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What do the OEC processing delays mean for me?

Current domestic worker visa processing timelines are delayed due to problems with the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) system in the Philippines. At the moment, there is no clear indication when the delays will be resolved. We are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as more details develop.

Normally, OEC processing takes 1 week. However, we are seeing some cases being delayed up to 15 days. At this time, there are no defined timelines for OEC processing.

Fair Employment Agency is actively working to find solutions for our employers and domestic helpers affecting by the current delays.

Below we’ve tried to answer what this means to you, depending on your situation.

What is the overseas employment certificate (OEC) and why are there delays in processing?

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 POEA uses an online system that is experiencing glitches. The OEC applications are currently being handled manually until the online system is fixed.

There is no clear indication on when the problems will be resolved. Please keep in mind, when the system is back to normal, there could be further delays due to the backlog and the Christmas period. Employers should also be prepared that flights will likely be more expensive in December and early January.

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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