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Guide: How Can Vacationing Domestic Helpers Apply for an OEC?

Are you a domestic helper who’s planning to go back to the Philippines for a vacation? If that’s you, then there are a few things that you need to know first before you get a ticket back home.

Did you know that Filipino domestic helpers working overseas must apply for an overseas employment contract (OEC) first through the Balik-Manggagawa Program before they can go back home in the Philippines? This is one way the government can certify that an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) has been recruited by an authorized agency and has documentation in the POEA. 

Domestic Helper Guide: How Can Vacationing Domestic Helpers from Singapore Apply for an OEC
Credits: POEA

Returning to the Philippines? Apply for an OEC First: Here’s How

Also known as an exit clearance or exit pass, the OEC is an important document that every returning OFW must present to the immigration officer at the airport of exit in the Philippines. A worker who fails to present an OEC may be prevented by the immigration officer from leaving the country.

On the other hand, an OFW who holds an OEC enjoys the following privileges: 

(a) travel tax exemption; 

(b) airport terminal fee exemption; and 

(c) reduced travel tax for spouses or dependents.

According to the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 2019, domestic workers who hold a Work Permit in Singapore and taking a home leave in the Philippines are covered by the guidelines.

How to Apply for an OEC via the Balik-Manggagawa Processing Online System

All returning domestic workers covered by the guidelines are required to set an appointment through the BM Online Processing System (http://www.bmonline.ph) at their preferred date and time with POLO-Singapore for verification/authentication of their employment contracts and/or issuance of OEC.

Domestic helpers applying for an OEC can be categorized as follows: 

  1. Domestic workers with existing record with POEA who are vacationing for the first time in the Philippines and returning to the same employer in Singapore;
  2. Domestic workers with existing record with POEA who changed employers in Singapore; and
  3. Domestic workers with no existing record with POEA

#1 Domestic helpers with existing records with POEA who are vacationing for the first time in the Philippines and returning to the same employer in Singapore must apply for an OEC using the following steps:

Step #1: Register as a New User or log into the BM Online Processing System.

Step #2: Book an appointment to claim your OEC through the Acquire OEC/Exemption Green Tab and select location POLO Asia and branch Singapore. Print out the Appointment Sheet under “My Transactions”, Appointment Tab.

Step #3 Visit the Philippine Embassy in Singapore on your date and time of appointment with the following documents:

  • Printed appointment sheet 
  • Employment contract (must be verified/authenticated by the POLO/ Philippine Embassy in Singapore). But if it is not verified or authenticated yet, you must bring the following documents for verification/authentication of your employment contract:
    • Standard employment contract for household service workers (original and a photocopy). You may download a copy of the Standard Employment Contract for Household Service Workers here;
    • Undertaking of Employer (one original and one photocopy). You may download a copy of the Undertaking of Employer here;
    • Two copies of your valid work permits;
    •  Two copies of your passport (must be valid for at least six [6] months from the date of departure from the Philippines);
    • Two photocopies of any valid ID of your employer;
    • A letter of guarantee for the Seven Thousand Singapore Dollars (SGD 7,000.00) Philippine Embassy Bond from any reputable insurance company in Singapore, which should be valid for two (2) years (one original and one photocopy). Note: The Philippine Embassy bond is different from the MOM bond;

Step #4: As per advice from the OEC processor, print the OEC by logging into the BM Online account under “My Transactions” OEC Tab.

#2 Domestic helpers with existing records with POEA who changed employers while in Singapore must apply using the following steps:

Step #1: Register as a New User or log into the BM Online Processing System.

Step #2: Book an appointment to claim your OEC through the Acquire OEC/Exemption Green Tab and select location POLO Asia and branch Singapore. Print out the Appointment Sheet under “My Transactions”, Appointment Tab.

