What are the dos and don'ts in applying overseas work for first time OFWs?

  1. Do be wary of overseas employment ads or brochures
  2. Do apply through licensed recruitment agencies only
  3. Do hold transactions inside government / recruitment agencies
  4. Don't accept job offers that require a tourist visa
  5. Don't pay more than the allowed placement fee
  6. Don't deal with fixers

Every year, the demand for work through an overseas job search in the Philippines increases. After days and nights of going through job postings, you've finally stumbled upon the one that you like and if perfectly suited your skills and experience. It's a great feeling that every OFW can relate to. Unfortunately, there are some who were scammed by illegal recruiters. These recruiters leave migrant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is working to protect the OFWs. They released a list of reminders to ensure aspiring applicants and current OFWs will not become victims of illegal recruitmet. Here are some tips to take note of:

1. Do Be Wary of Overseas Employment Ads or Brochures

Be mindful when looking through job advertisements or brochures. Do not be easily enticed by ads or brochures that require you to reply through a post office or P.O. Box, especially if they asked you to enclose some kind of payment to process your papers.

Always choose face-to-face transactions in a reputable recruitment agency with a good standing from POEA. By doing so, you will easily avoid dodgy schemes that will most likely end with you losing money.

2. Do Apply Through Licensed Recruitment Agencies Only

Every recruitment agency (whether land-based or sea-based) is required to secure a license from POEA before it can start its recruiting process. This license will help OFWs to determine if a particular recruitment agency has been performing well. It can change anytime so be sure to double check its status and validity. You can find the needed information on POEA's database.

Aside from the website of POEA, you can find legitimate work opportunities through online portals. Just make sure that these websites features job listings of POEA-licensed agencies and recruiters.

3. Do Hold Transactions Inside Government / Recruitment Agencies

A common rule is to never trust a person who introduces himself/herself as a representative of a recruitment agency and conducts transactions in public places like fast-food restaurants or coffee shops.

Always check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority from the POEA. Remember, a valid job order from a licensed agency is required before you can take an offer for a job hiring in Japan, Canada, Singapore, among others. The legal way you can secure this position is through POEA and not through skeptical out-of-office transactions.

4. Don't Accept Job Offers That Require a Tourist Visa

A lot of illegal recruiters disguised themselves as part of a recruitment or travel agency that promises overseas employment with just a tourist visa. However, using a tourist visa to secure your application for overseas work is illegal. If any evidence is found that you are looking for a job with a tourist visa, you will be denied entry the moment you arrived, risking your deportation.

5. Don't Pay More Than the Allowed Placement Fee

When applying for overseas work, one of its requirement is to pay a placement fee that is worth one month of your salary, exclusive to documentation and processing costs; it shouldn't be mre than that!

In addition, be sure that you only pay your placement fee if you already have a valid employment contract and official receipt. For those seeking jobs in Canada, no placement fee is required from you.

Know your rights as an individual and don't be afraid to speak up if you feel something isn't right in the middle of your transaction.

6. Don't Deal with Fixers

This rule is actually a no-brainer. One must not deal with fixers for faster processing of employment and travel documents. You must prepare all the needed requirement beforehand for your application. You can inquire through websites and offices of NSO, POEA, and DFA for all the needed documents.

Key Takeaway

When going through a job search in the Philippines, there is no need for you to rush the whole process. Do your proper research and avoid illegal recruiters by following the tips listed above. You can also check out POEA's website to learn more about the guidelines for taking up a job hiring in Japan, USA, Singapore, and many others.