How to get OEC from DMW/POEA (Direct Hire)

In January 2022, POEA started using an online system to process the OEC application. You can access it via the DMW/POEA Online Services Portal. You have to sign-up on the e-Registration page, where you can upload all your documents.

You’re probably reading this article because you got a job offer abroad, and a foreign company directly hired you. However, the Philippine government has banned employers’ direct hiring of Filipino workers for overseas employment. Don’t worry; you can still work abroad if you process and complete the required paperwork.

I remember when I was processing my documents; I met someone who would be working as a teacher in Taiwan. However, she was laid off at the airport because she needed the proper documents to work overseas. She got the wrong information and didn’t know that she had to process the OEC first before she could legally work abroad. She told me she was crying at the airport and begging the personnel to let her go, but we knew that couldn’t happen.

This incident reminds us that we must legally process all our papers before moving. I also did a lot of research because I was a first-time Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and had no one to ask what I was supposed to do. I also wrote this article to clarify some procedures others would face.

Before traveling abroad and working in a foreign company, you must get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). The DMW was formerly known as Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). I listed the requirements below and gave an overview of what to do on each step.

dmw direct hire documentary requirements

Direct Hire Documentary Requirements

How to Process the Documentary Requirements

Processing the POEA requirements comes in two phases – Phase 1 and Phase 2. To save time and resources, you must have all the necessary documents before going to DMW.

Old process: Once you’re ready and have compiled the Phase 1 documents, you can schedule an appointment at POEA Main Office by emailing [email protected]. They will reply to confirm your schedule. You must print the email confirmation because the duty guard will also check it. You can also check how to schedule an appointment at the regional centers or units closer to your place.

New process: As mentioned at the beginning of this post, DMW now handles the processing of documents online. I also posted a simple guide on navigating the Online Services Portal.


1. Passport with a validity period of not less than one (1) year (Advisory No. 42, s2019)

Make sure that you have a valid passport to avoid delays. If you still need a passport, visit the DFA website to schedule an appointment to get a new one or renew your expiring passport.


Philippine Passport

2. Valid Work Visa, Entry/Work Permit (whichever is applicable per country)

  • If the employer issues visa assurance or guarantee, the same should be noted/acknowledged by the Government or Immigration Office on the job site.
entry visa in EU schengen area

Entry Visa in EU (Schengen Area)

Check with your employer about how your visa or work permit will be processed. It’s either they do it, or you partially do it too. Each country has a different procedure for processing work visas, and they would ask you for additional requirements. You can do your research to set your expectations. Prepare your valid passport because you will need it for the visa sticker.

Some countries don’t have their embassy in the Philippines, so others send their documents to the closest Asian country with their destination country’s embassy. You may need to submit some requirements at the embassy because a personal appearance is also required. You can confirm with your employer whether they will pay for the visa processing, or you’ll have to shoulder the expenses yourself. Most of the time, the employer pays for it. Sometimes, employers also hire relocation agencies to help process the required documents so you can relocate.

3. Employment Contract: Original copy of Employment Contract or Offer of Employment

  • Verified by the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
  • Authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate for countries with no POLO
  • Apostille with POLO Verification (MC 8, s2019)
  • Apostille with Philippine Embassy Acknowledgement (MC 8, s2019)

The employment contract needs to be verified or authenticated by POLO. Inform your employer immediately that this needs to be done because most of them are unaware that the Philippines requires this. It will add a few more weeks to process your paperwork. You can check this article about How to Authenticate an Employment Contract at POLO.

You can check the POLO directory of each country, which includes their contact details. If your destination country is missing from the list, you can contact the nearest POLO to that country to verify if they can also process your contract verification.

For example, there’s no POLO in the Netherlands, so I had to do it at POLO Berlin. I also know someone bound to Portugal who had to coordinate with POLO Madrid instead.

In this step, the employer is the one who should contact and coordinate with POLO. While waiting for your authenticated employment contract and visa/permit, you can also start compiling the other requirements.

4. Company Profile, Business license / Commercial registration of the employer

You can ask your employer to provide a copy of their business license/commercial registration. You could get the essential information (About page) from the company’s official website or LinkedIn and print it out for the Company Profile.

5. POLO Endorsement Letter addressed to the Administrator seeking exemption from the ban on direct-hiring

This requirement is being processed together with the verification/authentication of the employment contract (#3). Once completed, your employer can arrange a courier so POLO can send the original documents to your address in the Philippines. The shipping would take 1-2 weeks.

