Monday, January 9, 2017

OFWs: OEC Exemption for Overseas Filipino Workers

Note: This is not going to be a detailed post on how to get an OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) from POEA. This is an update regarding POEA's online processing system called "Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System."

In preparation for my year-end vacation to the Philippines, I logged in to bmonline.ph to process my OEC in advance. I didn't have to change anything, really, so when I submitted the form, instead of my electronic OEC, I got an "exemption number," which looks like this:

OEC Exemption

When are you exempted?


If your overseas employment details (hiring company, job site, etc.) haven't changed from the last time you acquired your OEC, then you are exempted from getting another one- which actually makes sense and makes everything less complicated.

According to the POEA website, you may also be exempted if you were deployed through GPB (Government Placement Branch).

What should I do with the exemption number?


In my case, I just took a screenshot of my number, just like in the photo above and saved it on my phone. You can also print it out if you're more comfortable with paper-based documents. At the airport, just like what is stated in the picture, check-in directly and present your number (I just showed them the photo on my phone). And that's probably the only time you would ever need it.

Additional Tips:

Just a precautionary measure, bring with you a copy of any of the following documents showing your hiring company and job site:
1. Residence card (if you work in Japan, you should have this)
2. Employment Certificate
3. Current Payslip
4. Employee ID
5. Employment Contract

I brought with me my residence card and my employment certificate but they only checked the residence card.

Travel Tax and Terminal Fee Exemption


If you're an OFW, you are exempted from paying the travel tax and terminal fee. In case you have already paid, you may present your exemption number and any proof of overseas employment (employment certificate, employment ID, residence card for Japan workers, etc.) at the appropriate airline counters to get a refund.

When I checked in at Manila for my international flight, I was told that the ticket I purchased included the terminal fee and I could get it refunded if I go to the MIAA counter (beside counter 72). I went there, showed my boarding pass and I was given a printed copy of my ticket payment, which I was to present at the refund counter near the boarding gates.

Beware though, that the line for the refund can be very long at times so make sure to get there with ample time before your boarding time. If you're tight with time, I suggest you just leave the money and board your plane on time. I mean, it's not worth missing your flight for a mere Php 550.

And that is it. For more information, please visit the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) website at: http://www.poea.gov.ph.

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