Whenever you go to the Philippines for a vacation, don’t forget to renew your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) before returning abroad. You can have this processed while you are in the country, but what if you need to apply for it when you are outside the Philippines?
ALSO READ: How to Get an OEC at NAIA Terminal 3 – A Step By Step Guide
Here in Dubai, you can get your Overseas Employment Certificate through the Philippine Consulate or Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). Keep on reading to know more about the requirements, fees, and procedure for getting an OEC while staying in the emirate.
What is OEC?
The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a document issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to OFWs. It can be obtained from POEA offices in the Philippines, as well as through POLO offices around the world.
What is the purpose of an OEC? According to the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (Republic Act 8042), Section 35, the OEC serves as:
- A travel “clearance” or “exit pass” for OFWs at airports;
- A certificate exempting from paying travel tax and airport terminal fees; and
- A certificate proving that an OFW is documented; hence, he/she is guaranteed protection and benefits from the Philippine government.
The OEC is valid for 60 days from the date of issue, so see to it that your departure date from the Philippines falls within this period. Otherwise, you may need to apply for an OEC again before you can return overseas.
What is Balik Manggagawa?
To clarify, the OEC is sometimes called “Balik Manggagawa” certificate. As the term implies, “balik manggagawa” refers to “returning workers.” In some cases, an OFW who is on official leave from his/her job may also be referred to as a “Worker on Leave” (WOL).
When applying for an OEC at POLO Dubai, you need to prepare the following requirements:
- “Balik Manggagawa” (BM) Online Appointment Form;
- Employment Contract verified by POLO;
- Original Passport and Visa;
- Confirmed Airline Ticket; and
- Sworn Statement (for OFWs with no POEA records or first-time OEC applicants).
- OWWA Membership Form (for OFWs whose OWWA memberships have expired)
- Round-trip Plane Ticket (for Household Service Workers or HSWs)
NOTE: For OFWs without any previous POEA records, they need to apply for an OEC through the POEA office in the Philippines.
Getting an OEC requires the following fees:
- OEC Fee — AED 10.00
- OWWA Membership Fee — AED 92.00 (for those with expired OWWA membership)
NOTE: Payment for these fees at POLO Dubai should be made in cash basis only.
How to Get an OEC in Dubai Online
Recently, the POEA launched a new online processing system for OFWs. Through this system, you can apply to get an OEC exemption (if applicable) or set an appointment with the POEA or POLO for getting an OEC.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using the POEA online processing system:
- Go to the official website of the POEA Online Processing System for Balik Manggagawa (POPS-BaM) through this link.
- To begin creating an account, Click “Let’s Go!” on the e-Registration. Enter the necessary information, such as a valid email address and password. Check your email and click the verification link. Be sure to note the email address and password that you used to create your account.
- Log into your account and enter or update your information, including passport, visa, employment details, etc.
- Next, it’s time to apply for an OEC. On the left tab, go to “My Links,” then choose “Balik Manggagawa.”
- See to it that the initial assessment is colored green, then click “Next.”
- Enter the date of your departure from the Philippines.
- Confirm your employment information. The screen will show your latest employment details that are registered with the POEA. See to it that everything is marked “Clear.”
- The system will ask, “Are you returning to this job site?” (i.e. the same employer shown onscreen). If your answer is YES, proceed to OEC Exemption (see below). If your answer is NO, proceed to step no. 9.
- Enter your latest employment details, including the name of your employer, business permit, employer’s valid ID, employer’s address, etc.
- Choose the nearest POEA or POLO office, and set the date and time of your appointment.
- Print your Balik Manggagawa Information Sheet. You can also take a screenshot of your confirmed appointment.
- On the date of your appointment, bring your Balik Manggagawa Information Sheet and other documents to the POEA or POLO office to get an OEC.
NOTE: When creating an account on the POEA online processing system, only one (1) e-Registration account is allowed for one (1) OFW.
If you are going back to the same employer and job site in Dubai, you can get an OEC exemption online. This means that you don’t need to go to a POEA or POLO office.
Nonetheless, even if you are exempted, keep in mind that you still need to register on the POEA online processing system before getting a “Balik Manggagawa” exemption. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting an OEC or Balik Manggagawa Exemption:
- Follow steps 1 to 8 from above (How to Get an OEC in Dubai Online). You will be asked, “Are you returning to this job site?” (i.e. the same employer shown onscreen). Click “Yes.”
- Check your details and see to it that all your employment information are updated and correct. Enter the starting date and duration of your contract.
- After entering all the necessary information, the system will generate your OEC or Balik Manggagawa exemption. Print this document as proof that you are exempted.
At the airport, before leaving the Philippines, present your OEC or Balik Manggagawa exemption to immigration officials. To avoid any problems, do print a copy of this document and bring it on the date of your flight.
