Sunday, December 30, 2012

UPDATE: What You Need To Know When Getting an OEC

Among Filipinos working in Singapore, there is normally a debate on the usefulness of applying for permanent residency status. For those still wondering though, I would say apply if you can, even if only for the fact that you'll never have to get an OEC ever again.

The OEC is the Overseas Exit Clearance that an Overseas Filipino Worker usually needs to get so he/she can exit the Philippines. It is not a requirement to exit Singapore but needs to be presented at the NAIA upon return to Singapore to exempt OFWs from payment of travel tax and airport terminal fee. It seems such a simple thing but as with all other Philippine government processes, it is usually very time-consuming and tedious.

My husband and I have already been free from the shackles of the OEC-procurement process for quite some time but unfortunately, we had to get OECs for our FDWs so they could come home with us to Manila for the Christmas break.

Here is what we've learned, a few pointers to remember when applying and some useful links to check out before going through the process:

1. There is already an online appointment system for getting OECs which was developed and launched by POEA in Manila last November 2012 and is being pilot-tested in Singapore as well. This means you can set appointments for getting OECs online either in Singapore or the Philippines. While the system is being pilot-tested, the Embassy in Singapore has noted that they will still entertain walk-in clients until OFWs become more familiar with the on-line appointment system. See OEC online appointment system in the Philippines and Singapore

2. In Singapore, you can also apply for the OEC at iRemit in Lucky Plaza but only on Sundays. However, you need to make sure you have all the proper paperwork and have paid all required fees for requirements such as OWWA and Pag-Ibig since they don't process these on Sundays. Note OWWA contribution is on a per contract basis but they require updated Pag-Ibig contribution for the particular month in which you're applying the OEC for. Try to call ahead as well since they sometimes cancel this service on certain occasions. 

3. You must prepare a number of documents and bring photocopies of everything 

See checklist of requirements below:
  1. Passport - valid at least 6 months from the date of departure
  2. Valid Work Visa / Work Permit or Equivalent Document
  3. Proof of Employment returning to same employer
    (e.g., Employment Contract, Certificate of Employment/Company ID/Pay slip)
  4. Verified and Authenticated contract - For Household Service Workers (HSWs) only
  5. Confirmed roundtrip plane ticket
  6. OEC application form (2 copies)
4. You don't need to pay Philhealth in Singapore, but you do in the Philippines. In that sense, it's slightly cheaper to get your OEC in Singapore.

5. UPDATE: If you are an FDW and you have a choice, choose to get your OEC from the Philippine Embassy in Singapore instead of in Metro Manila.

It used to be that you could process your OECs in several counters in Metro Manila such as the POEA main office in Mandaluyong City, Trinoma Mall, Duty Free Philippines in ParaƱaque City, Global Pinoy Center in SM Manila, OWWA Main Office in Pasay and PAG-IBIG Main Office in Pasay.

But now all Household workers cannot use any other processing center other than POEA. 

My FDWs took 2 hours to process their OECs in SM Manila previously but at POEA, even with a counter dedicated to Singapore OFWs, it still took 6 hours. But at least we found out about this new rule in time. Some people left it at the last minute and tried to get their OECs at Duty Free Paranaque the day they were supposed to fly out and subsequently missed their flight. 

6. UPDATE: This service unfortunately no longer provided.

You can also choose to skip the waiting in line (actual waiting time 3-4 hours) and just have the OEC delivered to your doorstep. OEC is now included in the citizen services provided by the National Statistics Office and Department of Foreign Affairs like NSO Birth Certificate (and Marriage Certificate) Delivery Hotline and the DFA Passport Appointment System services. However, it will mean higher cash outlay since you pay all the fees initially and they just refund you back the fees during delivery, if your OWWA and Philhealth membership are still valid. You also pay additional P560 to cover the service and courier fees. You can access the link here 

POEA Processing Fees
   P 100.00
Pag-IBIG
   P 100.00
OWWA Membership
   P 1,090.00
Philhealth
   P 900.00
2GO / ABoitiz Courier Fee
   P 160.00
Teleserv Service Fee
   P 400.00
Total
P 2,750

7. Important to note the validity period of the OEC before applying. Someone at the Philippine Embassy in Singapore told our nanny that validity was 1 month and therefore when she applied for it early, she was turned away, but if you check the internet, a number of sources say it's 60 days. However, one of our nannies got a 3-month validity (from Singapore) while the other got a 2-year validity (from Philippines).    

========================================================================

Embassy of the Philippines (Singapore)20 Nassim Road, Singapore 258395
Open from Sun to Thurs, 9:00 am-5:00 pm.


IREMIT SINGAPORE PTE LTD.304 Orchard Road, #03-69 Lucky Plaza,
Singapore 238863
Tel. Nos.: (65) 6235 8600, (65) 6235 8914
(65) 6235 8915, (65) 6235 7943
Fax : (65) 6735 8641
Email:
luckyplaza.sg@myiremitfo.com
Office Hours
Monday to Sunday 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM


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