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The Institute for Labor Studies takes a closer look into the issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) through its research for 2016 titled “Processing Overseas Employment Certificates: A Preliminary Impact Assessment.”

Authored by Patrick P. Patriwirawan Jr., delves into the urgent concerns related to the issuance of OECs: (1) low number of personnel assigned in the processing and issuance of OECs; and (2) increased number (long queue) of OFWs requesting for OECs both at Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). The research generally aims to identify possible policy options that would effectively, efficiently and immediately address the major concerns previously discussed.

One particular administrative and regulatory requirement in overseas employment specifically during the exit clearance stage is the issuance of an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). The OEC, issued by the POEA, is a certification of the “regularity of a worker’s recruitment and documentation and ensures exemption from travel tax and airport terminal fee” (Country Migration Report, 2013). As part of the process, it is presented at the POEA Labor Assistance Center and the Bureau of Immigration counter at the airports, prior to departure and serves as the worker’s guarantee that he/she is covered by government protection and benefits.

The research cites that while there may be systems in place undergoing continuous process improvements in the issuance of OECs, the number of staff remains unchanged and the number of requests constantly increases. The quality of service is likely to be affected not only in processing OECs but also on other functions assigned to the staff even compromising health and work-life balance concerns of employees. OFWs on the other hand, experience long queue at the processing centers and finds the system bureaupathologic, especially when they are running out of time to process and complete documentary requirements. In view of these urgent concerns in the processing and issuance of OECs, this paper intends to identify policy options that are non-regulatory and/or semi-regulatory in nature proposing review of existing policies, guidelines, and implementing rules and regulations.

The framework of analysis used in the identification of policy options took into consideration the following component areas that directly or indirectly influence the issuance of OEC: systems and technological components; legislative/ regulatory issuances; practices from other jurisdictions; existence of other institutions/ offices; Decent Work commitments; POLO/ POEA management and personnel distribution; and employment conditions of OFWs.

The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. For more information on this story, please contact the Advocacy and Publications Division at 527-3490.