Dubai: Filipinos in Dubai who visit Manila may face a tough time coming back to the UAE as authorities in the Philippines have tightened screening of workers who initially came to the UAE on a visit visa but were subsequently able to find employment.
Such workers are considered "undocumented" and must produce a number of papers proving their employment, failing which they could be barred from boarding their flight back to the UAE as they return after spending time at home on annual or emergency leave.
Problems in exit procedures
A number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai have reported facing problems during exit procedures in the Philippines.
Officials of the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (Polo) in Dubai, an arm of the consulate, confirmed the new requirements but clarified that they only apply to those who don't obtain their overseas employment certificiate (OEC) in Dubai.
"It is POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] that requires the documents of those applicants/OFWs who left the Philippines with undocumented status — meaning departed the Philippines on visit visa and after sometime found employment in the UAE," said a Polo official in Dubai.
POEA is the state agency that regulates foreign employment of Filipinos.
An OEC, which costs Dh10 and exempts Filipino overseas workers from paying travel tax (Dh160), is also used by Manila to ensure their workers abroad are documented and insured. It can be obtained by personal appearance, with proof of employment and a valid residence visa.
In addition, nannies applying for an OEC must present a contract stating their monthly salary as $400 (about Dh1,470).
All OEC applicants in Dubai must pay membership and insurance cover with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and must sign up with ‘Pag-Ibig', a home mutual fund.
Filipino workers who go home on vacation without obtaining an OEC from Dubai are now asked to produce an employment letter from their human resource department and an original labour contract as well as copies of their passport, UAE residence, UAE Labour Card and the company's commercial licence. These must be authenticated by the Polo against a Dh40 fee, the official said.
Many Filipinos have dismissed the scrutiny as another money-making venture, but others welcomed it.
"It is for our own good," said Lisa Magno Concepcion, leader of the Filipino Community in Dubai. "There are established rules in place. Everyone leaving our country for whatever purpose must be properly documented."
Document protects labour rights
- An overseas employment certificate (OEC), costs Dh10.
- It exempts Filipino overseas workers from paying travel tax of Dh160 and is also used to ensure they are documented and insured.
- It is obtained by personal appearance with employment proof and a valid residence visa.
- Nannies applying for an OEC must present a contract stating their monthly salary as $400 (about Dh1,470).