6. Additional country-specific requirements:

  • Canada – Labor Market Opinion (LMO), Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and Canadian Letter and Employer’s Certificate of Registration from ECON (Province of Saskatchewan Executive Council or Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) approval are required from workers to Saskatchewan instead of LMO
  • USA – Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action
  • Middle East and African countries – Contingency plan issued by the employer

I skipped this step because I was going to Europe. Check with your employer or relocation agency how the additional requirements will be processed. If you have questions, you can ask other OFWs working in these countries.

7. Additional documents to support your job application

The following documents are easy to collate because you already have them. If not, coordinate with your former school or employer to get the following documents:

  • Certificate of Employment (COE) or Business Permit (if self-employed)
  • Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR) or Form 137
  • NC II / PRC License
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resume

Check your destination country or employer if they require you to submit the documents with Apostille (previously DFA red ribbon), such as the diploma and TOR. I got the Apostille copy for some of my essential documents, like the birth certificate, because I needed it for municipality registration.

8. Notarized Statement

  • How the workers secure their employment with an attached photocopy of the employer’s passport/ID and contact details.
  • The authenticity of the diploma, TOR, COE, and other certificates submitted.

For the affidavit on how the worker secured the job, you must describe how and where you submitted your application, the interview and hiring process, and how you got the job offer.

You must also submit the Affidavit of Authenticity of documents like COE, diploma, and TOR. You can check the sample affidavit below that I used when I processed mine. After making the affidavit documents, go to the nearest public notary in your area and have them notarized. It would cost around Php100 per notarized document.



Download DOCX • 9KB

After completing Phase 1, wait for your name to be listed on the DMW webpage for Direct Hire OFWs with Approved OFW Clearance. It takes almost a week of waiting, but it’s worth it once you see your name. Print out the file and schedule an appointment with DMW for Phase 2.


1. E-Registration Account

Visit the DMW Online Services Portal to register in the worker’s information sheet. After entering all the required details, go to My Resume and print it out. The DMW staff will take note of the ID number generated for your profile.

DMW/POEA eRegistration

DMW/POEA eRegistration

2. Compliance Form (if necessary)

This step depends on some terms and conditions outside your employment contract. You have to ask your employer to sign this document. The DMW staff will give you this form if necessary.

For the contract duration, the minimum is one year. If you have an indefinite contract period, DMW will ask you to put three years as the maximum in this document. It’s also best to check and pre-assess if your employment contract meets the terms and conditions.

Compliance Form

Compliance Form

3. Valid Medical Certificate from a DOH-accredited medical clinic authorized to conduct medical exams for OFWs

For the medical exam, make sure that you check the DOH-accredited clinics or hospitals. They constantly update the list, so just Google searches the DOH-accredited clinics for OFWs for the latest list. DMW will not accept medical certificates from other clinics/hospitals that are not accredited.

To save time thinking, I did mine at Supercare Makati, where you can set an appointment online. I got the results within a week. The amount I paid is around ₱2,000-₱3,000. You might need to repeat some tests if they find problems with your medical exam result. The validity of the medical certificate is three months.

4. Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) Certificate

You can complete the PEOS whenever you want to. You can access it for free online; it only requires registering. You must take the eight modules and answer a short five-question quiz at the end of each module to move to the next one. After completing the modules, you will get the PEOS Certificate that you have to print out.

5. Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) Certificate issued by OWWA

You can attend the PDOS after you finish Phase 1 and do it online. There is a registration fee of around ₱400 that you can pay at the POEA cashier. The seminar will only take an hour or two, but you’ll get important information to help you prepare before traveling abroad.

If you’re doing the PDOS in person, make sure you have a photocopy of your passport because the staff will also ask for it. After attending the seminar, you will finally get the PDOS certificate.

6. POEA Clearance (for employers under Section 124d of the POEA Revised Rules & Regulations)

You must print out and bring the clearance posted by DMW about Direct Hire OFWs with Approved POEA Clearance, with your name in it.

Once everything is settled and you have paid the necessary fees, you will get the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). It is a green paper or receipt that the DMW staff will give you after paying all the necessary fees. The immigration officer at the airport will look for this before you are allowed to travel, so keep it.

