Overseas Employment Certificate: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is an OEC?
An Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a document required under the Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) from all Filipinos departing the Philippines for overseas employment, whether as a new hire or a Balik Manggagawa – a Filipino worker returning to the same employer abroad.
The OEC is required to be presented to immigration officials at Philippine airports every time a Filipino overseas worker leaves the Philippines. It serves as an exit clearance, and exempts the worker from paying travel tax and airport terminal fees.
The OEC is valid only for 60 days from issuance.
2. Who issues the OEC?
The OEC is issued by POEA offices in the Philippines. It may also be issued by Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) abroad that have been authorized by the POEA to issue OECs. However, a POLO can only issue OECs to Filipinos working in the countries it covers.
Recently, POLO Geneva was assigned to have jurisdiction over Poland, and it now covers Poland from Geneva on labor matters. Earlier, it was POLO Milan that assisted the Embassy.
The OEC is not issued by Philippine Embassies or Consulates. The Philippine Embassy in Warsaw does not issue OECs.
3. What is employment contract verification?
Verification is the procedure conducted by the Labor Attaché in Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) to ensure that all the employment rights, benefits and welfare of Filipino workers at the worksite are duly protected. Through verification, the Labor Attaché ensures that the employment contracts of the Filipino workers and other employment documents are consistent with the prevailing employment laws, standards and practices in both the Philippines and the host country, and that the documentary requirements for overseas employment as required by the POEA are complied with.
4. Do I need to have my employment contract authenticated by the Philippine Embassy?
The most important requirement for the issuance of an OEC is a verified employment contract. Verification is a service that only the POLO, not the Embassy, can provide. So your aim must be to get your employment contract verified by POLO Geneva.
If, aside from having your employment contract verified by POLO, you are required by POEA to have your contract legalized by a Philippine Embassy or Consulate, then the contract may be acknowledged by a Philippine Embassy or Consulate (including by Honorary Consuls) only if the contract is executed and signed by all parties in person at the Embassy or Consulate.
If your contract was not signed in the Embassy or Consulate, the contract must be notarized by a notary public, and then apostillized by the Competent Authority of the country where the contract was executed. (The Competent Authority are the offices issuing the Apostille. They vary from country to country, but usually include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, or the Board of Notaries.) For example, if the contract was executed in Poland, then the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Competent Authority must affix an Apostille on the contract.
After the contract has been apostillized, there is no need to submit the apostillized contract to the Philippine Embassy/Consulate for authentication / legalization. Since the Apostille Convention took effect for the Philippines on 14 May 2019, the Apostille has replaced the Certificates of Authentication. Since then, the Philippine Embassies and Consulates do not issue Certificates of Authentication anymore.
For more information on the Apostille Convention, please visit the DFA Apostille info page. See also POEA's Memorandum Circular No. 08 Series of 2019 for the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Apostille Convention related to the Verification of Employment Documents for Overseas Filipino Workers. Please note that POLOs have been directed by POEA to continue conducting the verification of employment documents to be used in the recruitment of Filipino workers covering the country wherein it is established and including the countries/territories under its jurisdiction, whether such are Apostille or non-Apostille contracting parties.
5. I changed my employer in Poland, and I am spending my vacation in the Philippines. What must I do to apply for an OEC?
6. I am a directly hired worker in the Philippines bound for Latvia. I need an OEC. What must I do?
Please note that the usual hiring procedure is for the foreign employer to hire a Filipino worker through a Philippine recruitment agency, and the employment contract to be verified by POLO before the contract is sent to the Philippines. Direct hiring is discouraged; hiring must be done as much as possible, through a POEA accredited Philippine recruitment agency.
For directly hired workers, all employers seeking exemption from the direct hire prohibition shall have the employment documents of their directly hired workers either verified by POLO or acknowledged by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the jobsite.
7. How do I apply for an OEC at POLO Geneva? What are the requirements? Who are exempted?
OWWA Membership: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do I renew my OWWA membership?
Your OWWA membership is active only for two years and for the employer you specified in your application. If two years have passed, or if you have changed to another employer (even if two years have not yet passed), your membership becomes inactive. You need to renew your OWWA membership for continuous coverage and availment of benefits.
To renew your expired OWWA membership (or apply for OWWA membership for new applicants) under the On-Site Membership Program (OSMP), just send an e-mail explaining briefly your request for renewal / new application of OWWA membership, and attaching scanned copies of your
- OWWA Information Sheet, duly accomplished;
- Proof of employment such as work/residence permit, signed contract of employment, pay slip, company ID card, Application for Philippine insurance with employer's signature, or other relevant evidence of employment; and
- Copy of passport showing photo and personal data
POLO Geneva will evaluate your documents and advise you how to proceed, including how to pay the OWWA membership fee of USD 25.00.
2. Am I eligible for membership enrolment/renewal under the OWWA On-Site Membership Program (OSMP)?
You are eligible if you fall under any of the following groups:
- OFWs of legal age, who enrol as first time members, provided they are gainfully employed overseas at the time of registration;
- OFWs whose OWWA membership had expired;
- OFWs who have acquired regular/permanent residency status in the foreign country of work, but who have remained Filipino citizens; and
- OFWs who left the Philippines without proper documentation as OFW from the POEA and who have obtained gainful employment in the destination country.
If you need additional information, you may call POLO-Geneva at Tel no. 4122-716-3258 local 258
Philippine Overseas Labor Office
Philippine Mission to the United Mission and other International Organizations
14 Allee David-Morse
Office No. +4122-716-3258 local 258
Warsaw, 24 October 2019 (Updated 3 March 2021).