Before you think of payments, you must check and double check your visa. Never allow the agency or foreign employer to give a visa different from the job being offered. Your visa is your protection as well as your guide to benefits of your profession. There are cases of OFWs being given a different job instead of the promised job they will have abroad. Be wary of your documents to prevent this.
Nowadays, headlines of the news on television almost always have reports of overseas Filipino workers scams and illegal recruiters. If you are applying to work abroad, you must be aware of how much it should cost you as well as to be perceptive and careful of those who use unofficial documents and communication asking to pay fees.
Here are some payments you need to prepare for.
The amount varies for each agency; some may give less than the law states but proper amount should not amount to more than one month basic salary (10% of the first month’s salary for domestic helpers in Hong Kong). There are some agencies hiring in the OFWs for Middle East that does not require placement fees while others charge on salary deducation. It is also recommended that you sign your contract before you pay the placement amount. You are also urged to demand an official receipt stating the amount of money you paid as well as the signature of the person who received your payment.
There are also exemptions to the rule. Seafarers, drivers, personal chefs and household domestic helpers are not required to pay a placement fee. OFWs that are to depart to specific countries, namely, US (on a H2B Visa), UK, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand and Canada (in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia only) are also not required to pay placement fees.
Some agencies offer jobs that will require training certificates. A certificate is also an advantage to give you an edge against other applicants. Agencies give the option of training applicants for a fee. Training fees depend on how much training centers charge. Private centers cost more than public ones. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers affordable trainings and certifications. Even if you are not successful in applying abroad, certificates and trainings can be useful the next time you apply for a job.
Other than you application and Visa, you will also be required to submit other necessary documents. Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) lists the following: Police clearance, which costs about P100, Barangay clearance which depends on your barangay, copy of Birth Certificate from the National Statistics Office (NSO) which costs about P140, NBI clearance for P115, Passport which costs P950 pesos for the regular and P1,200 for the express, medical examination fee which depends on the clinic and scope of examination required by the host country, ranging from P1,500 to P4,650 pesos and the training fee explained above.
Processing and Miscellaneous Fees
There might also be additional fees to pay to your agency but these don’t always apply. Just remember that your plane ticket and visa are all shouldered by your employer. These are the POEA Processing fee, with a total of P300, P200 by the agency hired and P100 by the employer, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Membership Contribution which is 25 pesos, Philhealth Insurance (Premium) worth P2,400 per year, PAG-IBIG Membership Contribution worth 100 pesos per year, Compulsory Insurance worth 144 pesos for a two year contract and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar worth 100 pesos.
Know your rights as an OFW and exercise them. Ask questions and demand explanations for those that you do not partially or fully understand. Always, always inform the authority of any questionable activities during the recruitment process.