of death claims)
  • Medical Report (in cases of medical disability benefit claims)

For cases of non-support:

  • Marriage Contract and birth certificate of the children

Q. How do I avoid illegal recruitment? 

Ans.Tips to avoid illegal recruitment:

  1. Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA.
  2. Do not deal with licensed agencies without job orders.
  3. Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency.
  4. Do not transact business outside the registered address of the agency. If recruitment is conducted in the province, check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority.
  5. Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs.
  6. Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt.
  7. Do not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring you to reply to a Post Office (P.O.) Box, and to enclose payment for processing of papers.
  8. Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies, which promise overseas employment.
  9. Do not accept a tourist visa.
  10. Do not deal with fixers. 

Q. What are the acts considered as illegal recruitment as defined by RA 8042?

Ans.The following are considered acts of illegal recruitment as defined by RA 8042 and are basis for filing illegal recruitment cases:

  1. Recruiting and charging or accepting fees without proper license or authority to recruit.
  2. Furnishing or publishing any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment.
  3. Giving any false notice, testimony, information or document or committing any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing license or authority under the Philippine Labor Code.
  4. Inducing or attempting to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him to another.
  5. Influencing or attempting to influence any person or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency.
  6. Recruiting workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the Philippines.
  7. Obstructing or attempting to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his duly authorized representative.
  8. Substituting or altering to the prejudice of the worker, employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the DOLE.
  9. Withholding or denying travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under the labor code.
  10. Failure to actually deploy worker(s) without valid reasons as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment.
  11. Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker’s fault.

File your complaints at:

Legal Assistance Division Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch, 4th Floor, POEA Building or the nearest POEA/DOLE regional office; NBI, PNP, Police Authorities in your area

Q. How do I file an administrative case at the POEA?

Ans.AGAINST RECRUITMENT AGENCIESFor violation of recruitment laws, rules and regulations

  • overcharging of placement fee
  • pre-mature collection of placement fee
  • misrepresentation
  • withholding of travel documents
  • failure to deploy without valid reason
  • failure to reimburse documentation expenses when deployment did not take place without the worker’s fault
  • substitution and alteration of employment contract

Where to get legal assistance:

Legal Assistance Division POEA head office or any POEA Regional Office


For offenses while working overseas:

  • misappropriation of property or money of fellow worker entrusted for delivery
  • creating trouble
  • theft/robbery
  • possession of deadly weapon
  • drunkenness
  • drug addiction, etc.

Where to get legal assistance:

Legal Assistance Division POEA head office


  • Defaulting on their contractual obligation to the workers
  • Violation of rules and regulations on overseas employment
  • Grave misconduct

Where to get legal assistance:

Legal Assistance Division POEA head office

Philippine Embassy or Consulate nearest the jobsite of the worker


  • Money claims arising from employer-employee-relationship such as unpaid wages, breach of contract and illegal dismissal

Where to get legal assistance:

Migrant Worker’s Desk National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) NLRC Regional Office where the complainant resides. 

Q. My recruitment agency wants me to pay 50 thousand pesos as placement fee. Is this legal? 

Ans. The legal placement fee to be collected by licensed recruitment agencies from applicants for overseas jobs must be equivalent to one month salary of the worker as stipulated in the employment contract. The amount, however, does not include documentation and processing costs. 

Q. Someone is recruiting me to work overseas but I have to leave the country as tourist. Is this a legitimate way to find overseas jobs? What are the other forms and guises of illegal recruitment?

Ans.Leaving the country as a tourist but with the intention of working abroad is illegal both in the Philippines and the host country. Other forms of illegal recruitment are as follows:
  • Escort services – tourist/workers “escorted” at the country’s airports and seaports.
  • By correspondence – applicants are encouraged by the recruiter to comply with employment requirements and placement through mail.
  • Blind ads – fraudulent and misleading advertisements promising facility of employment
  • Au pair – an inter-cultural program wherein a host family sponsors a person to study language and culture for a monthly allowance in exchange for a home to stay.
  • Backdoor exit – going out of the country through some airports and seaports in the southern part of the Philippines.
  • Camouflaged participation in foreign seminars and sports events – workers leave as participants in seminars or sports events but eventually finding jobs in the host country.
  • Traineeship scheme – HRM students leaving in the guise of a traineeship program for hotels abroad but eventually landing jobs in the training establishment.

