What is POEA? Philippine Overseas Employment Administration

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency in the Philippine executive department created to promote and monitor the development of Filipino human resources overseas. It is managed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and was created to offer services including provisions for employment opportunities, placement assistance, training, and follow-up services for both employers and employees in various overseas locations.

Also Read: POEA E Registration DMW eReg Online Login Portal 

Since its creation 40 years ago, the POEA as an agency has been carrying out numerous functions related to its mandate. It also consolidated the responsibilities of a few other agencies through the years—from the combination of the functions of the Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB), the National Seamen Board (NSB), and the Bureau of Employment Service (BES) to the integration of the services of seven different offices into a single Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). As an executive agency, the POEA has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of coverage, functions, and core responsibilities. So, in this article, we summed up all these details along with the goals and services that the POEA offers.  

What is POEA

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It was designed to provide various employment opportunities for Filipinos worldwide. Its sole purpose: To promote, strengthen, and regulate the Philippine government’s overseas employment and worker protection programs for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). 

As more Filipinos continue to seek new opportunities in foreign countries resulting in increased international revenues, the Philippine government deemed it necessary to protect the overseas workforce, which is the main reason for the existence of POEA. As a regulating body, it serves as the go-to agency essential in checking for illegal recruiters. Not only does it help candidates avoid becoming a victim of illegal recruitment, it also ensures that aspiring OFWs leave the country with proper documentation and ample protection while working abroad.

POEA Mandate 

As a government agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is mandated by the law to manage the Philippines’ overseas employment development and regulatory programs.

History and Legal Basis

POEA’s story started on May 1, 1982, when Executive Order (EO) No. 797 merged the functions of three different departments—Overseas Employment Development Board, the National Seamen Board, and the Bureau of Employment Services—into one. In 1987, EO No. 247 enhanced the scope of functions and power that the POEA holds to improve its efficacy as a department. By 1995, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (RA No. 8042) further improved the policies concerning the OFWs such that their families and dependents are equally protected. The POEA’s regulatory functions were also strengthened in 2007, thanks to the provisions of the Republic Act No. 9422. It wasn’t until 2021 when the Republic Act. No. 11641 reorganized the department along with seven others, creating the Department of Migrant Workers, and elevating POEA as the executive department that it is now. 

The reorganization merged the following offices into a single Department of Migrant Workers (DMW): 

  • Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
  • Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
  • Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
  • International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB)
  • National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) 
  • National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) of the DOLE. 
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration from DOLE (attached agency)

POEA Mission

POEA defines its core objectives as a premiere governing agency in charge of protection and reintegration of OFWs in Philippine society. To achieve these objectives, POEA strives to connect the world by forging partnerships with all stakeholders, resulting in generation and preservation of decent employment opportunities for migrant Filipino workers. 

POEA Vision

The agency desires for excellent governance to produce world-class Filipino migrant workers for overseas deployment.

Core Functions and Responsibilities

The core functions and associated responsibilities of POEA include:

  • Industry Regulation

As an agency, POEA is in charge of setting up labor standards, issuing licenses to engage, operate, and man overseas recruitment agencies and ship manning companies, monitoring job vacancies, and implementing incentives and penalty systems. Along with these, the POEA also hears, ajudicates,  arbitrates, and imposes penalties on cases involving the non-monetary violations committed by the agencies and the rest of the stakeholders.

  • Employment Facilitation

POEA is also tasked with employment facilitation, which includes registration, accreditation, and approval of foreign principals and employers, creation and maintenance of workers’ registry, processing and evaluation of contracts, dispatch of technical marketing missions, strengthening of linkages with education and training sector, enforcement of policy on skills competencies deployment of workers, and formation of intercountry linkage via coordination with host governments.

  • Worker’s Protection

In an effort to protect the Filipino workers, POEA also offers educational training, anti-illegal recruitment, pre-employment, and pre-deployment orientation-seminars. They also offer preventive and remedial technical and legal assistance where needed, as well as on-site gender-sensitive programs, business and organizational networks, and repatriation assistance.

  • General Administration and Support Services

POEA also offers general administration and support services including Human Resources development, Property and Supplies Management, Financial Management, Information and Communication Technology, Plans and Policy development, and Quality Management Systems in relation to overseas employment development and regulation.

