How to Work Abroad from the Philippines: Requirements and Useful Information for OFWs
- Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are significant contributors to the Philippine economy;
- OFWs must register with the government to gain official status and protection;
- Becoming an OFW requires good health, Filipino citizenship, and a particular skillset;
- Various job opportunities exist for OFWs, both blue-collar and white-collar;
- Filipinos are driven to work overseas primarily due to higher salaries compared to local wages;
- To prevent scams, engage with accredited agencies and be wary of dealings outside formal settings.
The heroes of the Philippines are OFWs — these are people who work abroad to earn a living. They migrate to other countries and find a job. In return, they send what they earn to their loved ones in the Philippines, keeping the Philippine economy afloat.
If you want to become an OFW, you have come to the right place. Today we are going to tell you everything you need to know to work abroad, as well as the requirements to work abroad from the Philippines.
What Does It Mean to Be an OFW?
The term OFW stands for Overseas Filipino Worker. It is a particular term to refer to Filipino migrants. They are expected to come back to the Philippines.
- Immigrants are not classified as OFWs. What is the difference? An immigrant is one who moves to another country to live there permanently;
- A migrant is one who moves to another country to do something and is expected to come back.
An OFW is a legitimately recognized overseas worker. OFWs must get an ID and register with the appropriate government agencies. Those who go to other counties and act like tourists are not considered OFWs and will not be protected by the government should something happen to them.
Qualifications to Work Abroad for Filipinos
The qualification to become an OFW is straightforward. You must be in good health, a Filipino citizen, and you must possess a skill.
The skill is debatable, as there are so many jobs around the world that Filipinos can fulfill. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Working on a ship
- Registered nurse
- Domestic helper
- Factory worker
- Fast food worker
As you can see, the sky is pretty much the limit. There are Filipinos who work in offices, too. It is wrong to assume that all types of OFW work is a blue-collar job.
Requirements for Working Abroad from Philippines
Although there is no predefined set of requirements, it is best that you prepare the most common ones that the government, agencies, or employers look for.
Here the requirements to work abroad from Philippines:
- Active passport
- Photograph; 2×2 or 1×1
- Original and certified true copies of birth certificate
- Transcript of Records for College grads and diploma for high school
- Certificate of employment if you have previous employer
You should also prepare your National Police Clearance and NBI Clearance, and both of these documents should indicate that you are securing them for application as OFW.
Where to Find a Job Abroad from Philippines
There are several ways to find a job abroad. The most common ones are:
- Through family and friends – you can contact relatives who are already working abroad and ask them to support you. This is the most common method and also the easiest, as you do not need to worry about where you will live once you get there;
- Job Boards – there are many job offerings online, and you can browse them. This process is a bit dangerous, though, as you do not really know who these employers are. In addition, this requires a lot of work because you will not receive any help. You must process your documents on your own;
- POEA – the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency has a job board (1) where you can find work. You only need to go to their website and view the openings.
For POEA, the job board is like a freelance marketplace where corporations post their job openings. To apply, you must contact the Philippine-based agency that works with these companies.
6 Overseas Job Portals (Secure and Licensed by POEA)
Here, we provide a summary of six useful websites for individuals seeking work abroad, particularly for those in the Philippines. These websites are all safe, legitimate, and monitored by the POEA, ensuring a secure job hunting experience
1. POEA Website – The official website of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a reliable source for government-approved overseas job listings. The website includes job postings from the Government Placement Branch, providing recruitment opportunities from foreign governments and selected non-government employers. It also offers an e-registration facility for convenient online application, though some documents must be submitted personally at their office.
2. WorkAbroad.ph – This website boasts an extensive database of around 20,000 overseas job listings, most of which are based in the Middle East. The site’s advanced sorting features allow users to filter jobs by category, specialization, country, and more. In addition, WorkAbroad.ph offers a mobile app and helpful resources for aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
3. JobStreet.com – One of the most popular job searching platforms in the Philippines, JobStreet not only features local jobs but also a wide array of overseas jobs. The Overseas Jobs section includes over 12,000 POEA-approved job listings across diverse fields like engineering, construction, finance, and healthcare.
4. OFWguru.com – A relatively new platform, OFWguru caters to international job seekers with its listings from POEA-licensed recruitment agencies. The site includes a blog and guide section, with resources about living and working abroad. OFWguru stands out with its three-step job application process that tailors job suggestions based on the user’s skills and experience.
5. Kalibrr – Although primarily a local job search website, Kalibrr offers a selection of job openings abroad, with over 1,000 job postings from countries like Indonesia, Australia, China, and Malaysia.
6. Seaman Jobsite – For those seeking sea-based employment, Seaman Jobsite is a reliable platform with a database of over 5,000 jobs from top maritime companies and licensed manning agencies. The site also posts informative content to aid seafarers in their career journey.