Q. My contract was for 2 years but I was dismissed by my employer after three months of work. Can I sue them for breach of contract and claim for unpaid wages? Where shall I file the case? 

Ans. You may sue your employer and its agent if you were dismissed without valid reasons. Money claims arising from employer-employee relationship such as unpaid wages, breach of contract or illegal dismissal may be filed with the Migrant Worker’s Desk of the National Labor Relations Commission in Quezon City or in NLRC’s Regional Arbitration Branch in the region you reside. 

Q. I am spending my vacation in the Philippines and will go back to my employer after one month. Do I have to go through POEA processing all over again? 

Ans. No, you need not go through the whole process again. Your employer and employment contract were already verified. As a returning overseas Filipino worker or balik-manggagawa, all you have to do is secure an overseas employment certificate (OEC) at the POEA Balik-Manggagawa Processing Division, regional centers and satellite offices and some Philippine Overseas Labor Offices to enable you to leave the country again and avail of the same privileges such as exemption from travel tax and airport terminal fee. 

Q. I was hired as a consultant in facilitating the documentation of immigrant workers recruited for employment in US hospitals. Do we have to secure a license for dealing with immigrant workers?

Ans. Yes, you need to secure a license from POEA if your immigration consultancy and other similar entities do not limit your assistance to processing and facilitation in the issuance of immigrant visa but will engage in the recruitment and placement of workers, whether on worker’s visa or employment-based immigration visa, without a license or authority issued by POEA, you shall be subjected to prosecution for illegal recruitment and such other appropriate action as may be necessary pursuant to the pertinent provisions of RA 8042 and its implementing rules and regulation (MC #10). 

Q. Our company wants to hire Filipino workers for our overseas projects. What are the requirements before we can recruit the workers? 

Ans. Only entities licensed by the Department of Labor and Employment through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration may recruit Filipino workers for employment overseas. A foreign company may therefore hire Filipino workers by engaging the services of a licensed recruitment agency in the Philippines. 

Q. I want to withdraw my application from an agency because it has failed to deploy me after so many months now. Can I claim for reimbursement of my expenses? 

Ans. Yes, you can claim for reimbursement of placement fee, documentation and processing expenses from the agency if deployment did not take place without your fault. You may file an administrative case against the recruitment agency through POEA”s Legal Assistance Division. 

Q. My husband is an OFW. My children and I want to go to the place where he is working. Do we have to pay for the travel tax?

Ans. The family of an overseas Filipino worker may avail of a reduced travel tax when they go abroad while the OFW has an existing employment contract. The reduced travel tax certificate is issued by the Department of Tourism. 

Q. I was able to secure a work visa from a foreign country. Do I need to go through POEA for processing of my documents? What are the requirements? 

Ans. Yes, you need to have your documents processed at POEA. A visa merely allows entry into another country. It does not specify the terms and conditions of work for a particular employer. Name hires or Filipino workers who have found jobs on their own should have their documents processed at POEA. The requirements are the following: passport, work visa or work permit, employment contract verified or authenticated by the Philippine embassy or Philippine consulate in the country of your destination. You are also required to undergo a medical examination by a DOH-accredited clinic or hospital and a pre-departure orientation seminar. 

Q. I am applying for a foreign job through an agent or recruitment agency. What shall I do to avoid illegal recruitment?

Ans. Verify to make sure the agent you are dealing with is authorized or licensed by POEA and has the proper job order and the person transacting business with you is legitimately connected with the licensed agency. You should apply only at the registered office of the recruitment agency. If the recruitment is conducted outside the registered office address, verify if it has a provincial recruitment authority issued by POEA or has been allowed to conduct recruitment activity outside their office. Ask for a copy of employment contract and study the terms and conditions. Do not pay any fee unless you have been hired and signed the employment contract. Always ask for a receipt corresponding to any payment.  


