Dubai: Eligible Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the UAE may now start applying online for the unified ID card system, called ‘OFW e-Card’, that will give them access to key government services.
Formerly known as OFW ID, the OFW e-card will be issued for free in the Philippines by the Overseas Welfare Worker Administration (OWWA).
The e-card may serve as the OFW’s exit certificate or Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) to prove that he or she was legally hired. It enables holders to get travel tax and terminal fee exemptions and access government services such as information on their contributions with the Social Security System, Philhealth, among others. It may also be used as a valid government ID card.
OFWs with e-cards may use it to gain electronic access to OWWA programmes, including welfare services, scholarships, training and other social benefits.
OFWs eligible to apply for the e-Card are Balik Manggagawa workers or workers returning to the same jobsite or employer with OEC or exemption number and active OWWA Membership that is valid for at least for 90 days upon application for the e-Card, according to OWWA’s website.
OFWs can become OWWA members by paying Dh25 (Dh92) at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in their respective missions. This membership is valid for two years and gives social assistance such as death, disability and dismembership, and burial benefits.
OFWs who are new hires, direct hires, Government Placement Branch-hired workers are not considered Balik Manggagawa.
Where to apply
OFWs abroad may apply for the e-Card online at http://ecard.owwa.gov.ph/. But since the cards will only be issued in the Philippines, OFWs may authorise their legal representatives in the Philippines to pick-up the card once available in their chosen OWWA Regional Office. They may also claim the cards themselves on their return to the Philippines.