What is a Balik Manggagawa (Returning OFW)?

The term “balik manggagawa” refers to returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are re-entering the Philippines in order to complete or extend their employment contracts. “Balik” means return. “Manggagawa means” “worker” – so basically, “balik manggagawa” means a returning worker.

The term is applicable to OFWs who have decided to come back home after completing their contract abroad, or they may be returning for an extension or further employment. It also applies to individuals who are repatriating from work abroad due to health issues, family problems, or other personal reasons.

The term Balik Manggagawa (BM) can be misunderstood by many Filipinos, whether they want to work overseas or who are OFWs vacationing in the Philippines. The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), formerly known as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), explained the meaning of the term Balik Manggagawa because it is unclear to many Filipino workers.

The Balik Mangggawa online platform was frequently used by workers who tried to acquire their OEC. If BM workers meet the requirements, they can use the Balik Manggagawa online portal and be exempt from OEC. Continue reading to learn more about it, including what it is, what are the qualifications, and other information.

What is the meaning of Balik Manggagawa?

Those who are on vacation in the Philippines but will return to work overseas are known as Balik Manggagawa (BM) or returning OFWs. It refers to OFWs who return overseas to complete, extend, or continue working for the same or a different employer and job site. The DMW further explains that workers from the Philippines who are employed overseas for the first time are not considered Balik Manggagawa.

But even if Filipino workers have started to work for their foreign employer through online platforms or a work-from-home arrangement, they are not considered Balik Manggagawa if they have not yet deployed overseas and DMW has not yet processed their employment documents. Workers in similar circumstances are therefore referred to as new hires rather than Balik Manggagawa.


The OEC exemption helps in saving the hassle of providing multiple documented requirements. The returning OFWs who are exempt ONLY need the following to acquire their OEC online:

  • Valid email address to create an e-Registration account (for new users)
  • DMW e-Registration account with complete profile details, including:
  • – Beneficiary Data
  • – Passport Data
  • – Personal Information
  • – Pagibig (MID) Data
  • BM workers who are returning to the same employer but in a different job site or vice versa
  • Workers without existing POEA/DMW records

First-time OFWs and BM workers who are not exempt from OEC should submit an application at a POEA / DMW office in the Philippines or POLO office. To acquire their exit clearance, they must also make an appointment with the host country office or region and pay the OEC processing fee.

Each document should be submitted in two (2) copies: an original and a duplicate or photocopy.

Basic Document Requirements

  • Printed Online Appointment (POPS-BAM)
  • Printed Balik-Manggagawa Information Sheet
  • Sworn Statement (For OFWs who have never had a POEA record or who are applying for OEC for the first time)
  • Passport (valid for at least six months) from departure date
  • Verified Employment Contract
  • Certificate of Employment, Company ID, latest pay slip, or other documents as proof of employment
  • Valid Work Visa, Work Permit, or any equivalent document
  • Confirmed Airline Ticket
  • OEC fees
  • OWWA membership payment receipt

The list of requirements is subject to change; therefore, it is important to call the POLO office or the embassy first before visiting the office.


The following are considered Balik Manggagawa:

  • Returning documented OFW
  • Returning documented OFW who changed job site in a different country
  • Returning OFWs who have changed employers on-site on the same country
  • Returning documented OFW to the same company in the same job site, but changed job position
  • Undocumented workers, or returning workers not previously registered with the POEA – workers with no existing record of deployment with the POEA or the POLO including but not limited to former tourists, au pairs, students, exchange programs participants, etc.


The following are the benefits of being a Balik Manggagawa (BM):

  • If BM workers are eligible for the exemption, they don’t need to wait in line or submit a lot of documentation to get their OEC.
  • For their exit clearance, BM workers who are eligible for the OEC exemption do not need to go to any POEA/DMW or POLO offices.
  • Through the POPS-BAM portal, BM workers can access their OEC online.
  • The OEC processing fee is not required for BM workers who are eligible for the OEC exemption.

How to Register in Balik Manggagawa Online

POPS-BAM is the newly launched POEA / DMW platform that took the place of the previous BM Online website. If you already have a DMW e-registration account and your old BM records have been transferred to the new POPS-BAM website, you can acquire an OEC Exemption through POPS-BAM. Follow the steps below to register a POPS-BAM account:

Step 1: Visit the POEA Online Service WebsiteLink: https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//onlineservices/poeaonline.aspx

Step 2: Click the “Let’s go” button on e-Registration

Step 3: Click on “Register” for new users (just log in if you already have an account) and click the “I accept the terms of use” button.

Step 4: Fill in the required information and then click register (a message will display indicating that your registration was “Successful”)

Provide all required details, such as your height and weight, as the system will not process if these fields are left blank.

Step 5: Log in to the email address you provided when you registered (there is a message containing your “temporary password”)

Step 6: Return to the link provided in Step 1 and log in using the registered email address, then click “next.”

Step 7: Use the temporary password sent to your email, then click “log in.”

Step 8: Set your preferred password.

