What is OWWA? Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

Even for those who are working abroad, the Philippine government takes the initiative to ensure that its people are living well, with the help of its agencies. In this article, we looked into one of the government agencies in charge of protecting and promoting the welfare of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families—the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) intended to oversee the well-being of all OFWs and their eligible dependents. For 45 years, OWWA has been delivering useful welfare services and benefits to its members while ensuring the continuity and viability of funds for its projects. To date, OWWA has established its presence, creating offices in over 31 overseas posts in 27 countries as well as in all seventeen (17) OWWA regional welfare offices in the Philippines.

What is OWWA Philippines?

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, commonly known as OWWA, is a membership institution managed by the government. It was established in May 1977 by former President Ferdinand Marcos and was formerly known as Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers. Since its creation, OWWA has been taking care of the OFWs and their dependents under the supervision of DOLE. To date, it has set up about 31 overseas offices across 27 different countries, along with regional and satellite offices scattered across all 17 regions. It is managed by a Board of Trustees, along with an Administrator and Deputy Administrator.

As an agency, OWWA has launched programs to educate OFWs about jobs abroad, assist distressed OFWs, teach returning OFWs about entrepreneurship, and help reintegrate them into society by helping them start their own businesses or expand what they have already started. OWWA also offers training and financial assistance for both member OFWs and their dependents’ education so that they’ll have better lives upon their return to the country.

OWWA Mission, Vision, Mandate, and Functions

As an agency, OWWA is responsible for ensuring that the OFWs are in good hands by equipping them with the basic skills and knowledge that they need to deal with whatever employment concerns they may have. As they offer assistance to OFWs until they get back, OWWA operates under the guidance of the following vision, mission, mandate, and functions. 


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is a national government agency created with the purpose of developing and implementing welfare programs and services that will address the needs of its member OFWs and their families using its trust fund, the OWWA Fund.


For its mission, OWWA intended to have more effective programs and services by 2023 in order to protect the rights and interests of its member OFWs.


As far as representative power is concerned, OWWA is granted the power to oversee the delivery of welfare services and benefits to its member OFWs and to ensure capital build-up and fund viability for the agency.


As OWWA keeps up with its mandate by virtue of the Republic Act No. 10801, OWWA is granted the power to exercise the following functions:

  • To protect and promote the interest and well-being of their member OFWs in all phases of employment
  • To recognize the OFW contributions towards overall national development
  • To facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the labor code governing the well-being of OFWs
  • To provide social and welfare programs to OFWs in the form of training, financial, and cultural services
  • To offer timely response to global emergencies and critical situations that the OFWs or their dependents may face
  • To ensure that the OWWA Fund will remain viable and sustainable through transparent policies
  • To undertake studies and research that will improve the social, economic, and cultural well-being of OWWA member OFWs and their families;
  • To develop, support, and finance projects that support the welfare of OWWA member OFWs and their families; and
  • To ensure that all the laws are implemented and all conventions within its jurisdiction are ratified.

How is OWWA Funded?

These functions and mandates are carried out by OWWA using the OWWA fund—a single trust fund pooled from the $25 membership contributions. In addition, the agency also gets part of its funding from interest income, investment income, and other sources.

OWWA Programs and Services: What does OWWA do?

OWWA has several programs meant to serve, safeguard, and protect the rights and well-being of all OFWs and their dependents in all stages of migration and beyond. Whether it’s giving information or guidance to OFWs before they go, while they are abroad, and when they return to the country or offering psycho-social counseling and conciliation services, outreach programs, legal assistance, and training, every OWWA office, be it regional or overseas, works to bring the following programs and services closer to their intended beneficiaries. 

Here are some of the programs and services offered by OWWA to OFWs:

  • Social Benefits
  • Disability and Dismemberment
  • Supplementary Medical Assistance (MEDplus)
  • Death and Burial
  • Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)
  • Education and Training
  • Scholarship for Dependents
  • Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
  • OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP)
  • Education and Livelihood Assistance Program for the Dependents of Deceased OFW Members (ELAP)
  • Short-Term Training Programs for OFWs & Dependents
  • Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
  • Information Technology (IT) Training Program
  • Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP)
  • Repatriation Assistance Program
  • Reintegration
  • Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program
  • Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong – PUSO)
  • Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP)
  • e-Services
  • OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS)
  • OFW e-CARD Application
  • OWWA Rebate Portal
  • OFW e-CARD Tracker
  • OWWA Mobile App
  • Special Projects
  • Tertiary Education Subsidy for Dependents of Repatriated OFWs (Tabang OFW)
  • OWWA Rebate Program
  • Educational Assistance by Scholarship in Emergencies (Project EASE)
  • Tuloy-Aral Project (TAP)

