Direct Hiring OEC Process for Professional and Skilled Workers

Recently, I have been receiving questions about the OFW direct hiring process for Professionals and Skilled workers. These questions are posted as comments in these related articles:

How to Get an OEC for Direct Hires
Online: List of Direct Hires with DOLE Clearances or OEC

Per Section 124 of the Exemption from the Ban on Direct Hiring, Professional and Skilled workers are exempted from the ban:

“2. Professionals and skilled workers with duly executed/authenticated contracts
containing terms and conditions over and above the standards set by the
POEA. The number of professional and skilled Overseas Filipino Workers hired
for the first time by the employer shall not exceed five (5). For the purpose of
determining the number, workers hired as a group shall be counted as one;”

However, the OEC processing for Professional and Skilled workers seem to confuse some applicants as they were told by the POEA that they do not handle the paperworks for this specific category.

I browsed the POEA website to check for any new updates or advisories regarding this, but I couldn’t find any. The published REVISED POEA RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE RECRUITMENT AND EMPLOYMENT OF LANDBASED OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS OF 2016 has not been replaced or amended:

http://www.poea.gov.ph/laws&rules/files/Q%20&%20A%20on%20Revised%20POEA%20Rules%202016.pdf

Anyway, upon checking the Overseas Filipino Workers tab in the POEA website, it looks like the applicant’s documents need to be submitted to DOLE directly, based on this guideline:

This PDF document can be found here: http://www.poea.gov.ph/services/workers/NH_Professionals.pdf

If I got it right, this means that applicants who are qualified under this exemption will have to submit their requirements to DOLE instead of POEA.

UPDATE: It looks like Professionals and Skilled workers are no longer part of the exemption, at least based on the accounts of applicants who’s been to the POEA office lately: These comments are posted HERE.

Anyone who went through this process this year (2018)? Care to share your experiences?

Have you Claimed your New EMV ATM Card?

BDO is one of the first banks to issue ATM debit cards with EMV chips. I had to get mine yesterday because as of February 1, 2018, all BDO ATM cards without EMV chips can no longer be used.

What’s the difference you may ask? The EMV chip is an added security feature on our ATM debit cards. This is similar to what you see on credit cards. This move is mandated by the Banko Central ng Pilipinas to which all banks must comply by June 2018. For comparison, here’s a photo of the old and new BDO ATM cards:


Is the new ATM card free? Yes.

How do you claim your new ATM card? For BDO, you may simply go to your branch and bring your old ATM card and a valid ID. No appointments or registration necessary. The new card is already with them; the process is the same as picking up a card for a newly opened account. I got mine in less 10 minutes upon arriving at my branch.

What will happen to unclaimed ATM cards? Your bank will keep them, practically until those cards are claimed. Banks do not mail ATM cards, and doing so for these new cards will defeat the purpose of all these security measures.

How Much are you Paying for your Condo Association Dues?



Our property management just announced that there will be no increase in our condo dues this 2018.

The cost of association dues vary depending on the developer and property itself. Other factors, such as location and type of development, are also being considered.

For some condominiums, the amount is the same for all units, which ranges from P1000-P1500 per month. For others like SMDC, this is computed per square meter:

Residential Units: P79/sqm/month Parking Units: P61/sqm/month

The same is true for Robinsons. A friend who owns a unit in a Robinsons development is paying P74 per square meter a month for condo dues. I believe DMCI also follow this per square meter computation. This means that the bigger your unit, the higher your association dues will be. It sounds unfair, but NOT if you have more than three tenants in those bigger units (as opposed to three or less in the smaller units).

And for some good news, association dues will no longer be taxed under the new TRAIN law. This looks like an additional savings for condo owners?


How much are you paying for your condo association dues?

3 Things that OFWs Must Know about the OFW ID

1. The iDOLE OFW ID Card is FREE!

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “This is free for our OFWs. We do not want our OFWs to shoulder the cost because this is a gift from the President to recognize their sacrifices and immense contribution to our economy.”

2. Currently, this is only available for NEW Balik-Manggagawa (worker-on-leave, or vacationing OFWs).

“This is only the first phase of implementation and will cater first to our Balik-Manggagawa until the system is ready for all OFWs. We are doing this to secure the database and for further improvements in the system,” Secretary Bello said.

3. Registration can be done online via idole.dole.gov.ph in 3 easy steps!

This means that moving forward, OFWs will be able to do perform their transactions online! Per DOLE advisory:

“With the use of the ID, OFWs will no longer need to queue in transacting with agencies for their overseas employment as they can now access government services online during the further phases of the iDOLE eServices implementation.

The first phase of the system links DOLE with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The iDOLE system will further interlink the databases of DOLE offices and agencies with other government agencies for a more reliable, updated and complete Labor Market Information System (LMIS) for employment facilitation purposes.” – Source: https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/view/3929

What is the POEA Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS)

What is the POEA Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS), and why do you need to take it?

The PEOS is informal online seminar that you need to take when applying for a job overseas; you can access this at http://peos.poea.gov.ph/.

This is required by the POEA, and in case you are applying through an agency, the agency will be asking you to submit the printed copy of your PEOS completion certificate. This certificate will be provided at the end of the online seminar.

The PEOS consists of a series of videos showing all the information that you will need to know when applying for a job abroad. At the end of each video, you will be asked to answer a short “quiz” to test your knowledge and to ensure that you understood what was discussed in the videos.

Screenshot from http://peos.poea.gov.ph/

 

Why do you need to take the seminar?

It’s a quick and convenient way to learn and understand the ins and outs of becoming an OFW.

It will provide you information about the legal ways of obtaining a job abroad, tips on how to spot and avoid illegal recruiters, and the physical, emotional, and psychological preparations that one should do before leaving his or her family in the Philippines to work overseas.

