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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 - US$100 or its peso equivalent
  • OWWA membership fee - US$25 or its peso equivalent
  • OWWA Medicare - P900.00



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 Cases

POEA 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
Indorsement to 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 OFWs for 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 assistance in maltreatment and detention cases, (withholding of documents), etc.

Referral

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

Issuance of clearances to agencies, OFWs, principals, employers

Penalties:

  • 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 AGENCIES

For 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

AGAINST A FELLOW WORKER

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

AGAINST FOREIGN EMPLOYERS

  • 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

AGAINST RECRUITMENT AGENCY AND FOREIGN EMPLOYERS

  • 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.



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