Benefits of Being an OWWA Member

More than the programs and services offered by the OWWA, the following member-exclusive benefits are things that OFWs can avail of for simply being an OWWA member:


Before even leaving the country as an OFW, OWWA takes it upon itself to educate and prepare the Filipinos who are bound for abroad by putting them through basic language training and pre-departure orientation seminars that will tell them everything they need to know about working in their destination countries.

On-site and upon arrival abroad

OWWA assists and protects the OFWs as they face problems and concerns with their employment, thanks to the social, financial, cultural, and educational benefits afforded by the following programs and services in place:

  • Death and burial benefit

The death benefit gives Php 100,000.00 to OFWs who die of natural causes and Php 200,000.00 due to an accident. The burial benefit leaves the legal heirs of the OFW with Php 20,000.00 for the funeral expenses.

  • Disability and dismemberment benefit

Disability and dismemberment benefit entitles OFWs to Php 50,000.00 for partial disability and Php 100,000.00 for total permanent disability.

  • Educational and financial benefits

Other OWWA programs offer benefits that allow OFWs and their child dependents to receive cash aid to support their education, training, and skill improvement to improve their lives. Some of the programs offering these benefits include Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP), and Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP), among others.

Upon returning from abroad

Even during and after the OFWs have served their time abroad, OWWA continues to offer benefits that are meant to sustain their livelihood via training, seminars, and programs to help them reintegrate back into the society. Such programs include:

  • OWWA Repatriation Program

Under the repatriation program OFWs avail benefits related to airport assistance, provision for traveling back home, and even temporary shelter in between via the OWWA Halfway House.

  • OWWA Reintegration Program

Other than the social and repatriation programs, OFWs also benefit from the reintegration program—an OWWA initiative meant to help returning OFWs rejoin society through training, job referrals, business counseling, and networking. There’s also cash aid made available through programs like Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program, Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP), and Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO).

How to become an OWWA Member?

Becoming an OWWA member is an easy process, but like any other membership application, it comes with qualifying criteria and documentary requirements. There’s also a specific process for application, regardless if you are doing so via the nearest POLO-OWWA office abroad, the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office, the new OWWA mobile app, or online. 

Qualification of being an OWWA Member

To avail of the above-mentioned programs and benefits, one needs to be an OWWA member. To become one, an OFW or a would-be OFW would need to satisfy the following conditions: 

  • OFWs with valid overseas employment contracts (OEC) processed at the DMW (formerly POEA)
  • OFWs with valid work permits and visa
  • OFWs who have acquired regular/permanent residency status in their host country, yet have remained Filipino citizens

Requirements to become an OWWA Member

OFWs or would-be OFWs need to prepare the following documentary requirements for submission if they are interested in becoming OWWA members and availing of the above-mentioned programs and benefits:

  • Duly accomplished OFW Membership Form
  • Valid employment contract or any proof of active employment (e.g. certificate of employment, latest payslip)
  • Valid work pass (Work Permit, S-Pass, Employment Pass)
  • Copy of bio page of passport
  • Any other proof of employment as may be required to validate the OFW’s continued presence and employment abroad (e.g. Re-entry permit or Letter of Consent from MOM)
  • OWWA OFW Information Sheet – available for download and printing of the information sheet from OWWA website (www.owwa.gov.ph)
  • Copy of Passport (emphasis on the data page with photo)
  • Membership Fee ($25 or Php 1,000.00 to Php 1,500.00, depending on the foreign currency equivalent of the destination country)

OWWA Membership Application Procedures

Though OWWA membership can be acquired either by compulsory registration upon processing of employment contracts of OFWs at the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) (formerly POEA), via voluntary registration of OFWs at job sites, or through electronic registration, there are OWWA membership application procedures that you need to follow. 