On your departure day, and if you’re a first-time OFW, you would need to first go to the POEA section at the airport (NAIA) for verification because sometimes your details as OFW is not in the Bureau of Immigration system yet. If immigration already has your details, you must no longer go to the POEA desk.

Overseas Employment Certificate

Overseas Employment Certificate

7. Proof of certificate of insurance coverage covering at least the benefits provided under Section 37-A of RA 8042 as amended (Repatriation of Remains/Mortal Remains/in case of death)

Most of the blogs I read suggest the Paramount Life & General Insurance Corporation if you’re looking for OFW insurance, so I got mine from there too. You can check their OFW compulsory insurance page for more details and apply online. If you have questions, you can contact them through email at [email protected], and they usually reply immediately during weekdays. You can also give them a call.

You can directly apply for OFW Insurance online. You will immediately get the certificate after completing the payment.

The last time I checked, the costs of their yearly premiums in USD were as follows:

1 year: $ 40

2 years: $ 80

3 years: $ 120


At DMW/POEA, you must also pay the following fees: around ₱6000-₱7,000.00 in total. You can check with them about the updated fees too.

  • POEA Processing Fee = USD 100 or its PHP equivalent
  • OWWA Membership Fee = USD 25 or its PHP equivalent
  • Pag-IBIG Contribution Fee = PHP 300
  • PhilHealth Contribution Fee = PHP 2,400 for one-year coverage (optional)

During the PDOS seminar, the POEA staff informed us that the insurance, POEA & OWWA fees are in USD because the employers are supposed to pay for them. But most of the time, we Filipinos shoulder these amounts to avoid an additional nuisance in requesting the employer to pay these fees.

Please do not give your documents to fixers or anyone claiming they are from an agent who will help you process your papers. I’ve read forums saying that they’re charging a lot of fees. Besides, you can do it yourself.

Time Estimates

Many people have asked me about the time estimate to process everything before they can get the OEC. But this is a tricky question because it can happen differently to anyone depending on different circumstances.

In my case, I was processing mine when the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown started, so there was a very long waiting time before I could get my OEC. Several offices closed in the Philippines, my destination country, and POLO Berlin.

I’ve also seen some cases where some workers could not get a visa because the destination country is looking for additional certifications or a college/university diploma that they still need to get.

The medical exam can take a week before you get the results. There were also instances when someone had problems with their medical tests, so they had to wait a little while until everything returned to normal. They had to follow a particular diet, especially for people with high blood sugar or hypertension. The cases are different depending on the health situation of someone.

The visa application differs for each country; you can contact your employer for details. You must also obtain a visa sticker on your passport, which can take about two weeks.

Contacting POLO also takes some time. Give yourself about 2-4 weeks in this step. They also need to send the original documents to your Philippine address, which will take another 1-2 weeks.

The DMW Phase 1 can take 1-2 weeks. As soon as you get the schedule for Phase 2 and you can submit the original documents, there’s a great chance you’ll get your OEC shortly.

Only book a plane ticket when you have the complete requirements. Give yourself two months or so to process everything else. Refrain from giving yourself a tight schedule where you’ll rush, but you’d feel anxious when things are going differently than your plan.

Expenses/Other Responsibilities

I got questions about who should pay for what and who will do what. If it is a similar scenario for others, I want to add them here.

If you’re a direct hire, you can do all the DMW/POEA processes yourself. You don’t need a local Philippine agency for that.

Usually, the employer would arrange a relocation agency to help you move to the new country. They ensure that you arrive in the destination country with complete legal documents. You’ll be in touch with that relocation agency throughout the whole process.

If no relocation agency is arranged for you, ensure you’re always in contact with your employer or HR. Keep them updated. Don’t be shy or scared to ask questions for clarification, and tell them what else you need to do on your side before you can move to the new country.

The employer also pays for the plane ticket, or you can reimburse it. Some employers will also give you an allowance during your first month in the new country.

Make sure that you have enough savings. Moving to a new country can be overwhelming, especially if they have a high cost of living. The fees are always way more than what you used to pay in the Philippines, so prepare for that and accept that it’s the way it is. You may be earning more, but you’ll also be spending more.

A piece of advice, don’t get anxious or impatient because of the lengthy process. You can do it, and I know you can move to a new country and start working in a new job. Enjoy, and good luck!

I hope the information in this blog post can help you. If you have questions, please comment below or send me a message. I’ll be glad to answer your inquiries.