Being able to secure a Z visa without the aid of a recruitment agency was indeed an accomplishment. But it only gave me a short-lived happiness. Z visa alone can’t help you fly out of the Philippines. You. Need. An. OEC. (Overseas Employment Certificate) issued by POEA. To get one AS AN ENGLISH TEACHER bound for China, you FIRST need to submit a photocopy of the following requirements:
- Valid work visa or permit
- Original employment contract acknowledged by the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, each page signed by your employer or its legal representative.
- Business license notarized or translated into English
- Employer’s National ID or Passport (with English translation)
- Company profile
- Certificate of Employment
- Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR)
- PRC License or TESOL if you are a non-education graduate.
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Proof of Certificate of Insurance
- Statement on how the worker secured his/her employment with attached photocopy of employer’s Passport or Chinese ID and contact details
If you have an urgent need for TESOL certificate, contact me right now!
Employment Contract That Works
My employer had drafted a contract for me. He could have actually used the contract he had drafted (provided it meets the “Employment Standards” defined by the POEA). But I opted to use this template available for download from the POEA website.
Following the provisions set by POEA is a requirement to getting a contract authenticated. So, there you go. For faster processing, I used the standard POEA contract template. Wait! POEA requires that you and your employer must affix your respective signatures on each page of the contract.
You might be asking this question by now:
How does it work? Do I have to affix my signature on the contract and once done send the signed contract to my employer in China?
The answer is NO! The Philippine embassy/consulate understands that you may be in the Philippines while your employer is in China and sending documents back and forth is more than a hassle. Provided your employer can appear before a consular officer, your employment contract can be acknowledged/verified without your signature affixed. So, don’t worry. When everything PH embassy/consulate in China is done, your employer can then send all pertinent documents to the PH and thats the time you affix your signature before these documents are submitted to POEA.
If you want things to work faster, what you can do however is tell your employer to download the standard POEA contract template and let him bring it to the Philippine embassy/consulate.
Employer Must Authenticate Documents
Your employer/legal representative must be willing to go through the steps necessary to get you a Philippine Embassy-authenticated
red-ribboned apostillized employment contract. (There’s no POLO in China.) Your employer (in my case, the actual investor/owner/legal representative) MUST personally go to Beijing to get your employment contract authenticated or acknowledged.
Employer Can Go To The Embassy
If you’re employer can go to the Philippine embassy in Beijing or in any Philippine consulate in China, then all he has to do are the following:
- Either have a local notary notarized his business license (local notaries will automatically translate the document into English) or have a professional translation company translate the business license into English. He must bring the original copy of his or her business license when appearing personally before a consular officer in the PH embassy. Let him prepare a photocopy of all original documents and all its translated versions.
- Bring either passport (2 copies of passport data page) or Chinese national identity card. The national identity card is an official identity document for personal identification in the People’s Republic of China. It contains a unique 18-digit Citizen Identity Number. If the employer doesn’t have any passport or unwilling to present his/her passport, he or she can present his/her national ID instead. But first your employer must translate his/her his Chinese ID into English. Present the original and submit a photocopy.
- Signed POEA standard contract. Take note that you may either use the template Employment Contract for Various Skills issued by the POEA or you may use your own contract provided it meets the required provisions of the POEA. Filling out the contract is pretty much easy to do. Discuss with your employer also to make sure you guys agree on some important points. If you have questions, you can ask me.
- Once these documents are all prepared, he is now ready to appear before a consular officer in the Phillipine embassy or consulate. One more thing: tell your employer to bring a school or company stamp. It is the red seal you see on my contract. Your employer will use it to stamp the contract in front of the embassy consular officer.
Another word of advice. It’s best for your employer to come early when the embassy opens in the morning especially if he/she comes from a far-flung province. There’s a huge chance your employer gets the authenticated contract within the same day.
OMG! My Employer Is Busy And Can’t Personally Appear At The Embassy
No problem. Follow these steps to get a contract authenticated by the PH embassy/consulate without your employer appearing personally before a consular officer.
