OEC Overseas Employment Certificate (Balik-Manggagawa) Requirements for OFWs

Processing an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), also known as the Balik-Manggagawa (BM) Certificate, is something that all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) need to be familiar with. It is, after all, an important document that Filipinos who wish to leave the country to work—whether as a domestic worker, a medical worker, or a construction worker—need to exit the country.

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a certificate required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), now renamed as the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), to verify that a person has registered as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and is allowed to work overseas. It also serves as a clearance presented at immigration to demonstrate that the person is legally leaving the country. In this guide, we took a closer look at the process of acquiring an OEC, including its process, requirements, and exemption, among others.

What is an OEC?

OEC stands for the Overseas Employment Certificate. It is also known as the Balik-Manggagawa Certificate. The OEC is an important document meant to prove that the bearer is a legal overseas worker. It is also an identification document that doubles as an exit clearance document proving to the immigration office that an aspiring OFW has been certified legal and free to leave the country and work overseas. It is issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and must be kept around at all times.

Though the DMW (formerly POEA) mandates that all OFWs secure an OEC, there are certain exemptions offered to certain divisions of Balik-Manggagawa (BM) workers. Exemptions from paying some fees, including the terminal fee and travel tax at the airport are also some of the benefits that having an OEC entails, allowing the OFWs to lower the total costs associated with finding jobs abroad.

Validity of OEC

All issued OECs are only valid for a single-exit within 60 days. Having said that, a worker may not be allowed to complete their check-in at the airport or even exit the country if they don’t bring it with them at all times and use it within the 60-day mark. Note that an OEC may also be issued at the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) at the NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airport, but this OEC is only valid for one day.

Getting an OEC

If you intend to secure an OEC or a BM Certificate, then here’s what you must prepare to avoid wasting your time: 

  • Check if you are hired by the following employers and if you qualify for a direct hire ban exemption:
    • Foreign Diplomats
    • International Organizations
    • Heads of State and High-ranking Government Officials
    • Officials listed in the first three items with a lower rank who are endorsed by the POLO
    • Employers of Professional and Skilled Workers with Verified or Authenticated Employment Contracts in compliance with standards of POEA
    • Permanent Residents of the Host country who are hiring their family and relatives, except for domestic workers
  • Prepare all the documentary requirements.

What Documents are Needed to get an OEC?

Getting an OEC requires a certain set of documents, depending on the country of destination. We listed the basic documentary requirements and some of the common country-specific requirements:

Basic Document Requirements

  • Printed Online Appointment Information Sheet/Balik-Manggagawa Information Sheet
  • Valid passport (with at least six months of validity from departure date
  • Valid proof of employment or employment contract
  • Valid work visa, work permit, or any equivalent document

Comprehensive Documentary Requirements

If you are either a skilled or professional worker, a low-skilled worker, or a household service worker bound for Canada and the United States, then you will need to submit additional requirements in various phases to secure an OEC:

Phase 1

In this phase, the OFWs who are looking to secure an OEC must submit the following documents to ascertain their skills and qualifications.

Professional and Skilled Workers
  • Company Profile, Business License, or Commercial Registration of the Employer
  • Endorsement Letter from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) addressed to the Administrator seeking exemption from the ban on direct-hiring
Additional Country-Specific Requirements

Depending on what and where you are applying for, the following documents may be required:


  • Labor Market Opinion (LMO)
  • Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Canadian Letter and Employer’s Certificate of Registration from ECON (Province of Saskatchewan Executive Council) or Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) approval


  • Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action

The Middle East and African countries

  • Contingency Plan Issued by the Employer
Other Documents to Support Job Application
  • For self-employed individuals: Certificate of Employment or Business Permit
  • Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • NC II or PRC License
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage covering at least the benefits provided under Section 37-A of RA 8042 as amended;
  • Notarized Statement on how the workers secured the job
  • Photocopy of Employer’s Passport or valid ID 
  • Employer’s Contact Details

Phase 2

During this phase, the OFW needs to prove local labor law compliance by submitting the following documents:

Government Labor-Related Agencies
  • DMW/POEA eRegistration Account
  • Valid Medical Certificate, issued by DOH-accredited medical clinics
  • Medical Exam for OFWs
  • Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar Certificate (PEOS)
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar Certificate (PDOS) issued by OWWA
  • POEA clearance
  • Proof of Certificate of Insurance Coverage

OEC Fees and Charges

Processing the OEC or BM Certificate isn’t exactly free. It comes with the following fees, so you will need to prepare some money to complete the process:

Direct Hires

For direct hires, the OFW will need to shoulder the full cost as follows:

