This is a terrific news for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) everywhere.
In a memorandum circular approved recently, we learn that OFWs returning to their jobs or employers abroad are now exempted from paying travel tax and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) processing fee. Additionally, they will no longer be required to secure overseas employment certificate (OEC) anymore.
Naturally, this development has been well-received by OFWs scattered across the globe. This means lesser expenses and shorter process on their part in the event that they need to return to their respective jobs and employers.
Along with that, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has also mentioned that Filipino household service workers (HSWs) and other OFWs can look forward to better protection regarding their rights and welfare because the International Labor Organization has officially adopted the Fair Recruitment Principles and Operational Guidelines during the Tripartite Meeting of Experts held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Balik Manggagawa (BM) or returning workers’ group has been clamoring for the government to improve the processing of their OECs or exit clearances for a long time, the POEA said. OFWs returning abroad are mandated to obtain OECs before their departure.
Now workers who would be going back to the same employer could take advantage of tools available online. They could register and update their personal and employment information with the POEA. After submitting data to the POEA, the information will then be forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for the use of BI officers as reference. This will be utilized in determining if the BM member is really exempted as per his or her departure time.
Of course, BM members should present valid work visa or employment contract so they could take advantage of the exemption from terminal fee and travel tax, according to the POEA.