Quality Statement

As an agency, POEA abides by the following quality statements in carrying out its mandate to serve the Filipino people:

  • Providing effective and efficient services.
  • Operating within the requirement and standards governing overseas employment
  • Empowering our human resources
  • Assuring continual improvement using ISO 9001:2015

Common Services Available at the POEA Office

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) offers services categorized as OFW services and Licensed Recruitment Agency (LRA) services. 

Here are some of them:

OFW Services

  • Registration of Land Based Applicants

This is the mandatory registration required from all land based applicants for overseas employment, facilitated by POEA.

  • Registration of Seafarers

This mandatory online registry is made available by POEA to all Filipino seafarers in lieu of the Seafarers Registration Certificates (SRC).

  • Documentation of Direct Hire Professionals and Skilled Workers

This refers to the verification and documentation of professional workers being directly hired in the Philippines.

  • Documentation of Direct Hire Household Service Workers

This refers to the verification and documentation of household service workers (HSWs) being directly hired in the Philippines.

  • Documentation of Government Hired Workers

This refers to the verification and documentation of government-hired workers being directly hired in the Philippines.

  • Documentation of Workers-On-Leave (Balik-Manggagawa)

Balik Manggagawa or returning workers are OFWs who have finished their employment contract and wish to return to work with the same employer. They need their documents in order and this process is facilitated at POEA.

  • Verification/ Certification of OFW Records

POEA is also in-charge of the verification and certification of OFW Records, including the authentication of copies generated from actual records, digital image and/or computer-generated records from the DMW (formerly POEA) database.

  • Verification of License of Agencies and Job orders

The Verification of an agency’s License and Job Orders are online services offered by the POEA to ensure that the agency is legitimate and the job offer and the job order you’re getting is approved and available.

  • Legal Assistance

POEA also offers legal support to its patrons in the event that the need for one arises. Along with this, they offer consultation, authentication, and evaluation services related to employment contracts and the employment terms itself.

  • Filing/Docketing of Cases

Victims of illegal recruitment and related cases may also file or docket a report directly with POEA.

LRA Services

  • Issuance of New License of Recruitment Agencies

POEA is also tasked with issuing new licenses including provisional licenses with a limited validity period of two (2) years.

  • Renewal of License of Recruitment Agencies

The POEA also manages the renewal of the provisional licenses issued to the recruitment agencies.

  • Registration/ Accreditation of Land Based Principals/ Employers

The registration and accreditation of authority to a foreign employer /principal to recruit and to hire land based Filipino workers through a licensed recruitment agency also go through the POEA.

  • Registration/ Accreditation of Seabased Principals/ Employers and Enrollment of Ships

The registration and accreditation of authority to a foreign employer /principal to recruit and to hire sea based Filipino workers through a licensed recruitment agency also go through the POEA.

  • Documentation of Landbased Agency-Hired Workers

This refers to the verification of the documentation of land-based workers hired via licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines.

  • Documentation of Agency-Hired Seafarers

This refers to the verification of the documentation of sea-based workers hired via licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines.

  • Issuance of Job Fair Authority (JFA)

POEA also regulates the issuance of the authority to conduct Job Fair.

  • Issuance of Special Recruitment Authority (SRA) and Letter of Acknowledgment (LOA)

The Special Recruitment Authority (SRA) and the Letter of Authority (LOA) are special recruitment documents given to licensed agencies by the POEA so they can engage in recruitment activities in the Philippines.

Online Services

They also offer the following services online, via the website:

  • Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System – Overseas Employment Certificate
  • Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS)
  • Registration for Seafarers
  • Verification of Status of Recruitment Agencies
  • OFW Record Online Appointment
  • Manpower Registry (e-Registration)
  • Verification of Agency’s Job Orders
  • SRA/LOA Online Application System
  • Adjudication Cases Monitor

Video: POEA Government Agency Services Guide

If you want to learn more about POEA, you may check out this video about the agency’s programs and services, posted by the Department of Labor and Employment-IPS YouTube channel:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about the POEA agency:

1. What is POEA?

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is the government agency in charge of overseeing and regulating international recruitment agencies in the Philippines to ensure that all employment opportunities offered to Filipino workers in other countries are legitimate. Their main goal is to ensure the protection and well-being of all candidates, particularly the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), from illegal recruiters and abusive employers by creating and enforcing regulatory policies that promote the best interests of the migrant workers..