A short, quick lesson about cultural awareness is also included.

I took it myself, and although I was confident that I am knowledgeable about what is legal and not, and despite my broad awareness of the cultural differences amongst regions around the world, I still incurred one incorrect answer.

It was a fun and easy online seminar, just like watching 5-10 minute Youtube videos. You can do it anywhere, and all you need is an internet connection and a computer.


Ideally, the PEOS should be taken before an aspiring OFW start his or her application. It will actually also help you decide whether you are “ready” to work abroad or not. Nonetheless, you can still do it at any time during your application process. My brother, for example, took this online seminar while waiting for his OEC to be released.

What is the “balance from previous billing” in your Meralco Bill?



I moved-in to my new place in April, and from May to December, my electric bill always comes with an amount under theBalance from Previous Billing box. This is despite the fact that I have been paying the total amount due in FULL since my first billing. The “balance” has always been less than 10 pesos so it never really bothered me. But since we are now on the topic of saving money, I finally decided to contact Meralco.

How do you contact Meralco? For a lazy guy like me, I chose the easiest way. Twitter:

Per Meralco’s advice, these are withholding taxes from the previous tenant. There was never a previous tenant in my unit, so I guess those are taxes earned from when SMDC installed electrical lines?

This also still doesn’t explain why these “balances” continued to appear in my bills until December despite having been paying everything in full and on time since May. This message thread will surely continue in January if I see yet another “balance”.

To be fair with their social media representative/s, they are very polite and accommodating. I’ve had previous inquiries with them so we were already following each other (you will need to follow each other’s account in order to send private messages on Twitter).

I’ll definitely keep an eye on the “balance from previous billing” box in my next bill. Next update: January 2018.

January 2018 Update: Consistent to what I’ve been receiving in the past 7 months, another P7.76 was added to my December 2018 bill. After several DM exchanges with MERALCO, it looks like there had been an error at their end. They promised to deduct this from my next billing:February 2018 Update: The amount under “balance from previous billing” has eventually been removed from my latest bill.

How Did I Learn About OEC Processing?

I learned it the hard way. Very hard, but amusing way!

Late in 2016, we started processing my brother’s papers for his employment in Canada. It took us around six months to prepare all the requirements including his passport. We submitted the documents via the MyCIC website in April 2017, I did everything online.

Everything happened so fast – medical exam, submission of passport, and claiming of visa. It all happened in less than two months. We never seek assistance from an agency nor asked help from a third party, a move that we later on regret not doing. We have the visa, we thought that’s all we need. In June 2017, we immediately booked his flight and he’s set to leave in three weeks.

NAIA Terminal 1

His flight schedule is 9AM, so we left Quezon City at 4AM. On our way to the airport, I had this strange feeling that something is not quite right. I just still couldn’t believe that it happened so fast, that it is even possible to do it that quick. When we passed by the POEA office in Ortigas, I had this deep sigh of relief thinking that we didn’t have to go through all the process inside that building. I would often see long lines there in the past and it surely looks depressing.

We got at the airport two hours too early. We didn’t let him in until 7AM, just enough time for checkin. My sister and I proceeded to the waiting area inside the terminal and decided to wait until his plane takes off.

15 minutes later, my phone started ringing. My brother was calling and I knew that something was wrong.

Imagine our horror when we learned that airport staff were looking for a document called OEC! We were in shock!


We did try our best to possibly get him through to no avail, but we stayed calm and present. It took awhile for everything to sink in but we knew we have to keep moving. We gathered all the information we needed and left the airport. That was my longest EDSA trip ever!

We spent the next five weeks literally running around Metro Manila to process his OEC. Although we knew we can’t relax until he actually makes it to Canada, we were laughing at the whole experience all throughout. We complied with all the rules of DOLE and POEA, two agencies that I wish I will never have to deal with ever again.

He finally took his flight in August 2017 and landed in Vancouver safely. It’s been four months (as of this writing) and I still couldn’t believe that this happened to us, and how we actually managed the whole thing. I am proud to say that we dealt with it peacefully. It was quite an experience, but definitely something that I do not wish anyone to go through!

So if you are leaving the country as an OFW for the first time, make sure that you have an OEC prior to booking your plane ticket. You may proceed to POEA directly for inquiries, or look for an agency that could help. Make sure that the agency is legit, visit http://poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/aglist.asp for the list of POEA-accredited agencies.

Where to Find the List of POEA Blacklisted Recruitment Agencies and Illegal Recruiters

POEA just created an online page where the list of blacklisted recruitment agencies and illegal recruiters are published. The list will contain the blacklisted names of:

  • Individual persons and entities
  • Philippine recruitment/manning agencies with the name of its corporate officers, executive officers, and employees, of known;
  • Foreign placement agencies with the name of its corporate officers, executive officers and employees, if known; and
  • Direct Employers.

As of this writing, the site is still on its testing phase, but should be populated with information very soon. To view the list, go to http://tipblacklist.poea.gov.ph/ or click on the image below.


What is the Overseas Filipino Bank or OFB?

The Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) is a policy bank dedicated to provide financial products and services tailored to the requirement of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries.

Per the advisory posted by the Department of Finance on their Facebook page:

“Beginning next year (2018), OFWs and foreign-based Filipinos would be able to make use of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB). The OFB is focused on delivering quality and efficient foreign remittance services to our Filipinos abroad.

The LandBank and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) are also exploring ways of mobilizing the savings of overseas-based Filipinos for them to invest in the country’s capital markets.”

For future updates, you can follow Department of Finance on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DOFPH/

Where can OFWs find OFB officers? They will be deployed in Philippine Embassies with high concentration of overseas Filipinos.

Below are the key features of OFB:

Image courtesy of the Department of Finance Facebook page.