  • POEA Processing Fee – Php 100.00 per e-receipt.
  • OWWA Membership Fee – USD 25.00 (or its peso equivalent ranging frm Php 1,000.00 to Php 1,500.00)
  • Pag-IBIG Contribution – minimum of Php 100.0 per month
  • PhilHealth Contribution – Php 2,400.00 per one-year coverage


Those who were hired through a recruitment agency won’t need to pay anything as the agency usually pays for it and charges the employer as follows: 

  • POEA Processing Fee – Php 200.00
  • OWWA Membership Fee – USD 25.00 (or its equivalent in Philippine peso)
  • PhilHealth-Medicare – Php 900.00 per one-year coverage

Note: For those who were hired via a recruitment agency, the agency may be allowed to charge a placement fee equivalent to the OFW’s one-month salary, except in countries that don’t allow fee collection from workers. In some cases, some agencies even collect much more than that, without issuing receipts.

Who can Apply for OEC?

All OFWs are required to apply for an OEC. As such, the following are the types of people who can process one:

  • Filipino workers who are directly hired by an overseas employer
  • OFWs who are hired through a recruitment agency
  • Individuals hired by the Government Placement Branch (GPB) unit of POEA

Where to Apply for OEC?

Filipino workers who intend to work abroad, especially the new ones, may process their OEC via the following channels:

  • For Walk-in Applications: Via POEA’s main office or at any of their regional offices
  • For Returning OFWs: Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in the country of employment if they are still abroad; at Labor Assistance Counters in Manila, Cebu, or Mindanao airports for OFWs who have been in the Philippines for five days or less.
  • For both departing and returning OFWs: Online, by scheduling an appointment at the preferred venue via the Balik-Manggagawa Online Appointment System at www.bmonline.poea.gov.ph. 

How to Process an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Balik-Manggagawa Certificate

There are different processes of securing an OEC. The processes vary depending on whether you are agency-hired, government-hired, or directly hired, or if you are a returning OFW. Regardless, listed below are the steps you can follow when processing your OEC.

For Agency-Hired OFWs

If you are hired through a recruitment agency, the agency will take charge and help you process your papers and submit them to POEA. The process goes as follows:

  • Your recruitment agency will submit your papers to DMW/POEA and pay the fees required to process your OEC application.
  • The DMW/POEA will issue an e-receipt to confirm the payment of fees and this will serve as your travel exit clearance and guarantee that you are covered by the government’s protection and benefits.
  • The e-receipt issued by the Secretariat to your agency will serve as your OEC of sorts and earn you all the benefits of an OEC when you present it at the POEA Labor Assistance Center (LAC) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) counter at the airport before departure.

For Government-Hired OFWs

OFWs who were hired by the POEA’s Government Placement Branch (GPB) unit are those who are considered government-hired. They are not required to pay placement fees, only the processing and all the other fees. For government-hired OFWs who wish to secure an OEC, here are the steps to follow:

  • Upon receipt of the notice of employment, the OFW must report for the pre-documentation briefing to the:

Recruitment and Documentation Division (RDD)

Government Placement Branch (GPB)

Ground Floor, Philippine Employment Administration (POEA)

Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA

Mandaluyong City

Tel. No. 722-1175; 722-1144; 722-1155

  • Sign the employment offer. 
  • Undergo a medical examination at DoH-accredited medical clinics.
  • If the OFW is deemed medically fit, he/she will need to submit the documentary requirements for processing. If the OFW turns out to be medically unfit, the employment offer will be canceled.
  • Attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) at the Government Placement Branch, 2nd floor.
  • Submit the required visa requirements along with the visa application form. 
  • Pay the necessary visa fee.
  • Upon the release of the visa, pay the following fees for the issuance of OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate):
    • PhilHealth contribution – Balik-Manggagawa Service Area
    • OWWA membership contribution – OWWA Satellite Office, 2nd Floor
    • POEA processing fee – Cash Division, 5th floor
    • Airfare – Travel Center, Balik-Manggagawa Service Area
  • Attend the pre-flight briefing conducted by the GPB Account Officer at the Government Placement Branch, Ground Floor
  • Wait for the release of the travel documents, including:
    • visa
    • passport
    • original employment contract
    • plane ticket

Direct Hires

Before they can leave the country, Filipino workers who are hired directly by foreign employers may secure an OEC by following these two-phase steps:

Phase 1: Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Clearance

  • Request an appointment for between 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM, Mondays to Fridays by sending an email request to the POEA Direct Hire Assistance Division (DHAD) at dhad_lbc@yahoo.com.
  • Print the appointment confirmation and visit the POEA Office on your preferred schedule.
  • Submit the requirements for your direct hire application.
  • Check the POEA website for the approved POEA clearance.

