7 Things You Need to Know About OFW Medical Exams

A medical examination is standard requirement for employment, especially for overseas jobs. A visit to the laboratory to check for stool, blood and urine sample plus other tests is one way to find out whether or not an applicant has clean bill of health and can perform tasks as demanded by the job.

Just like a police clearance to clear a job applicant from any criminal record and poses no security risk at work, a medical check up also helps an applicant get medication — even if he or she is ruled ineligible for the job — in case abnormal findings are discovered from the test.

Usually, a medical exam is among the last to be submitted by a job applicant, and most likely those who reach this stage get the job. But by no means a physical and laboratory check the least important one.

So for those who are not yet familiar about medical exams, how they are being administered and other things they need to know, note the following:

Medical requirements vary from one county to another.

There are those who screen for infectious (tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases) or chronic diseases (HIV, heart ailment), and others screen for mental illnesses. Candidates with chronic renal failure, hepatitis failure, congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cancer, psychiatric disease and a few other illnesses are also unfit to work abroad.

In the Philippines, applicants for jobs in the Middle East, particularly Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates often go to the Gulf Cooperation Council-Accredited Medical Clinics Association. GAMCA provides a list of illnesses that determine if an aspiring OFW is fit for work abroad.

Exam results undertaken by non-accredited clinics may be invalid

Although candidates for jobs are often allowed to undergo medical exams in agencies other than suggested by employment agencies, dealing with those not accredited by government bodies such as POEA or DOH might render results invalid.

Medical exams can take up the whole day.

Devote one whole day for medical exams and defer other appointments to another day. At designated clinics, medical tests for OFW applicants are subject to several tests including fecal, blood and urine, EENT (eye, ear, nose, throat), X-ray screening and vision tests. Their vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, weight and height are also recorded. Psychological and physical tests may vary depending on clinic.

Laboratory and professional fees may vary depending on type of tests required, but cost at least P2,500 or above. These fees are often shouldered by applicants. Since each appointment lasts for a day, an applicant is required to bring samples of stool and urine on the day of test.

Prior checkup may help get better results.

Sometimes an earlier appointment with a family physician or dentist to assess medical condition may help get favorable results. That’s because a doctor’s advice based on test results may include dental, skin or other forms of treatment, which is likely more expensive than outside the network of accredited medical professionals.

It is also possible to get a second or further check. For example, if the initial blood pressure reading is above the allowable level, or blood sugar is elevated, another test can be requested. Before this will be done, a dosage of medicine may be prescribed. Be aware of prior instructions such as pre-exam fasting and follow them. In such case for fasting blood sugar (FBS), an applicant needs to fast eight hours before the medical exam procedure takes place.

Validity of exam results is three months.

The results of your medical exam is valid only for three months. Once you obtain the “fit to work” remark, ensure that you’ll be able to fly to your workplace before the validity of this remark expires. This also means that another round of tests is needed if you defer your job application by at least three months. Sometimes agencies partner with different medical laboratories and do not honor results from non-affiliated medical exam providers. Therefore, be prepared to do so in case you decide to switch to another agency for whatever reason.

Once you receive your medical certificate, be aware that it has a validity of only three months. Some agencies don’t honor the medical tests required by other agencies, so be prepared to take the same tests again if you apply with another agency.

Significance of exam results to job offer.

Health checks may come after qualifying interviews, proficiency tests and submission of requirements but it nonetheless impacts the employability of a job candidate. Once its results show signs of health conditions considered significant in carrying out the job or overall well-being of a worker deployed abroad, the job offer may be withdrawn under such reasons. Worse, a worker who is already abroad may risk getting deported under the same circumstances.


Whether you are applying for job abroad or not, maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eating healthy at the right amount of food, exercise and sleep) is a must. A healthy worker is a productive worker.

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