Step 9: Update your profile by clicking “My Profile,” after completing your profile, click “Update Profile” on the upper right side of the page

Step 10: Input your identification data (passport) and beneficiary on your profile

Step 11: Click the “Balik-Manggagawa” on your dashboard then click the “Next” button

Step 12: Enter your return flight date then click the “Next” button

Step 13: You will be asked whether you are returning to the same employer, job site, and position if you are a returning BM.

Step 14: If so, you can print your OEC exemption immediately.

How to Get Balik Manggagawa OEC

Follow these steps to quickly make an appointment and acquire your OEC:

Step 1: Visit the POEA Online Service Website here – https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//onlineservices/poeaonline.aspx

Step 2: Click the “Let’s go” button on e-Registration

Step 3: Log in with your email address and password

Step 4: Select the nearest POLO/POEA office as the processing site then click the “Next” button

Step 5: Choose and select your preferred appointment date

Step 6: Take a screenshot and print your scheduled appointment date

Step 7: Gather all of the necessary requirements.

Step 8: Go to the POLO/POEA office on your scheduled appointment day. Show your approved appointment letter, valid ID, and full-dose vaccination card/certificate to the assigned security personnel.

Step 9: The assigned security personnel will check your name on the list of approved appointments for the day. To avoid long lines, bring the complete set of requirements.

Step 10: Get a token number from the assigned personnel.

Step 11: Go to the processing window and submit your documents.

Step 12: Pay for OEC fees.

Step 13: Wait for the OEC processor’s advice before printing your OEC in POPS-BAM System

Make sure that all the information and details in your OEC are correct and in line with your credentials.

Step 14: Sign in to your POPS-BAM account and select “Print OEC” from the “My Transaction Tab” menu.

How to Download Balik Manggagawa Registration Form Sheet

The Balik Manggagawa Registration Form is available for download at http://philembassykl.org.my/main/images/pdf/Balik-Manggagawa Information Sheet.pdf for OFWs who want to acquire their OEC.


balik manggagawa registration information sheet form
balik manggagawa registration information sheet form 2

It is one of the requirements for OFWs applying for their OEC at POEA / DMW or POLO offices. Before your appointment, you can fill out this form by downloading and completing it. Additionally, it is available at POEA / DMW or POLO offices.

Video: How to register in POEA Online Processing System for Balik Manggagawa o POPS-BAM to get OEC

OFWs on vacation must understand the importance of OEC. ClintYeng, a YouTuber and OFW, shares her experience registering for POEA’s online processing system for Balik Manggagawa (POPS-BAM) in order to acquire OEC. Remember that the video procedure is the same as processing OEC at any POLO or POEA / DMW office.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further questions regarding “Balik Manggagawa” see the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.

1. How can I book an appointment for OEC Balik Manggagawa?

Log into your POPS-BAM account and select the Balik Manggagawa button to request an OEC appointment. Select the appointment location, date, and time, then type in your flight date. Then, print your appointment details, and bring it with you on the scheduled date.

2.   Who can get OEC BM exemption?

The following requirements must all be met in order for a Balik-Manggagawas to be exempt from acquiring an OEC:

  • Has a valid work visa or work permit
  • Returning to the same employer and workplace
  • Has a record in the POEA database (Has previously received an OEC at any POEA offices or facilities, including the POEA main office, extension units, regional offices, POLO offices abroad, and BM mall processing centers)

3. Are OFWs allowed to travel without an OEC?

No. All OFWs leaving the Philippines, whether they are returning employees or new workers, must acquire an OEC.

The OEC serves as an exit clearance; therefore if you try to leave the country without it, Immigration will stop you. Additionally, you are excused from paying the terminal fee and travel tax thanks to this certificate.

4. How long is an OEC or OEC Exemption Number valid?

From the date of issuance, the OEC or OEC Exemption Number is valid for 60 days. You are required by POEA to obtain this as a Balik-Manggagawa before returning to your employer.

5. Is my OEC valid for many uses?

OEC or OEC Exemption Number is only intended for one use. Once you have given it to Immigration, it cannot be used again.

6. Why does the system want my most recent OEC number? What does it mean?

The most recent transaction record you have with POEA is your most recent OEC number. This information is required by the system in order to get your record and most recent employment information.

7.  What happens if I forget my OEC number?

You will be redirected by the system to the APPOINTMENT page, where you must manually visit POEA to process your OEC.

8.   What should I do if I lose my OEC?

Log in to your POPS-BAM account and reprint your OEC.

9.   Where can I settle my OEC fee?

  • You can pay your fees in a number of ways, including:
  • Globe G-cash
  • Over-the-counter thru Banks
  • Over-the-counter thru Bayad Centers
  • Online Banking
  • POLO/POEA office

Instructions on how to complete the payment process will be sent to you through email.


A returning OFW to the same or a different employer’s job site is called Balik Manggawa. Additionally, these workers are only visiting the Philippines for a vacation after being deployed overseas. BM employees are not first-time OFWs because they will be going back to their job sites to complete or extend their employment contracts.

Moreover, BM workers who meet the requirements for exemption may benefit from OEC exemption, which entitles them to acquire their OEC online and exempts them from paying the processing fee.

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