Dubai: Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines during the holiday season are advised to secure travel exit clearances from the Philippine missions in the UAE ahead of their scheduled departure to avoid hassles during their trip, a diplomatic official said.
"They should apply for the overseas employment certificate [OEC] before leaving the UAE to save them time and to avoid hassles and delays at Manila airports," Philippine Labour Attache Nasser Munder told Gulf News.
The OEC or the travel exit clearance is a document that proves that a returning OFW is in the Philippines for a holiday and intends to go back to the same employer abroad. Manila airport officials will not allow OFWs to return to their jobs abroad without the said document.
Task force formed
As the month of December is considered the ‘peak season' for returning OFWs, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Manila formed a task force earlier this month in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of OFWs who will spend the holiday season in the country.
OFWs in Manila usually begin queueing at the POEA main office as early as 4 am to get their OECs. Processing could take days and would sometimes need courier service for an additional fee. To avoid the long queues, returning overseas workers may apply for their OECs for a Dh10 fee at the Philippine Overseas Labour Offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"If the OFW brings all the necessary documents with him, he can get the OEC in a matter of minutes," Munder said.
Presenting an OEC at Manila airports exempts OFWs from paying travel tax and terminal fees, he added.