If you’re an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) vacationing in the Philippines, whether for emergency reasons or to spend time with your family, it is essential to obtain your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) if you’re still returning abroad to work. OEC is an exit clearance required to be permitted to depart the Philippines to work overseas. Without this document, you’ll be offloaded at the airport and won’t be able to work abroad, which is why you should prioritize obtaining your OEC.
Fortunately, OFWs can get an OEC exemption online, given they are returning to the same employer and job site and there is no need to get an OEC appointment.
The exemption makes it convenient for OFWs to obtain their OEC online since they don’t have to visit the offices of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or know the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) abroad. But how do you get an OEC exemption? Read on as we share our guide on how to get an OEC exemption.
What is OEC Exemption?
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a primary document to procure for OFWs whenever departing the Philippines to work abroad. This document serves as an exit clearance, which indicates the holder is a legal and documented worker.
For OFWs vacationing in the Philippines, apply for OEC exemption online, given they are returning to the same employer and job site. The exemption allows Balik-Manggagawa (BM) or returning OFWs to obtain their OEC without visiting POEA/DMW in the Philippines or POLO offices abroad.
Returning OFWs qualified for OEC exemption no longer have to visit POEA/DMW or POLO offices to secure their OEC. Instead, they can apply for OEC thru the BM Online or POPS-BaM portal. In addition, they are exempt from paying the OEC processing fee. If qualified, you can print your OEC online and are exempt from paying travel tax and airport terminal fees. The dependents or spouses of returning OFWs can also get lower travel taxes when traveling with them.
On the other hand, not all OFWs qualify for OEC exemption. The exemption is only for Balik Manggagawa (BM) or returning OFWs who meet the following qualifications:
- Workers with valid work permits/visa
- Workers who are returning to the same employer and job site
- Workers who have an existing record on POEA/DMW database or OFWs who have previously obtained their OEC at any POEA/DMW or POLO offices (POEA Main Office, Regional Offices, Extension Units, BM Mall Processing Centers)
- Workers employed by Government Placement Branch who meet the qualifications above
Meanwhile, POPS-BaM or BM Online will automatically redirect to the Appointment Page returning OFWs who fall under the following situations:
- BM workers who are returning to the same employer but in a different job site or vice versa
- Watchlisted worker
- OFWs with watchlisted employer
- BM workers returning to a non-compliant or restricted country
- Workers without existing POEA/DMW records, No record found, Record has a discrepancy
- Undocumented workers (such as Dependent to OFW, a Student to OFW, a Tourists to OFW)
- Sea-based workers who changed positions to Land-based workers
Do note that you will not automatically qualify for OEC exemption even if returning to the same employer and job site. The BM Online system will determine if the worker qualifies for OEC exemption based on POEA/DMW database.
Aside from the convenience of securing the OEC online and being exempted from paying the OEC processing fee, another benefit of the OEC exemption is it removes the hassle of preparing plenty of documentary requirements. Returning OFWs who qualify for the exemption only need the following to get their OEC online:
- Valid email address to create an e-Registration account (for new users)
- DMW e-Registration account with complete profile details, including:
- Passport Data
- Profile Image
- Passport Image
- Beneficiary Data
- Pagibig (MID) Data
How to get OEC Exemption via POPS-BaM
Qualified BM or returning OFWs can process the OEC exemption online thru the Department of Migrant Workers Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM). It is the new portal launched by POEA/DMW, which replaced the old BM Online system. But before you can get an OEC exemption, you should create an e-Registration account on POPS-BaM. You can also transfer your old BM records after creating a POPS-BaM account. However, each user should only have one e-Registration account since creating multiple accounts will lead to the disqualification of using POPS-BaM.
If you already have an e-Registration account, follow the steps below to get an OEC exemption via POPS-BaM:
1. Log in to your e-Registration account.
Visit the DMW Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM) at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
Click Let’s go and log in to your e-Registration account.
2. Update Profile details.
Once logged in to your POPS-BaM account, you should update your profile information before getting an OEC exemption.
On the left side of the dashboard, click My Profile and fill out the required details, including your beneficiary information. Click the succeeding tabs and provide the needed information.
