Direct hire of Filipino workers in the UK
Direct hire of Filipino workers in the UK requires additional steps compared to hiring other foreign nationals. To protect Filipino workers, their government introduced special checks, including obtaining an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) as pre-departure exit clearance. The checks and OEC certificate are mandatory before Filipino worker departs Philippines to work abroad.
The protective measures from Philippine government show preference towards employment of Filipino workers via authorised Filipino Recruitment Agencies. Direct hire means that employer wants to employ Filipino worker(s) without using the Agencies.
As an an employer who wants to hire a Filipino worker in the UK without using any of the Philippine government authorised recruitment agencies, you will need to qualify for exemption to direct hire and get the employment contract approved by the Filipino authorities. Your Filipino worker will need this to then apply for Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) in Philippines.
It is important to remember that certain jobs do not qualify for exemption at all. To recruit for those jobs you will have to use an Authorised Agency.
To sum up, if you recruit overseas Filipino workers on Skilled Worker visa or any other work visa type, you need to take these additional specific requirements from the Philippine government into account and comply with them.
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or OEC exemption
Overseas Filipino Workers who are holding a valid work visa are required to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or OEC exemption (applicable when going on holiday vacation/ emergency leave to the Philippines.
There are three classifications of workers who are required to secure an OEC, namely:
A. Returning documented OFWs. These are the workers who have existing record with the POEA who are vacationing to the Philippines and are returning to the same employer and jobsite to continue/renew an existing employment contract. They can secure an OEC from any POEA office or from the POLO.
B. Workers not previously registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). These are the workers with no existing record of deployment with the POEA. They need to have their employment contract verified by the POLO before they could secure an OEC.
C. Workers who changed employment on-site. These are the workers who transferred or entered into a new employment contract from one employer to another. They need to have their employment contract verified by the POLO before they could secure an OEC.
To secure an OEC, workers are required to book an appointment at POEA or at the POLO which has jurisdiction over their jobsite and submit the required documentation. There is a mandatory medical pre departure checks and workers must obtain a mandatory insurance prior to departing to the UK.
Validity of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
Please also note the OEC will only be valid for a period of 60 days from the date of issuance. Hence, make sure that the OEC validity will be able to cover the date of departure from the Philippines when going back to the jobsite.
On subsequent vacations to the Philippines, the worker may secure an OEC exemption through if he/she was returning to the same employer previously registered with the POEA/POLO. Otherwise, he/she will need to register new employment contract with the relevant Philippine’s authority.