In accordance with the regulations set by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are mandated to possess an OEC when embarking on or returning from their overseas assignments. Functioning as an exit clearance/pass, the OEC validates the regularity of recruitment and documentation for an OFW and serves as evidence of their registration with the POEA.

Presentation of the OEC to an immigration officer at the airport during departure from the Philippines is mandatory. Failure to do so may result in the prevention of the worker from leaving the country. The OEC substantiates the approval granted by the Philippines Government for the Filipino worker to migrate, and without it, departure from the Philippines is not permitted.

As the initial step, it is imperative to ascertain the job position of all employees involved, categorizing their skills as either semi-skilled, highly skilled, or otherwise. Based on this information, employees can be matched with the most suitable host country. Simultaneously, a comprehensive check with the Human Resources Department in each host country must be conducted to ensure compliance with the quotas outlined by the POEA standards.

Adhering to POEA Standards

As per Article 18 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, the general prohibition is that no employer can directly hire an OFW for overseas employment, except for those exempted from the ban. Exemptions encompass professional and skilled workers with duly executed and verified/authenticated contracts exceeding the standards set by the POEA, limited to a maximum of five OFWs per hiring entity.

In instances where the quota has been reached, the law mandates engagement with an accredited recruitment agency before employing an OFW. Additionally, the hiring entity must secure accreditation as an employer from the POEA through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) unless the Philippine Embassy or Consulate has jurisdiction over the worksite in the host country.

Ensuring Protection of Filipino Migrant Workers

To safeguard Filipino migrant workers abroad, verification by the Labor Attaché is crucial. This involves certifying that OFWs’ employment contracts align with prevailing employment laws, standards, and practices in both the Philippines and the host country. Compliance with POEA documentary requirements for overseas employment is also mandatory.

Despite the established legal channels, some entities perceive government requirements as challenging and time-consuming, prompting them to bypass POEA guidelines. This evasion poses risks to both hiring entities and OFWs and may result in legal repercussions, as hiring entities may be held liable for violating Republic Act No. 10022 (RA10022), also known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, constituting illegal recruitment.

Unregistered OFWs face consequences for skipping the complete POEA process. It is crucial to emphasize that these laws and guidelines are designed to fully protect migrant workers, ensuring deployment only to countries where their rights are adequately safeguarded. Without proper registration, the Philippine Government may be unable to provide comprehensive assistance to an OFW in immigration or employment-related cases abroad.


If you have any company-related queries, you may email us at [email protected]. When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced licensed Employment Agency with the Ministry of Manpower.

Yours Sincerely,
The editorial team at Singapore Employment Agency

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Little Big Employment Agency Pte Ltd is a licensed Employment Agency with the Ministry of Manpower with license number 19C9790.