In this section, we created a step-by-step guide to applying for and activating your OWWA membership through the various available channels:

Walk-in (whether at the POLO Office or via the OWWA RWO)

  • Prepare the requirements needed for OWWA Membership
  • Secure an appointment to the nearest POLO or OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO): 
  • Use the appointment scheduler available on the OWWA website (appointment.owwa.gov.ph).
  • Use the appointment scheduler on the OWWA Mobile App.
  • On the selected date of the appointment, visit the selected POLO, OWWA RWO, or One Stop Shop kiosks that are closest to you.
  • Present the required documents at the officer-in-charge. 
  • Follow all of the officer’s guidance in applying for your Overseas Workers Welfare Association Membership.
  • Pay the applicable fee and wait for the Official Receipt issued by the office. 
  • The membership shall be immediately effective after payment and will remain active for two years.


  • Prepare the required documents for your OWWA membership application.
  • Visit the designated OWWA website for your destination country.
  • Look for the email where you are required to send your requirements.
  • Pay the applicable OWWA membership fee through given payment methods.
  • Wait for the official receipt for the membership fee which will be sent to you via email and your two-year membership will be effective immediately after the payment has been posted. 

How much does an OWWA membership cost?

The OWWA membership contribution fee is fixed at Twenty-Five US Dollars (US$25.00). It may appear differently, though, as some pages post its equivalent in the prevailing foreign exchange rates, which is usually what takes effect upon payment of membership contribution. OFWs in Singapore, for example, costs thirty-six Singaporean dollars (SG$36.00) which is the equivalent amount of the US$25.00 OWWA membership contribution.

When does the membership become effective?

The membership becomes effective immediately upon the payment of contributions posted. It will be terminated when the employment contract of the OFW expires. The membership fee covers two years and it is renewable immediately after that.

How long is the OWWA membership valid? 

The validity of the OWWA membership for each contribution is fixed at two (2) years, regardless of contract duration, change of employer, employment position and status, job site, or recruitment agency. Each OWWA membership is renewable every two years as well, provided that the OFW can provide proof of active employment.

How to Verify your OWWA Membership 

If you so desire, your OWWA membership can be easily checked and verified. You can also easily check the status of your account through the following options:

Via the OWWA Membership Slip

To verify your OWWA membership status, you may simply check the receipt of your OWWA certificate. Simply check the date on your OWWA receipt and count. If the date is already beyond two years, it means your OWWA membership is already inactive and that you need to renew it. Remember, OWWA memberships are only valid for two years.

Via the OWWA Mobile App

Another option for verifying your OWWA membership is to do it via the mobile app. To do so, simply follow these steps:

  • Install the OWWA Mobile Application (via Google Play for Android users and via the App Store for iOs users)
  • Log in with your username and password. 
  • If you do not have OWWA membership login details, sign up in the mobile application.
  • Click the Information tab.
  • Under your Information tab, there will be an indication if you are an active or an inactive member.

Video: Introducing OWWA

Watch Yodi Insigne’s Youtube video featuring the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) and former OWWA Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson in this video below:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is OWWA?

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and a member institution. It is the primary governing body in charge of protecting and safeguarding the welfare of OFWs in all stages of migration. As an agency, OWWA implements programs and offers services like livelihood training and financial assistance toward this end goal

OWWA focuses on the welfare of the OFWs and their families.  It is present in all three stages of migration: pre-departure, on-site, and upon arrival. Before the first-time workers leave, OWWA educates them on the realities of overseas work.  They also undergo basic language training.  Abroad, OWWA assists the OFWs whenever they encounter concerns with their employers.  Finally, when the OFW is back, OWWA is ready with its livelihood training and programs for the OFWs’ reintegration.

2. What are the benefits of becoming an OWWA member?

OFWs who are also active OWWA members are entitled to numerous benefits. They are eligible to avail all the OWWA Social Benefits, Education & Training, Repatriation and Reintegration Services and Programs. They are also entitled to all the special programs being implemented by the agency.

3. When should I renew my OWWA membership?

Every membership contribution fee paid translates to an OWWA membership validity for two (2) years, regardless of contract duration, change of employer, job site, or recruitment agency. Thereafter, OWWA membership should be renewed every two (2) years, and it requires proof of active employment.

4. How do I renew my OWWA membership?

OWWA membership can be renewed through either of the following:

  • OWWA Mobile App
  • POLO
  • OWWA Regional Welfare Offices (RWOs) 
  • One-Stop Shop kiosks in the Philippines

5. What are the requirements for OWWA membership renewal?

  • Personal Appearance
  • OFW Info sheet
  • Copy of Valid Philippine Passport
  • if Dual citizen – also submit Oath of Allegiance
  • Copy of Work or Residence Permit
  • Proof of Employment
  • Malta – Copy of POLO verified Contract and Latest Payslip
  • Italy – Copy of latest INPS premium payment, latest Payslip (Busta Paga)
  • For new members – Copy of Valid Overseas Employment Contract (OEC)

6. Is OWWA Membership Mandatory?

Yes, OWWA membership is mandatory for all OFWs as it serves as a form of insurance, especially when OFWs need assistance. It is renewable every two (2) years, provided that you have an active contract and can pay the OWWA membership fee equivalent to 25 USD.

