Filipinos based in the Philippines who are rendering online services for overseas employers and are leaving to assume their jobs abroad for the first time are not qualified for the issuance of overseas employment certificate (OEC) for balik-manggagawa or returning workers.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued the clarification after a number of these workers attempted to secure an OEC through the Balik-Manggagawa Processing Center.
Workers who are not yet deployed overseas and whose employment documents were not processed by the Administration even if they already started working with their foreign employers through online platforms or work-from-home arrangements are not considered as a balik-manggagawa or even an OFW or overseas Filipino worker.
Workers in the same situation may have their contracts processed as new hire workers as mandated by the 2016 Revised POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land based Overseas Filipino Workers.
An OFW or migrant worker is defined as “a person who is to be engaged, is engaged, or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State or country of which the worker is not a citizen”.
A balik-manggagawa refers to an overseas Filipino worker who has served or is serving his/her employment contract and is returning to the same employer in the same job site or returning to the same employer in a new job site and who has an existing record in the POEA database of deployed workers.