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What documents should a domestic helper prepare for holiday travel?

When domestic helpers from the Philippines go back home for holidays they will need an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), often called an “Exit Permit”, to be able to re-enter Hong Kong. They need a valid permit for every re-entry from the Philippines, including home leave.

What is the OEC?

The purpose of the OEC is to make sure the traveler is an overseas worker with a contract and visa in the country of employment. Besides making sure that workers are documented, a domestic helper with a valid OEC does not have to pay travel tax and terminal fees at the airport.

OEC’s are valid for 60 days after they are issued, or for one day if they have been issued at the airport’s Labor Assistance Counter. Remember, that any OEC is valid only for a single exit from the Philippines.

Where to Apply

Domestic helpers need to register their applications for OECs online and use the online system to make appointments. During their appointment the workers pay a processing fee and are then given their OEC.

An appointment can be had either before departure at the Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Hong Kong, or after at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) office in the Philippines.

The only time when appointments at POLO or POEA are not needed, is if a domestic helper has

  1. already been registered to the online system,
  2. has their last OEC number (the one they used to travel to Hong Kong),

and

  1. is returning to the same employer and job place. In this case, they qualify for Exemption, and only need to print their OEC confirmation once they have submitted their application through the online system.

From our experience, the easiest and most economic option is to apply for an OEC while still in Hong Kong, before a domestic helper’s departure. The fee for OEC processing in Hong Kong is 20 HKD and appointments at Hong Kong POLO offices are made through the online system at bmonline.ph (details on how to apply below).

If selecting to process the OEC in the Philippines at a POEA office, the processing fee is 100 PHP, and like appointments for POLO offices, they are made through the online system.

It is also possible for domestic helpers to be issued an emergency OEC at the Labour Assistance Counter in the Manila NAIA airport. However, this is only for domestic helpers staying in the Philippines for 5 days or less. The fee is 100 PHP and domestic helpers will need a valid work visa, telephone/contact details of their employers and copy of their employment contract for processing.

How to Apply  

Workers can apply for the OEC online or visit the office of The Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in the Philippines or Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Hong Kong. 

A new web-based processing system was launched in June 2021 to replace the old BM Online system. It is known as POPS-BaM or POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (Returning Overseas Filipino Worker). Records from the old BM Online System are automatically transferred to POPS-BaM 2-6 hours after the e-registration account is created.

Workers are recommended to apply for the OEC online via POPS-BaM directly if possible. If workers prefer to apply for the OEC at the POEA office in person or online application is not applicable, they should still set an appointment online via POPS-BaM first. 

Steps to Create a new e-Registration Account 

  1. Go to https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx and click ‘Let’s Go’ under e-Registration 
  2. Click ‘Register’
  3. Fill out the form 
  4. Log-in with the temporary password sent to your registered email
  5. You will be asked to enter a new password. Enter and confirm your password.
  6. Upon login, go to “My Profile” and fill out your information to access your account.

Who can get the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) Exemption Online without in-person appointment?

Only workers who are returning to the same employer and jobsite with a previous POEA record can get the OEC Exemption Online. 

If the worker processed the current contract in the Philippines through a recruitment agency, the online system should have a POEA record of the same employer, qualifying for the OEC Exemption Online. 

If the worker acquired an OEC in his/her previous vacation in the Philippines under the same employer, the worker is qualified for the OEC Exemption Online this time. 

How to get your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) Exemption Online:

  1. Login  https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx 
  2. Click ‘Balik Manggagawa‘ under My Links and click ‘Next’
  3. Enter flight schedule and Click ‘Next’
  4. Answer yes to both questions 
  5. Print OEC 

If the worker processed the contract in Hong Kong and it is the first time for the worker to return to the Philippines under this employer, the worker would need to schedule an appointment with the POEA office in the Philippines or POLO office in Hong Kong. 

How to schedule an appointment If Online OEC Exemption is not applicable?

  1. Login  https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx 
  2. Click ‘Balik Manggagawa‘ under My Links and click ‘Next’
  3. Enter flight schedule and click ‘Next’
  4. Enter new contract details 
  5. Book an appointment. Select your preferred POEA office in the Philippines or POLO office in Hong Kong 
  6. Attend the appointment with required documents 
    • Appointment Sheet (2 copies)
    • Notarized Employment Contract (original)
    • Work Visa (original and 2 copies)
    • Philippine Passport (original and 2 copies)
    • Telephone/ contact number of employer
    • HKID number of employer
  7. Pay the processing fees at authorized payment channels 
    • The processing fee for OEC in Hong Kong is HKD$20. 
    • If you are processing the OEC at a POEA office in the Philippines, the processing fee is 100 PHP.
  8. Print OEC 

If you are in Hong Kong, you are recommended to book an appointment with the Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) before departure.

Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Hong Kong

Address: 2902, 29/F United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong. 

Phone: +852 2866 0640 / 2865 2445

Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Sun-Thu)

 

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Last updated on December 22nd, 2022
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