How to Get an OEC at POLO Office in Dubai
Meanwhile, if you are going to work for a different employer, or returning to a different job site, then you need to apply for an OEC at the POLO Dubai office. This involves setting an appointment before getting your OEC, as follows:
Part 1: Booking a “Balik Manggagawa” (BM) Appoinment
- Enter your latest employment information on the POEA online processing system. This applies to those who have a change of employer and/or job site, and those who already have a record with POEA but have not yet registered on the system.
- After entering your latest employment information, click “Submit.”
- Set a “Balik Manggagawa” (BM) appointment by choosing your preferred processing location (e.g. nearest POLO or POEA office).
- Choose your preferred appointment date.
- That’s it! You have just made a BM Appointment.
Part 2: Getting an OEC at POLO Dubai
- On the date of your appointment, go to the POLO Dubai office.
- Proceed to the reception desk and submit your documents for verification.
- Pay all the necessary fees.
- That’s it! After making your payment, you will receive your OEC.
Once again, before leaving the Philippines, get ready to show your OEC to immigration officials at the airport. To avoid any problems, see to it that your OEC is valid on your departure date, and that all your declared details are correct.
Video: Applying for an OEC at POLO Dubai
To get a better idea of the OEC application process, check out this video shared by “COco m0nkey (BariSTARchimp),” the YouTube channel of an OFW based in Dubai. In this video, the vlogger shares his experience in getting an OEC at POLO Dubai:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about the OEC, OEC exemption, and the POEA online processing system:
1. How long is the validity of an OEC?
The OEC has a validity period of 60 days, starting from the date of issue. The date of your departure from the Philippines must fall within this period.
2. How much is the OEC fee in Dubai?
The OEC fee in Dubai is AED 10.00.
3. Can I get an OEC even if my OWWA membership is inactive?
No. To get an OEC or OEC exemption, you need to be an active member of OWWA. If you are not an active member or if your membership has expired, you need to pay the OWWA membership fee when applying for an OEC.
4. The POEA online processing system has confirmed that I am exempted from OEC. Do I still need to go to a POEA or POLO office?
No. If the POEA online processing system has confirmed that you are exempted, then you don’t need to go to a POEA or POLO office to get an OEC exemption. Just print your OEC exemption and present it to immigration officials at the airport before leaving the Philippines.
5. I am going back to to the same employer in Dubai. How can I get an OEC exemption?
Even if you are going back to the same employer, you still need to register on the POEA online processing system. Simply enter the required details and follow the instructions onscreen to acquire your OEC exemption.
6. Can I change the email address that I used when registering on the POEA online processing system?
No. Your email address will serve as your permanent log-in account on the POEA online processing system, so you cannot change it. However, it is possible to change your account password from time to time.
Other than your email address, the following information cannot be manually changed on the system, either: name, gender, and date of birth. Therefore, always make sure that you enter correct and accurate data!
7. I forgot the email address and password that I used to register an account on the POEA online processing system. What should I do?
Visit the online POEA Help Desk through this link. Click “Create a Ticket” and file an electronic ticket, stating that you need to correct your email address and password. To follow up your ticket, simply click “Inquire Ticket.”
8. During my last vacation, I was able to get an OEC, but I haven’t registered on the new POEA online processing system yet. Can I get an OEC exemption?
No. Even if you were able to get an OEC during your last vacation, you still need to register on the new POEA online processing system to get an OEC or OEC exemption.
9. Do I need to obtain an OEC every time I go on vacation to the Philippines?
Yes. You need to obtain an OEC every time you go on vacation to the Philippines. This means that you’ll have to log into the POEA online processing system and apply for an OEC (or OEC exemption) before returning abroad.
10. I am returning to the same company and I was able to obtain an OEC before. However, the POEA online processing system is re-directing me to the appointment page. Why?
Please note that the POEA online processing system will re-direct you to the appointment page if you are:
- An OFW who is on a watchlist, or your employer is on a watchlist;
- An OFW who is returning to a restricted or non-compliant country;
- An OFW without any records in the POEA database, or there are discrepancies between the information you entered and the data in the system;
- An undocumented worker (e.g. tourist, student, dependent) who became an OFW; or
- A sea-based OFW who became a land-based OFW.
As long as you have all the requirements, applying for an OEC should go smoothly. Just remember to log into the POEA online processing system to obtain an OEC exemption (if applicable), or to set an appointment if you are getting your OEC from POLO Dubai.
Contact Information: POLO Dubai
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your OEC, you can get in touch with POLO Dubai through the following contact details:
Address: Street #2C, Beirut St., Near Al Qusais Police Station, Al Qusais 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: +971 50 652 6626 / +971 50 872 1025 (for OEC concerns)
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Google Map Location
The POLO Dubai office is situated near Al Qusais Police Station in Dubai. Here is the office’s location on Google Maps, for your reference:
DISCLAIMER: We hope that the above guide has been helpful, particularly if you are planning to go on leave or vacation in the Philippines anytime soon. Please note that the above guide is presented for general, information-sharing purposes only. To know the latest requirements, fees, and procedures in getting an OEC or OEC exemption, please visit the official website of POLO Dubai.
ALSO READ: Services Offered by the Philippine Consulate and Overseas Labor Office in Dubai