Thanks to : DOLE  Zamboanga Region 9 Website  for this valuable information.


161 thoughts on “FAQ on Overseas Employment

  1. Hi! I just want to be clarified regarding the predicament that I am in right now. I am about to leave for KSA after having finished complying all the requirements such as passport, work visa from my employer, medical, TESDA certificate, OWWA certificate, PEOS and I am done signing my contract. I already have an expected date of arrival in Riyahd and all necessary fees are already paid by my employer. The sad fate is I incurred debts while processing my papers and going to and from Manila since I come from Iloilo. The agency just called me up and decided not to send me because they discovered that I have masters degree but I opted to work as a household worker abroad. I signed the contract because it is what I want to do and I need a change of environment. They did not process my OEC and my papers are still with them without any proper communication as to my predicament and the return of my papers. Can I sue them in court? I am a victim of prejudice. Thanks for hearing me out.

  2. Hi po, I’m working as an OFW for the first time, hence, I don’t have SSS, pag ibig and health fund. Am I required to register for those funds even though I already have OEC? What are the documents do I need to show to immigration for them to let me pass?

    • Magkahiwalay po ang OEC (OWWA Membership at POEA Fees) at ang Pagibig/Philhealth payments. Kung may OEC ka hindi na po hinahanap sa immigration ang resibo ng Phealth at Pagibig. Ang OEC lamang po ang inyong ipakita. Ngunit, ini-encourage ko po kayong mag contribute sa Pagibig at Phealth dahil po in my experienced ang laki po ng naitulong sa akin ng mga ito.

  3. Magandang araw. I started working here in Riyadh November 2015. I would like to ask how can I report all the things my employer has been doing not only to me but to almost all the nurses in my company, to POLO. First I read here that Passports should NOT be taken from us by the employer which they did otherwise the moment we got in the housing. Second, we signed a single page contract thru the agency. But come our departure for Riyadh, we were held a few pages of employment contract which has an arabic translation, stating that we will be receiving a different amount of salary, of which around 25% higher than what the employer offered us. How can we refuse? We are about to depart! So we signed it anyway. We stayed 3 days in the housing (of which, way different from what the representative of the employer told us, the housing is in very bad shape) without pay. The fourth day, we were told to start work. But for me, I was assigned in another clinic, not the clinic I signed in the contract and my visa. Is that even allowed? Now, they are planning to transfer me in another housing. I asked why. The representative just said another nurse from the housing I will be transferred to wants to go back here from where I am staying. Is that even legal again? They will transfer me again in another clinic? I said I will not want transfer. Please advise, what can I do..

    • If you are in Riyadh, please visit our POLO office. Prepare the following:

      1) Formal Letter of Complaint
      2) Letter should include the details of the complaint and numbered it 1 to so on..all particular issues to be raised
      3) State the name of the company or hospital, name of employer, manager, address and contact numbers
      4) Address the letter to Labor Attache Resty Dele Fuente, cc.: Labor Attache Bantilan
      5) All complainant must sign the letter with corresponding iqama and contact cp numbers.
      6) Attach to the letter photocopies of your contract.
      7) If you can have it (letter) translate to arabic, it would be better, just in case the POLO will endorse your letter to Min. of Labor.

      The POLO will then call your company for an appointment. The POLO will talk or mediate the complaint between the employer and the workers. If no action be taken by the employer, the POLO will decide if your complaint be endorsed to the Min. of Labor. Don’t forget to mention in your complaint the name of the recruitment agency in the Philippines.

      • Maraming maraming salamat po sa informations. The only thing I am worried about is how I would be able to visit POLO. Buying our foods in hypermarkets is a struggle to ask for permission. Let alone going to POLO. They want us to just go to hypermarkets twice a month for a limited time only. Anyway, the informations are very helpful. I know I will find a way to go to POLO office. Thank you very much again.

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