Step #3 Visit the Philippine Embassy in Singapore on your date and time of appointment with the following documents:

  • Printed appointment sheet 
  • Employment contract (must be verified/authenticated by the POLO/ Philippine Embassy in Singapore). But if it is not verified or authenticated yet, you must bring the following documents for verification/authentication of your employment contract:
    • Standard employment contract for household service workers (original and a photocopy). You may download a copy of the Standard Employment Contract for Household Service Workers here;
    • The Undertaking of Employer (one original and one photocopy). You may download a copy of the Undertaking of Employer here;
    • Two copies of your valid work permits;
    •  Two copies of your passport (must be valid for at least six [6] months from the date of departure from the Philippines);
    • Two photocopies of any valid ID of your employer;
    • A letter of guarantee for the Seven Thousand Singapore Dollars (SGD 7,000.00) Philippine Embassy Bond from any reputable insurance company in Singapore, which should be valid for two (2) years (one original and one photocopy). Note: The Philippine Embassy bond is different from the MOM bond;
  • Sworn Statement of the worker providing an explanation on how she was hired by the current employer.

Step #4: As per advice from the OEC processor, print the OEC by logging into the BM Online account under “My Transactions” OEC Tab.

#3 Domestic helpers without existing records with the POEA:

Domestic helpers without any records with the POEA should have their employment contract verified/authenticated by the Philippine Embassy (Singapore) using the following steps:

Step #1: Register as a New User or log into the BM Online Processing System.

Step #2: Book an appointment to claim your OEC through the Acquire OEC/Exemption Green Tab and select location POLO Asia and branch Singapore. Print out the Appointment Sheet under “My Transactions”, Appointment Tab.

Step #3 Visit the Philippine Embassy in Singapore on your date and time of appointment with the following documents:

  • Printed appointment sheet 
  • Employment contract (must be verified/authenticated by the POLO/ Philippine Embassy in Singapore). But if it is not verified or authenticated yet, you must bring the following documents for verification/authentication of your employment contract:
    • Standard employment contract for household service workers (original and a photocopy). You may download a copy of the Standard Employment Contract for Household Service Workers here;
    • The undertaking of Employer (one original and one photocopy). You may download a copy of the Undertaking of Employer here;
    • Two copies of your valid work permits;
    •  Two copies of your passport (must be valid for at least six [6] months from the date of departure from the Philippines);
    • Two photocopies of any valid ID of your employer;
    • A letter of guarantee for the Seven Thousand Singapore Dollars (SGD 7,000.00) Philippine Embassy Bond from any reputable insurance company in Singapore, which should be valid for two (2) years (one original and one photocopy). Note: The Philippine Embassy bond is different from the MOM bond;

Step #4: Visit the nearest POEA office upon return/vacation in the Philippines and present the following documents for issuance of OEC:

  • Verified/authenticated employment contract; and
  • Sworn Statement of the worker providing an explanation of how she was hired by the current employer.

What are the Fees to Pay?

The following are only to be paid in cash at Embassy upon submission of the complete requirements:

1. OEC Processing: SG$3.00

2. Contract Verification: SG$17.00

3. Contract Authentication: SG$42.50

4. OWWA Membership: SG$36.00

5. Expedite Authentication: SG$17.00*

*The expedite authentication is only for emergency cases such as death or medical emergency of a family member in the Philippines. 

Thanks to the Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been spared from the hassle and trouble of obtaining an overseas employment certificate from the POEA. Aside from the above benefits, OFWs also get to enjoy discounts and exemptions from travel and airport terminal fees. 

If you have any questions and concerns about Balik Manggagawa, contact the POEA by calling the hotline numbers 722-11-44 and 722-11-55, or email them at info@poea.gov.ph.

Conclusion

OFWs need to comply with the requirements of the POEA through the BM Online System to maximize all the benefits and perks offered to all overseas Filipino workers and to ensure their safety and welfare abroad. 

Several years ago, the process of getting an OEC was entirely different and more tedious than it is now. And with that, it’s best that we all familiarize ourselves with the new online platform developed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in partnership with the Philippine Embassies and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices for convenience and ease of processing.   

Are you planning to go back to the Philippines anytime soon? Have you experienced applying for an OEC through the BM Online Processing System? How was your experience? Do you have any tips or reminders that you would like to share with our kabayan all over the world? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!

We hope you have a well-spent vacation with your families back home! Happy and safe travels!

ALSO READ: Applying as a Domestic Helper in Singapore: Direct Hire vs. Walk-in Applications