Return to the dashboard and upload a copy of your passport and a profile picture. Also, don’t forget to update your profile picture since the Bureau of Immigration will use it for identification purposes and departure formalities.
Remember, you cannot proceed to OEC exemption unless your profile data is complete.
3. Click Balik-Manggagawa.
Next, click Balik Manggagawa under My Links on the upper right of the dashboard.
If your profile data is complete, click the Next button. But if the Initial Assessment page has missing data, return to the dashboard and complete the required information.
4. Input your flight date.
On the next page, POPS-BaM will automatically display your previous contract details. Double-check and update the contract details if necessary.
Input your flight date and read the reminders before clicking the Next button.
5. Confirm you’re a Balik-Manggagawa or returning OFW.
Answer the question on the system. Respond with “YES” to confirm that you’re a Balik-Manggagawa or worker returning to the same employer and job site.
6. Print your OEC.
Then, you’ll get a soft copy of your OEC exemption online. Print your OEC and bring it on the day of your departure. Also, ensure to obtain your OEC within your flight date since it only has a 60-day validity.
How to get OEC Exemption via BM Online
Back then, eligible BM or returning workers get an OEC exemption thru the BM Online system. But when POEA/DMW launched POPS-BaM, it replaced the BM Online portal, which means it was decommissioned and no longer exists. Thus, OFWs who qualify for OEC exemption should create an e-Registration account. Those with BM online accounts can also transfer their old BM records after creating an e-Registration account on POPS-BaM, which will take up to 24 hours to update.
Reminders for OEC Exemption
If you wish to get an OEC exemption online, please take note of the following reminders:
- The OEC exemption is only for Balik Manggagawa (BM) or OFWs returning to the same employer and job site with existing records on the database of POEA/DMW.
- The exemption enables returning workers to get their OEC online via POPS-BaM and exempts them from paying the OEC processing fees.
- Returning workers can get an OEC exemption online by creating an e-Registration account.
- Qualified BM workers cannot proceed with the OEC exemption if their POPS-BaM account is incomplete.
- The POPS-BaM portal determines who qualifies for OEC exemption based on POEA/DMW database.
- Returning workers who got their OEC online don’t need to print the BM exemption number since it’s automatically in the system utilized by Immigration Officers.
- POPS-BaM users should upload a recent profile picture for identification purposes and departure formalities by the Bureau of Immigration.
- If qualified for OEC exemption, the worker is not required to go to POEA/DMW or POLO offices. Instead, the worker can proceed to the airport for departure formalities.
Video: bm online OEC exemption Update
For more details on OEC exemption, please watch the video below:
As discussed in the video, only those who qualify for the exemption can get their OEC online. OFWs who do not qualify for the exemption should book an appointment with POEA/DMW or POLO offices to get their OEC. When creating an e-Registration account, the registrant should also use a valid email address to receive the temporary password for login. However, vacationing OFWs staying long in the Philippines should not get their OEC early since it’s only valid for 60 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can OFWs get OEC in the airport?
Yes, OFWs can get OEC in the airport via the Labor Assistance Center (LAC). However, they only issue OEC to returning workers on a (1) week or less emergency leave in the Philippines. LAC will also process the OEC of returning workers with expiring visas in seven (7) days.
Can OFWs travel without OEC?
No, OFWs cannot travel without an OEC if they are going to work abroad. All OFWs should obtain their OEC since it’s a required travel pass or exit clearance based on POEA’s rules and regulations.
Where can I print an OEC exemption?
You can print your OEC exemption online thru the Department of Migrant Workers Online Services Portal (POPS-BaM) at https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.
Securing an OEC exemption via the BM Online system, or POPS-BaM, make it easier for OFWs to get their exit clearance. With the POPS-BaM portal, returning OFWs no longer need to visit any POEA/DMW or POLO offices to get their OEC.
It also saves them from queuing for hours to secure their OEC. Nonetheless, the OEC exemption is only accessible by qualified Balik Manggagawa (BM) or OFWs returning to the same employer and job site.