7. How to set up an appointment with OWWA? 

Scheduling an appointment with OWWA can be done in various ways. You can do it via the website, via email, or via call or text. To do so, simply follow these steps:

Via the OWWA Website

  • Open the appointment booking page.
  • Click Next then select the preferred OWWA office and Workers Assistance as the program type.
  • Choose your preferred date and time.
  • Fill in all of your personal information.
  • Verify the date and time of your appointment.
  • On the day of your appointment, visit the preferred OWWA office, then wait for your turn at the queue as you enter.
  • Take your completed documents to the designated OWWA counter.
  • Pay the OWWA membership fee.

Via Email

  • Send your full name, address, phone number, and the service you’re considering to your preferred OWWA Office via email.
  • Wait for the confirmation of your appointment.
  • On the day of your appointment, visit the preferred OWWA office, then wait for your turn at the queue as you enter.
  • Take your completed documents to the designated OWWA counter.
  • Pay the OWWA membership fee.

Via Call/Text

  • Make an appointment by calling or texting the preferred OWWA Office.
  • Confirm your appointment with the OWWA office before going.

8. What is the OWWA Mobile App?

The OWWA Mobile App is yet another attempt by OWWA to bring their services closer to their target beneficiaries, the OFWs and their dependents. Through the OWWA Mobile App, OWWA members can:

  • Access OWWA profile
  • Check your latest employment contract
  • Verify the status of OWWA membership
  • Renew OWWA membership
  • Pay for OWWA membership fee
  • Access your transaction history
  • Check FAQs and Important OWWA details and contact information.
  • View your passport.

9. How to register for the OWWA Mobile App?

To register for an account via the OWWA Mobile app, simply follow these steps:

  • Install the OWWA Mobile Application (Via Google Play for Android users and via App Store for iOs Users). 
  • Once you have the app installed, the main page will show you four major options: Login, Renew Membership, Hotlines, and Programs and Services.
  • Register for a new account or log into your existing OWWA account. 
  • Select Login and input your username and password, if you’re already registered. 
  • If you are not yet registered, click “Don’t have an account? Sign up here.” 
  • Key in the required information on the registration form. 
  • Once you have filled up and verified the information you have entered, tap “Register”. 
  • You will receive a notification confirming this, and your login credentials will be sent to you via email.
  • Once you receive your login credentials from the email, return to the OWWA app and use them to log in to your account.

10. How to download the OWWA Mobile App?

Android users can simply search for “OWWA Mobile App” on Google Play or download the app via this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.owwa&hl=en&gl=US. iOS users, on the other hand, may search for “OWWA App” on Apple Store or download the app via this link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/owwa-app/id1437249504.

11. What is POLO-OWWA?

POLO stands for Philippine Overseas Labor Office. The POLO-OWWA Office is a dedicated office where you can inquire about OWWA programs while overseas.


OWWA has been around for 45 years, and to this date, it has remained strong and able to withstand the test of time while keeping up with its mandate to serve and protect all OFWs and their dependents. The programs and services that OWWA offers remain relevant and helpful to the intended beneficiaries as well. 

Even as it established more offices in and out of the country, OWWA continues to work on bringing its services closer to the people, by finding ways to innovate and improve their program delivery service.

Contact Information

In the event that you have questions or concerns and need to reach out to OWWA, you may contact their customer service hotline, OWWA Cares.

OWWA Cares

OWWA Cares Hotline: 1348 (for Metro Manila), (02) 1348 for outside Metro Manila, 0632-1348 for those overseas / international calls

Other ways to reach OWWA include reaching out to the OWWA Main Office via the following contact information:

Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA)

Office Address: F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila

Tel. No.: 8891-7601 to 24

OWWA hotline number: 1348, (02) 1348 (Regional), (+632) 1348 (International) 

OWWA Email Address: owwacares@owwa.gov.ph, commandcenter@dole.gov.ph

OWWA Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/OWWAofficial

OWWA Website: https://owwa.gov.ph/

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