Update: POEA resumes processing of OECs, as of December 4, 2017.
However, of November 2016, direct hiring of Filipino workers by a foreign employer is no longer allowed by the Philippine Government. You will need to seek the assistance of a POEA-accredited agency to process your Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC, unless you qualify under the below exemptions. Per the advisory released by POEA:
“POEA officer-in-charge Aristodes R. Ruaro said that effective November 3, 2016, the POEA is strictly observing the full implementation of the policy on direct hires as mandated by the 2016 Revised Rules and Regulations on the Recruitment and Employment of OFWs as follows:
SECTION 123. Ban on Direct Hires. – No employer shall directly hire an Overseas Filipino Worker for overseas employment.
SECTION 124. Exemption from the Ban on Direct Hiring. – The following are exempted from the ban on direct hiring:
a. Members of the diplomatic corps;
b. International organizations;
c. Heads of state and government officials with the rank of at least deputy minister; or
d. Other employers as may be allowed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, such as:
1. Those provided in (a), (b) and (c) who bear a lesser rank, if endorsed by the POLO, or Head of Mission in the absence of the POLO;
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;
3. Workers hired by a relative/family member who is a permanent resident of the host country.”
This means that if you do not qualify under any of the above conditions, you may need to seek the assistance of an agency to process your Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC. This way, the employment will no longer be technically considered as direct-hiring since it will go through an agency.
Bring your complete documents to an agency so that they can discuss the process with you. Depending on the circumstances of your application, the processing may take as short as two weeks, or up to three months.
Make sure that the agency is accredited. For the complete list of POEA-certified agencies, visit http://poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/aglist.asp.