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What is the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?

Suspension of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) and Delays

Due to a system-wide update, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) suspended issuing OECs between 6th-16th November. Until now, the system is not yet back to normal and is causing delays. Domestic helpers require OEC in order to leave the Philippines for work. See the official advisory: HERE.

At this time, there are no defined timelines for OEC processing. Read: What are expected domestic helper hiring timelines with the impact of COVID-19?

What is the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?

The OEC is a document issued by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to Filipinos working abroad. OECs are issued after the visa is released by Hong Kong Immigration and the document is the final stage in the process. It is proof that the government allows the worker to migrate and workers cannot leave the Philippines without it.

I am an employer or domestic helper with a visa in process, how does this affect me?

If the domestic helper is processing locally in Hong Kong, processing will continue as normal. You will not be affected by this suspension.

If the domestic helper cannot process locally and has to return to the Philippines, there may be delays to the processing. If the domestic helper is currently in the Philippines, she/he will not be able to leave the Philippines until OECs are released again.

The OEC processing had been suspended since the travel ban was imposed and has only resumed 19 February. As of today, there is also an additional document required by the Philippine Government before the application for OEC can be submitted. We expect that there will be a backlog from the suspension period, and unfortunately, there are no clear indications on what the timeline is for OEC processing currently. 

I am an employer or domestic helper about to start the process of hiring, how does this affect me?

We do not expect you to be affected by the changes and recommend you continue with processing as usual. If you are using an employment agency, read our guide to choosing a responsible agency to avoid illegal recruitment practices.

I am a domestic helper about to go on holiday to the Philippines and will return to the same employer, how does this affect me?

If you are going to the Philippines on holiday and are not changing employer, you will not be affected. You should apply for your OEC number online as usual.

I am a domestic helper currently on holiday in the Philippines and returning to the same employer, how does this affect me?

If you are currently on holiday in the Philippines and are returning to the same employer, you will not be affected. You should apply for your OEC number online as usual.

Who should I contact with questions?

If you are using a responsible employment agency, they should tell you how this suspension might affect you. You should contact them directly if you have questions.

If you are self-processing, this means your worker is able to process locally in Hong Kong and the suspension does not affect you. You do not need to do anything.

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Last updated on November 20th, 2020
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