March 12, 2016

Time to Abolish Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?

One of our FB Page readers asked us about the rules on validity of LMIA.  His visa application to work as Caregiver in Canada in Canada was approved.  However, his LMIA was already expired and his concern is if it will not be a problem.  He was extra careful now because of his experience last month - he was already at the airport bound for Canada but was not permitted to leave the Philippines because he doesn't have an OEC.

He could have avoided this problem if he asked around or hire an experience consulting firm, like Canadian Immigration Consultancy, in processing his application.  That's the advantage of getting help.  Just imagine the inconvenience, stress and unnecessary he must have incurred as a result. 

The good thing about it is that the validity of his LMIA is no longer an issue since he was already issued a visa.

Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) serves as the Overseas Filipino Worker's travel exit clearance at the airport and immigration counters. The OEC is also an exemption for Overseas Filipino Workers from payment of travel tax and airport terminal fees. 

Migrante, a migrant advocacy group, wants this OEC scrapped as it doesn't really help them.  
A study by Migrante International estimates that, since 2010, the BS Aquino government has been collecting an average of at least Php26,267 from every OFW processed by the POEA. This amount was higher than the average Php18,000 the government collected before 2010. 
With the recent increases in the Philhealth premium, NBI clearance fees, e-passport fees, barangay clearance fees, and the mandatory contributions to Pag-Ibig, OWWA and mandatory insurance, among other requirements, the average cost for every OFW for the processing of their OECs has now reached an estimated Php31,000 per OFW. 
“However, it has been proven time and again that the OEC is nothing but a tool by the government to impose mandatory state exactions. In terms of it being a document that ensures and assures proper welfare and services for OFWs, the document is ineffective and is not honored by service providers. This latest development with the terminal fee is but another proof of its futility,” Martinez said. 
“We have stated time and again that the OEC is merely a stamp-pad for legalized ‘kotong’ on OFWs and should therefore be abolished,” the migrant leader said.
But as long as this policy is in place, you really have to get an OEC if you are leaving the Philippines to work abroad as a contract worker.  

Apply for Canadian Visa
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is not required if you are leaving as a Permanent Resident.