As a way to honor overseas Filipino workers, several privileges are in place for them and their families to enjoy and take advantage of.
As paying members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, OFWs are eligible for several benefits such as medical, life, and travel insurance. They receive language and cultural and orientation seminars before their outbound flights, avail of business loans, and receive assistance when they lose their job abroad. Their children may also qualify for a college scholarship grant. In the case of death, their beneficiaries also receive financial aid from the government. This isn’t the same case for those who are not legitimate OWWA members.
Courtesy lane for OFW passport applications
OFWs who happen to be in the Philippines can avail of expedited processing of passport renewals at Robinsons Galleria at Ortigas Center. Not only reservation is not needed; the process is also quick and easy for OFWs. They just have to bring their employment contract and onward flight ticket.
Exclusive entrance for OFWs at NAIA Terminal 3
OFWs have their dedicated lane at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
Privileges for VIPinoy Cardholders
Although the application for the program was discontinued on October 1, 2017, this membership entitled OFWs and their families free access to certain facilities. This includes Family Lounges at Ayala Malls, Priority Lane, Reserved seats in selected mall concerts & events, and discounts in Ayala Malls Cinemas until 2018.
Privileges for SM Global Pinoy Center members
SM also has a program for OFWs called SM Global Pinoy Center that offers perks and opportunities for OFWs and their families at SM Malls. Inside these venues, OFWs and their families can avail of free refreshments, free internet browsing, remittance pick-up, foreign exchange services, and free international calls.
Travel tax discounts for OFW spouse and dependents
The standard travel tax for Filipinos flying outside of the country is P1,620. But OFW spouse and unmarried children below 21 can avail of Privileged Reduced Rate of P400 for first-class and P300 for economy class seats.
Bahay Para sa Bagong Bayani Program by Landbank
Through Landbank, OFWs who on active employment contract are eligible to buy vacant lots, house and lot, townhouse or condo units, as well as refinance an existing mortgage. They can also avail of this benefit when they renovate an existing property using the 3B (Bahay Para sa Bagong Bayani) program of Landbank.
Direct Housing Loan by SSS
OFWs who are SSS members who contributed at least 36 months and are active paying members for the past 24 months before an application may qualify for a housing loan of up to P2 million.
Tax-Free Shopping at Duty-Free Philippines
An OFW can bring in certain country items that will not be subject to tax, OFWs can also do additional tax-free shopping in the Duty-Free Philippines. Provided that they visit within 15 days after their travel and 30 days during the Christmas season.
Reimburse Medical Bills From PhilHealth
Overseas Filipinos confined at medical facilities abroad are entitled to PhilHealth benefits through claim reimbursements. Members are given 180 days upon discharge to submit their claim documents to any of the PhilHealth offices in the Philippines.
OFW Exclusive Immigration Booths at NAIA
OFWs departing or arriving at NAIA can avail of special lanes at immigration counters.
Pag-IBIG Voluntary Savings Program
Republic Act 9679 established the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009. This law provides OFWs a savings plan with preferential interest rates. For a monthly contribution of P500, savings will reach P34,921.79 after five years, assuming the standard 6% rebate is in place. Likewise, after ten years of P5,000 monthly contribution, savings will reach P816,550.25.
Free Language Courses from TESDA
OFWs and pre-qualified OFWs can avail of free language courses offered by TESDA.