A vendor blows bubbles at a street market in Manila. File / Agence France-Presse
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
DUBAI: Filipinos who wish to work overseas but are encumbered to go through the legitimate process and want to cut corners by using tourist or visit visas anywhere in the world for job search—either on their own, with the help of some questionable recruitment agencies and their cohorts, or even with the encouragement of families and friends—have now to think more than twice.
Gulf Today learnt on Thursday that effective April 1, 2019, Monday, Filipinos—anywhere in the world—who have managed to make the shift from being tourist/visit visa holders to employed individuals—would only be able to secure their overseas exit pass (OEC) at the main headquarters of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila or at any nearest regional POEA office.
The OEC is the “document certifying the regularity of recruitment and documentation of any OFW.”
As the norm and since about three years back, every documented vacationing OFW to the Philippines for a minimum of two weeks may secure his OEC from the nearest Philippine Overseas Labour Office (Polo) or from the main headquarters of the POEA and any of its regional offices by online appointment.
However, according to Labour Attache for Dubai and the Northern Emirates Felicitas Bay, pursuant to a recent POEA Governing Board decision, effective April 1, all the 34 Polos around the world shall henceforth “only verify the employment contract/documents of workers who are not previously registered with the POEA—workers with no existing record of deployment with POEA such as those initially on visit/tourist visa converted to employment visa.”
Bay confirmed the new rules for the issuance of OEC is a “protective measure” decided upon by the POEA Governing Board against persisting overseas deployment challenges Filipinos have been experiencing brought about by the mis-use of tourist/visit visas and which come in all forms of human trafficking namely illegal recruitment, deception, contract substitution, bondage and slavery.
She said, “Application and processing of OEC for this group alongside those who have changed employment on-site such as workers who have transferred or entered into a new employment contract from one employer to another shall be at the POEA in Metro Manila or any of its regional offices.