2. What are the benefits of POEA?

POEA offers services meant to help safeguard and protect the well-being of OFWs and aspiring OFWs. The agency itself ensures that OFWs obtain legal workabroad status by making sure they get the correct papers before leaving the country to work. POEA also connects the stakeholder to the world by facilitating the generation and preservation of decent overseas jobs for Filipino migrant workers and advocating for their smooth integration in the workplace and seamless reintegration into Philippine society when they return.

3. What is the purpose of POEA?

POEA is a government agency in the Philippines created solely to foster global organization by assisting in the creation and preservation of quality jobs for migrant Filipino workers. It was also tasked with the regulation of recruitment agencies and their activities as well as the OFW protection and easy reintegration into Philippine society.

4. Are POEA and OWWA the same?

No. POEA is where recruitment, employment, deployment, and evaluation of employment contracts are processed. Once the contracts are processed, this is the time that an OFW becomes a mandatory member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA). Though both have something to do with the protection of OFWs, OWWA is a membership agency that also offers benefits and programs to the OFW dependents in exchange for a US$25 two-year membership fee.

5. How does the POEA help and protect OFWs?

Unlike OWWA which is mostly about protection and support of the OFWs in times of emergency or other needs, POEA’s protection is mostly preventive. POEA  ensures that OFWs will not fall victim to illegal recruiters and unfavorable employment contracts through the enforcement of regulatory policies.

6. Is it possible for me to apply for or avail multiple POEA programs and services?

Yes, it is possible to apply for and avail multiple POEA programs and services, provided that the program doesn’t restrict availability to a single service or program.

7. Does POEA assist OFWs?

Yes. POEA offers assistance to OFWs via the programs offered by its attached agency, the OWWA. Through OWWA, the agency provides a variety of services and benefits that OFWs can take advantage of in different types of situations.

8. What is the process for applying for jobs at POEA?

To apply for jobs with POEA, you may check and visit the POEA website or their offices closest to you.

9. What is the POEA e-Registration for?

The POEA e-Registration System records information of workers who work or plan to work overseas. The registration is done online, through an online platform managed by POEA. It is essential to getting a job overseas and is mandated by the Philippine government as a requirement for all OFWs prior to their exit. Upon registration, applicants will receive a registration number which will be necessary when they apply for an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

10. Can I work abroad without an OEC?

No. As per the implementing rules and regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are required to successfully secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) when departing for, or returning to their work overseas. Otherwise, they may be prevented from leaving the country. The OEC is a document that provides evidence that the Philippines government is allowing the Filipino worker to migrate, so without which, the Filipino worker will not be allowed to leave the Philippines.


POEA is the premiere government agency in charge of overseeing and regulating all recruitment agencies and their activities in the Philippines. As an agency, POEA’s protection guarantees that all employment opportunities offered to Filipinos who wish to work in foreign countries are legitimate. Their principal goal is to safeguard all candidates and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and help them avoid falling victim to illegal recruiters and employers through the policies they enforce.

POEA, as an agency, dates back to 1982. It’s creation started as a merging of the functions of three different departments. It has since evolved until its most recent reorganization resulted in the integration of seven different agencies which created the new and specialized Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Regardless of how the agency evolved, the mandate remains the same: To develop the country’s overseas manpower while protecting the workers through creation of policies that regulate recruitment activities and licensing and operation of recruitment firms.  

Contact Information

In case you have questions or concerns regarding POEA or its programs and services, please feel free to contact them at:

POEA Main Office
Office Address: Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue, corner Epifanio de los Santos Ave, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Telephone Number: 8-722-11-44 / 8-722-11-55
E-mail address: connect@poea.gov.ph
POEA Website: www.poea.gov.ph
POEA Facebook Page: facebook.com/poea.gov.ph
POEA Twitter: https://twitter.com/poeanews

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