Filipino authorities cap Dubai travel clearances

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

13 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 http://bmappointment.poea.gov.ph/ to avoid long queues and waiting times.

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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 stillwe'll never know if there is a long queue or not. The Consulate should be more considerate and systematic.

Manny

20 March 2013 15:12jump to comments
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