Exit clearance exemption for Filipinos likely to be continued

Monthlong trial run of exemption is to end on October 15 but is likely to be continued

19:00 October 14, 2016

Dubai: The monthlong exemption on travel exit clearances for Filipino workers that began on September 15 will likely be made permanent as it is benefiting thousands of returning Filipinos, an official said.

Filipino workers who go back to the Philippines on holiday are required to secure a travel exit clearance called Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) to prove that they have been hired legally and intend to go back to the same employer abroad.

Based on the resolution in August, two groups of Filipino workers are exempted: those who are returning to the same job site or employer abroad provided they have existing records with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) database through the BM Online Processing System and those who were processed through the government placement arrangement.

The trial period will end on Saturday and authorities in Manila said the exemptions will likely continue.

“So far, what we’re seeing is the exemption will continue even after October 15. So long as there are no new resolutions saying otherwise from the Governing Board, the exemption will be upheld. In fact, the Governing Board is waiting for our assessment [of how effective this trial run has been for the past month],” Amy Reyes, POEA deputy administrator, told Gulf News in a phone interview from Manila.

“So far, our assessment now is the exemption has been beneficial to OFWs and there is no reason to recommend to stop the exemption.”

Reyes said as many as 33,000 eligible Filipinos have availed of the exemption since the trial run was introduced in September.

“We are closely monitoring its progress, including how the system works. We’ve been receiving good feedback. There are also ongoing enhancements to make the system more user-friendly,” Reyes said.

Eligible workers must register or update their records online ( before their scheduled date of return to their employers. Their records will then be electronically submitted to the Bureau of Immigration in Manila so they can pass through with just a valid passport and valid visa.