Phase 2: Overseas Employment Certificate

After the approval of your POEA Clearance, return to the POEA Office for the OEC application.

  • Request an appointment for OEC processing through dhad_lbc@yahoo.com. 
  • Wait for the appointment confirmation via email and have it printed out.
  • Go to the POEA Office on your appointment schedule and bring the printed appointment confirmation.
  • Secure a PDOS application and attend the two-hour seminar. 
  • Upon completion, get your PDOS Certificate and ensure that you keep multiple copies.
  • Submit the requirements for the OEC application.
  • Pay for the fees needed for OEC and wait for the receipt.

POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BaM) 

Yet another way of acquiring an OEC is to go online via the new POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BaM), formerly known as Balik-Manggagawa (BM) Online—a web-based facility designed to let OFWs apply for and access their OECs anytime, anywhere. 

To apply for an OEC via the POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BaM), here are the steps to follow:

  • Visit the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System via the link: https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/Public/BMTransfer.aspx.

For new users: 

  • Register for the system by selecting “Let’s Go” under e-Registration. 
  • Click Register.
  • Click “I Accept the Terms of Use”.
  • Please read and accept the “Paalala” (Reminders) carefully.
  • Fill up the form with your personal email along with the following information:
  • Personal details
  • Experience
  • Education 
  • Latest resume/CV
  • Make sure the details are correct before clicking Yes.
  • Screenshot the Account Creation Result, then check your email for the temporary password.
  • Verify your account by logging into your email account and clicking the confirmation link.

Note: There are processing fees you’d need to settle to complete your application. 

For registered users:

  • Log-in as an Already Registered user.
    • Visit oec-eng.com/api/en/user/login 
    • Enter your OEC username and password.
    • Click “Log In.” 
    • Enter your last issued OEC number. 

If no record is found: Set an online appointment at the nearest POEA/POLO BM-OEC service office via the link: https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.

  • On the day of your appointment, bring the following with you:
    • Appointment sheet (2 copies)
    • Employment contract (notarized)
    • Work visa (original plus 2 copies)
    • Philippine passport (original plus 2 copies)
    • US$25.00 OWWA membership fee receipt

If a record is found: Update your Personal Data, Contract Particulars, and Beneficiaries.

  • Click Acquire OEC or Exemption for online assessment. 
  • Enter flight date. 
  • Confirm if the OFW is returning to the same employer and jobsite.
  • You will be redirected to the Appointment Page. 
  • Select your preferred POEA office and schedule for the processing of the OEC and the payment.

How to Apply for OEC Exemption

For some OFWs, it is possible to apply for OEC exemption—and proceed to the airport without getting an OEC. The exemption applies to OFWs who:

  • Have an existing employment visa or work spermit
  • Have served or are still serving their employment contract 
  • Are returning to the same employer, and same job site, and are recorded in the POEA database
  • Are hired by the POEA Government Placement Branch (GPB) provided that the conditions are met

In applying for the exemption, simply follow the steps below:

  • Log in to POEA online portal at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
  • Click My Contracts on your top right-hand side of the page to see if your old records have already been matched to your POPS-BaM account.
  • If your old record is already present on your account, go back to your Dashboard.
  • Click Balik-Manggagawa, then click Next.
  • Enter your Return Flight Date, then click NEXT
  • If you are a returning BM, you will be asked if you are returning to the
    • same employer
    • same jobsite, and 
    • same position
  • Read the message carefully, then click your response to proceed.
    • Click Yes if details are the same based on your latest visa. 
    • Otherwise, click No, then wait to be redirected to the online appointment page. 
  • Update your personal information as needed, then click Submit.
  • Click “Print OEC.”

How to Transfer previous BM Record 

  • Go to https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
  • On POEA Help Desk, click Transfer Old BM Records.
  • Input your information from the old BM System. 
  • Click “Find Record.”
  • Enter your eRegistration Number (can be found above the name in the POPS-BaM Account) 
  • Click “Transfer Record.”
  • Read the content on the confirmation box, then click Yes.

Important Reminders

  • The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is also known as the Balik-Manggagawa (BM) Certificate.
  • OEC serves as an OFW’s exit clearance proving that he/she is legally employed.
  • It is a mandatory document required at the airport and the immigration office.
  • There are multiple ways of applying for an OEC and it varies depending on whether the OFW is agency-hired, direct-hired, or government-hired.
  • OECs are only valid for a single-exit within a 60-day period.
  • OECs with a validity of one day are also available at the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) in NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airports.
  • Returning OFWs may skip the process of getting an OEC by applying for an OEC exemption online.
  • Only one (1) POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BaM) eRegistration account is allowed per OFW.
  • Submitted information such as: Name, Gender, Birthdate, and Email Address cannot be manually changed/ corrected/edited.
  • Request to correct any critical personal information shall be done by filing an electronic ticket under the POEA Help Desk accessible at onlineservices.poea.gov.ph.
  • You will need to set up an appointment to visit the POEA office if you are a returning OFW with previous record but with changes on either the company name or the country of work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For more information about securing an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for OFWs, we rounded up the most common questions and answers to help you out.

