OFW Pass App: Simplifying the Process of Obtaining OEC
The OFW Pass App
Revolutionizing OEC Acquisition for Overseas Filipino Workers
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have long endured the ordeal of obtaining their Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC). The process involved queuing up at Philippine Consulates or embassies in foreign countries, often in the wee hours of the morning, just to secure this vital document. This was largely due to the archaic paper-based system that was in place. However, times have changed, thanks to a groundbreaking solution – the OFW Pass App.
OEC: Now Free of Charge for “Re-Hires”
Before delving into the benefits of the OFW Pass App, it’s important to note that the OEC is now free of charge for “re-hires” – those OFWs returning to their workplace on old or new contracts. This financial relief is a welcome change for many OFWs.
Embrace Digitalization with the DMW Mobile App
To kickstart the process of using the OFW Pass App, you’ll first need to download the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Mobile app. This free app is readily available on both Google Play and the Apple Store. It’s a crucial tool for OFWs as it facilitates the acquisition of an OFW Pass.
Register for an OFW Pass and Secure an E-Registration Number
The process has been simplified significantly. OFWs are now encouraged to secure an e-registration number (ERN) before proceeding with the registration process using the DMW Mobile application. Notably, even if an OFW’s employment contract has yet to be verified, they can initiate the registration process as long as they possess a valid employment visa.
Mandatory OEC: Your Proof of Registration
In the old system, the paper-based OEC served as a certificate of the regularity of recruitment and documentation. Moreover, it was an OFW’s proof of registration with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), a vital government oversight entity. Without it, departing OFWs would face obstacles at Philippine airports due to immigration authorities.
The Perks of an OEC
Before departing the Philippines, every OFW, whether a new hire or a returning “Balik Manggagawa,” must secure an OEC. In the past, this involved a fee of Php100 (about $2). The OEC not only serves as an exit clearance but also offers numerous perks, including travel tax exemption, airport terminal fee exemption, and reduced travel tax rates for spouses or dependents. An OEC indeed comes with a bundle of advantages.
A Digital Push for Efficiency
OFWs have long advocated for a technological overhaul of the OEC application process due to manual processing and the associated manpower requirements. Finally, in September 2022, the Philippine Consul-General in Dubai, Renato Dueñas Jr., announced a digital transformation, signaling the end of physical queues for the OEC.
The surge in the volume of applicants exacerbated the pre-travel challenges faced by OFWs. On average, Philippine labor staff worldwide issued a staggering 6,719 OECs to OFWs every day. To address this issue, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Dubai implemented a “strict by-appointment only” policy in response to high travel demand, which, unfortunately, led to more frustrations among OFWs.
Presidential Mandate for Automation
Recognizing the need for change, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. issued an order on July 25, 2022, instructing the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to automate OFW services. This directive aimed to reduce bureaucratic red tape and alleviate the burdens faced by OFWs. Collaboration with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was mandated to digitize OFWs’ document processing, including the OEC and employment verification.
User Feedback and Continuous Improvement
Returning OFWs can easily download the app, submit their valid documents, and input a one-time password to get started. While some users reported minor glitches, particularly during document submission, they generally welcomed the new development. In line with the DMW’s commitment to ongoing improvements, there has been extensive testing in various countries to ensure functionality and efficiency.
In conclusion, the OFW Pass App, along with the digitization of the OEC process, marks a significant milestone in the lives of overseas Filipino workers. This transformation promises to eliminate the long-standing challenges associated with acquiring an OEC, making the journey smoother and more convenient for OFWs worldwide.
A lot of the tools that our OFW will need for document processing and such are now automated, helping them out with a lot of processes they must undergo. Similarly, at Golden Haven, OFWs can access their investments and properties all through the Golden Haven Mobile App. It offers the same convenience as the OFW Pass App.
To our dear OFWs, take advantage of these new applications and technology. Convenience is at your fingertips.