UAE | Society

Filipino authorities cap Dubai travel clearances

Labour office will only accommodate 500 applications a day during peak months

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 20:47 March 19, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or travel exit clearance to Filipino expatriates at the Philippine labour office in Dubai will be limited to 500 a day during peak months like March, July and December, Labour Attache Delmer Cruz told Gulf News.

An OEC is a document required by the Philippine government which proves that a returning Filipino worker is in the Philippines for a holiday and intends to go back to the same employer abroad. It also proves that the he or she has been hired legally.

“In view of the surge in applicants for OEC, we will process the first 500 applications for OEC per day during peak months when OEC applications exceed 500,” Cruz said.

“This is in consideration of our three personnel tasked to issue OEC as they have been working almost non-stop, sometimes until 9pm, just to meet the demand. This practice is taking a toll on our people, and it could compromise their health,” Cruz added.

Cruz said he has already increased the number of staff members issuing OECs to three, despite the limited personnel at the labour office’s disposal. He added that officials have also restricted the processing time per OEC to five minutes at most to be able to maximise time and deliver efficient services.

Cruz offered alternative locations where Filipinos can apply for OECs, such as the Al Shabab Sports Club in Dubai where the labour office will set up a booth every Friday from 1pm to 4pm until July 12. OECs and other labour-related services will be offered at the venue. Up to 100 OECs can be issued every Friday.

Ria Abias, 33, who’s due to fly back to the Philippines on Friday for her wedding, said that she understands the labour office’s decision.

“I am an employee myself and I understand how hard it is when you have to work beyond what is required of you. I calculated it myself and I realised that 500 OECs a day is more than enough,” Abias, an accountant who’s planning to get her OEC on Thursday, told Gulf News.

Cruz said Filipinos can also book appointments online to get their OECs in Manila through the website to avoid long queues and waiting times.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 13:24 March 20, 2013

    If appointments to get OECs can be booked online in Manila, why can't it be done in Dubai as well? Decreasing the number of OECs to be processsed in a day is not the solution, but increasing the number of staff. The Consulate should adjust and increase the number of their staff to serve the OFWs. Imagine many employees have to take a day off to go to the Consulate not knowing whether they can be accommodated or not, it's very inconvenient and a waste of time. Even if we wake up early, there is a tendency for many people to be there early as well to get in, and still we'll never know if there is a long queue or not. The Consulate should be more considerate and systematic.

    Manny, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:49 March 20, 2013

    I remember 13 years ago when I started as an OFW that they had the card system and we can pay by Visa and it was going to be online. I usually take my OEC in the Philippines when I go on vacation to save time since I know that taking it in Dubai takes a whole day. With this solution of capping the number of applicants is really not the way forward. In this digital age and I do not know the budget or the amount of money POEA and OWA receives from the government funds from our contribution to the nation's GDP, the solution they presented is not really positive. They should just make it ONLINE and make everyone happy! As an OFW, we contribue so much to the GDP of our nation, use our money wisely please!

    Ian, Cebu, Philippines

  3. Added 12:09 March 20, 2013

    If your staff are overworked then add more staff, don't tell me you don't have the funds to hire more people. Plus if you really want to serve OFWs then open the embassy and consulate on saturdays. Imagine, we need to sacrifice one day salary just to go to your office and pay for OEC or whatever documents we require which for sure will be charge with good amount of Dirhams. Its a double whammy for us OFW's, its like being hit two times at the same time.

    Pedro Aquino, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 11:50 March 20, 2013

    Labour office can even set up a booth anywhere, why don't they set up also in Bur Dubai, Karama (St. Mary's Church) and Satwa to help other kababayan?.

    Neneng Juanit Nao, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:30 March 20, 2013

    Why can't they provide an E-service to apply for an OEC.. come on we are in a new generation now?! Philippine consulate is still stacked with the old procedure for going to consulate and waiting in a long queue for hours. E-service would save a lot of our time and save OFW's money too. Long queue in consulate means we need to take either a whole day/half day off in order to obtain an OEC. That's totally crazy.

    gie, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:19 March 20, 2013

    1 off day to get appointment, 1 off day for queing and processing. I forgot to wear shoes, pants, need to go back again - 1 off day lost. (I live far from consulate if you must know). Pinoy car lift - more expensive than taxi! Me - no off day! some, Fridays off. Oops consulate is closed. Hhmm, what about Phils. and UAE public holidays - oh noh they're closed too!

    Concern Pinoy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:11 March 20, 2013

    Did you know that if you get your OEC in Phils. you have to do it from the start because they're not linked-up to each other? You also have to produce your contract and bunch of other stuff. If you happen to get it in Ortigas, you have to spend 1 whole agonizing day! How convenient is that?

    Ivan King, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:04 March 20, 2013

    Philippines consulate should advertise all other services on TV like TFC or ORBIT to inform all filipino OFW.

    Ronald, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:57 March 20, 2013

    Please add manpower, have online application submission and night schedule (5-9pm), so we OFW's don't need to be absent or go for half day work. This is Philippine government responsibilities to give services at their best.

    May, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:18 March 20, 2013

    a brilliant way to make money out of our hardworking Filipino overseas foreign workers. It is disappointing that the government is not giving us and providing the needs we didnt see any improvement. concerned officials are well paid off and the govt made it so hard on the OFWs. in fact payment are increasing.

    sheila, dubai, United Arab Emirates

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