1. I forgot my POPS-BaM account password. Can I still retrieve it?

Yes. The account can be retrieved by following these steps:

  • Visit https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
  • On e-Registration, click “Let’s Go.”
  • Click Next.
  • Click “Account Recovery.”
  • Enter your registered email address then click Next.
  • Enter data needed then click Next. 
  • Check your email, then copy the emailed temporary  password, then click “Click Here”. 
  • Set your desired password when prompted.

2. Who are considered as Balik-Manggagawa?

POEA defined the Balik-Manggagawa (BM) workers as either of the following:

  • Worker-on-Leave

These are workers who are on vacation, but are still under an existing contract. This BM is returning to the same employer for the remaining portion of the contract.

  • Rehire 

These refers to OFWs whose contract was completed but was rehired by the same employer.

  • POLO-Registered Worker

These BMs refer to those whose contract was not processed by POEA, but is verified by POLO and is a worker on leave or a rehire.

3.  What are the fees to be paid?

When processing an OEC, these are the things that you will be spending for:

  • POEA processing fee – Php100.00
  • OWWA membership fee – US$25.00 or its peso equivalent (valid for two-year OWWA membership)
  • PhilHealth – Php 900.00 (good for 1 year coverage)
  • Pag-Ibig membership – Php 100 (minimum per month)

4. What is the validity period of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is only valid for single use within a maximum period of 60 days. For OECs secured from the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) in NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airports, the validity is only for one day.

5. What if I lost my Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?

For OFW with POPS-BaM accounts who lost their OEC, they can simply check their online account and reprint it. If they can’t, then they will have to go to the nearest POEA office to submit an Affidavit of Loss and get a travel exit clearance. Unfortunately, a lost OEC means they can no longer enjoy the exemption for a travel tax.

6. I wasn’t able to leave the country before my OEC expired. What should I do?

That’s okay. You may simply get it replaced by submitting your old one and paying a fee of Php 100.00.

7. Who can get an Overseas Employment Certificate exemption?

An OEC exemption is granted to a Balik-Manggagawa (BM) worker who satisfies any of the following conditions:

  • Has an employment visa/work permit
  • Has served or is serving towards the completion of his/her employment contract
  • Returning to the same employer
  • Returning to the same job site
  • Recorded in the POEA Database

8.   What circumstances will disqualify an OFW from an OEC exemption?

A BM worker may not get an OEC exemption request granted if he/she is:

  • Returning to a different employer and/or jobsite
  • Watchlisted worker and/or OFW with a watchlisted employer
  • Going to a non-compliant or restricted country
  • No POEA records or with record discrepancy
  • Undocumented Workers (i.e., Tourist to OFW, Dependent on OFW, Student to OFW, etc.)
  • Shifting from being a sea-based to being a land-based OFW


All OFWs and aspiring OFWs who are planning to work abroad are required to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Balik-Manggagawa (BM) certificate from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), formerly known as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). An OEC is a mandatory document that serves as the exit clearance for OFWs, as it proves that the OFW has legally acquired the job and that he or she has met all the requirements of the job. Not only that, the OEC is also an OFWs passport to free terminal fee and travel tax at the airport. 

An OEC is also fairly easy to secure with all the different options of doing so, depending upon whether the OFW was agency-, direct-, or government-hired. There’s also the new POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BaM) eRegistration which enables OFWs to register, apply, and keep their OEC. There’s also the option to visit any POEA offices or the nearest POLO-OWWA offices, if you are abroad.

Not all Balik-Manggagawa OFWs are required to secure an OEC. Some may apply for an OEC exemption, if they meet the right conditions. In case they don’t, it’s easy enough to secure an OEC, though it’s only valid for single use within a maximum of 60 days. In any case, an OEC is a pretty important document that OFWs need to present at the airport and to the immigration officer. With an OEC, OFWs can enjoy a hassle-free travel experience and can be assured that they are meeting all the legal requirements of their job.

Contact Information

In case you have other concerns or inquiries, you may also reach out to POEA via the following contact information:

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)

Office Address: Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City

Hotlines: 8722-11-44, 8722-11-55

Email Address: info@poea.gov.ph

Website: https://dmw.gov.ph

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