Step-by-Step Process to Get a Job Abroad
Now, let us discuss the steps you need to take to apply for a job abroad.
👉 Step 1: Get your PEOS certificate
PEOS stands for Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar. It is a class you must attend to understand what documents you need to prepare, what security steps to take, and what you can expect from being an OFW.
You can get your certificate after you complete the seminar from the DMW. They have an office in Ortigas City, and their website is https://peos.dmw.gov.ph/ (2).
👉 Step 2: Submit work requirements
After the seminar, prepare all the work documents and requirements. Then, go to your desired agency or POEA.
👉 Step 3: Undergo the preliminary interview and evaluation
Now, you will schedule an interview with the POEA. They will test your fitness (physical and mental) as an employee. At this point, you must have already worked with an employer or an agency.
👉 Step 4: Get Your Medical Certificate
The POEA will give you a list of medical facilities to validate whether or not you are physically fit to work abroad.
👉 Step 5: Discuss the Terms and Conditions of Employment
In this step, you will be finalizing your salary terms, housing, years of work, and other important things around your contract. This discussion is between you and your employer.
👉 Step 6: Process your documents with POEA and other concerned embassies or entities
You will go back to the POEA to discuss your employment contract. They will require documents, and you will get an OFW ID, and you will be included in the OFW database.
👉 Step 7: Attend the PDOS
The PDOS is the pre-departure seminar held by OWWA. It is a mandatory seminar for all OFWs (3).
👉 Step 8: Have documents validated
The final step is to submit your documents to your agency or POEA for final validation. Once stamped, you are good to go.
Why Do Filipinos Want to Work as an OFW?
Filipinos want to work abroad for one reason: better salaries. Just to give you context, the Philippine economy pales in comparison to leading countries like the US and the UK for any kind of job.
If we take fast-food work as an example, the typical salary of a Filipino working at McDonald’s in the Philippines is ₱31 per hour. In the US, you can expect at least $10 per hour.
Here is a salary comparison for 22 days of work for eight hours per day as a fast-food worker:
- Philippines – ₱5,456
- USA – ₱93,280
As you can see, this gap is huge. To give you more context, ₱5,000 is not even enough to rent an apartment. As such, people who work in fast-food in the Philippines are young—most of them have no family.
How much can I earn?
There is no single answer to this, but below is a table that shows some statistical salary ranges (4).
|% of OFWS||EARNINGS RANGE IN PESO|
|19%||5,000 to 20,000|
|55%||20,000 to 50,000|
|15%||50,000 to 70,000|
|7%||75,000 to 100,000|
|3%||100,000 and above|
Philippine Government Agencies That Can Help You Find Work
The two departments that you should work with are POEA and OWWA. The other Philippine agencies do not tackle OFW issues.
Is It Better to Go Through Accredited PH Agencies?
Yes, it is better to go through accredited Philippines agencies. These are companies that have proven to the government that they are legit. They work with employers abroad, and their identities are verified by the government.
Tips to Prevent Being a Victim of Illegal Recruiters
Here are some quick tips to prevent being a victim:
- Do not deal with unaccredited institutions
- Do not transact outside the office of the agency
- Do not reply or send your documents to PO boxes; these are not legit addresses
- Do not deal with agencies that do not have job orders
- Do not pay more than one month of salary
Finally, do not accept a tourist visa. It is the most common way people are scammed.
Tips to Getting Hired as an OFW
Here are some of the best tips to make your application easier:
- Develop a skill and be really good at it
- Get experience in the Philippines first
- Attend the PEOS
- Contact a recruitment agency and make it clear what job you are looking for
- Prepare your documents as early as now; documents take time to get
- Go through agency screenings and interviews
- Undergo the required medical tests
You must plan these things carefully, especially if you are coming from the province. Make sure all your documents are ready so you only come to Metro Manila once.
Do I have to be a college graduate?No, you do not have to be a college graduate; you can be an OFW even as a high school graduate only. Your experience is what matters.
What should I be careful of?Be careful of agencies that are not accredited. They are most likely scammers who will run away with your money.
How can I be successful as an OFW?Be as experienced as you can get. Employers abroad hire people in the Philippines because they cannot find skilled workers in their countries.
How can we prevent illegal recruitment?There are laws that prevent illegal recruitment. As an applicant, apply only to accredited agencies.
Do victims of illegal recruitment have any rights to be protected?Yes, you can sue the illegal recruiter but do not expect to get your money back.
What are the consequences of illegal recruitment in the Philippines?A prison sentence of not less than 12 years.
Being an OFW is not easy, but it is worth it. As an OFW, you must focus on your skill set so you can look for jobs that pay well. You must always remember to only work with agencies accredited by the POEA.