- Have the POEA standard employment contract acknowledged by (can be done by a company authorized representative) the local notary and have the documents legalized (authenticated) by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of China or authorized Foreign Affairs Offices (FAO) of local governments. For more information on the process of legalization of documents in China, you may visit MFA’s website at http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/wgrlh/lsrz/lsrzjjs/. Local notarization takes time and it depends on the area and so is MFA. The local notary will not process the contract notarial unless you and the legal representative/owner affix your signatures. What does it mean? In this case you must affix your signature and then send (DHL, FEDEX) the signed contract to your employer for him to affix his signature. As required by the PH embassy/consulate in China, your employer must also affix his signature on each page of the contract. Once done with MFA, you as the employee (if you are currently in China) or an authorized Chinese representative (HR/agency/principal) may handcarry the MFA-authenticated contract to the PH embassy or consulate.
- Business License with English translation
- Two (2) copies of Passport data page of employee/employer
- National ID of employer if passport isn’t available.
Never confuse the term legal representative with authorized representative. According to Civil Law of PRC, each company incorporated in China has to have one legal representative. A legal representative is a person appointed to act on the company’s behalf. He/she can be the company’s Chairman, Executive Director (if no Board of Directors) or General Manager. Legal representatives have their name put on the business license.
How Does This Contract Look
When the contract is brought to the local notary, the notary will secure the contract with a hardcover. It will now look like a BOOKLET. You will see a front page, the actual contract, notarial certificate in Chinese and English. When the documents reach the MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), a verification sticker will be attached at the last page of the booklet. When the documents get submitted to the Philippine embassy/consulate, the consular officer will add the acknowledgement letter sealed with an apostille on top. This entire thing is what you need to submit to the POEA to secure your OEC.
To clarify, there are two versions of an acknowledged contract: One where your employer personally appears before a consular officer and one where he/she doesnt.
My contract was not brought to the local notary nor it was verified with MFA (sealed with a verification sticker). The reason was my employer, the legal representative, presented the documents (POEA contract, business license, national ID) himself before a consular officer at the Philippine embassy in Beijing.
What Else Your Employer Has To Provide
I had told my employer before he went to Beijing to also bring a copy of the company profile. It was easier for him since its English version was readily available. I seriously thought the company profile would be included in the documents to be apostilized, but it turned out to be not the case.
Company profiles are easy to obtain. If your school or company has a website, go to the about page. If you see the website telling you about it’s company founder, when the company or school was founded, what the mission, vision are. That pretty much it. Print it.
By the way, as long as all documents are complete, authentication at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing should be quite easy. Luckily according to my employer, the contract authentication/acknowledgment was finished within hours. He then sent me (via DHL) the company profile (colored and in a separate file), and the employment contract, business license and Chinese ID (translated and red-stamped), now all together bounded by a red-ribbon. (This was before apostille was implemented.)
What About The Other Required Documents
Back to the Philippines, the following documents should be with you by now. And you probably are wondering what to do with those.
- Work visa.
- Employment contract from the Philippine Embassy in Beijing.
- Business license and company profile. (I photocopied the business license that came with the red-ribboned documents and stapled it together with the company profile.)
- Certificate of Employment. (COE from your previous employers).
- PRC license or TESOL certificate. (If you need a TESOL certificate, I can help).
- Resume. (Easy)
- Proof of Certificate of Insurance. This certificate is also called OFW Compulsory Insurance. Only a couple of insurance companies are authorised to issue this certificate. Don’t worry. It is so easy to acquire. You just have to go and walk in to Paramount Life & General Insurance Corporation in which office is housed at Maranaw Plaza. As you can see, Maranaw Plaza is located right beside POEA. They will require you to submit a photocopy of your passport, work visa, and contract. In my case, I paid $36.00 for a one-year life insurance coverage. Yes, 36 US Dollars. Given the current exchange rate, it should no more than be around Php 1,900.00. Once payment is done, you should get your certificate in no time. The total amount of time spent to get this certificate should not be more than 15 minutes.
- Notarized statement on how you found your job. One of the easiest documents to make. Look for a Notary Public around you. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one either. I went to Munoz Market in Quezon City, found a guy sitting behind what looked like a hundred year-old typewriter, told him what to do, paid Php 150.00, done!
The body of the affidavit is what’s important. You have to state how you got to know about the job. Copy the template given below. Make necessary changes and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to staple/attach the photocopy of the translated and stamped Chinese ID of your employer as well as his contact details. For the contact details, I attached the company profile since it contains all contact details of the company such as telephone and mobile numbers, website, and email address. (15-30 minutes)
Entire template not needed! Go to any notary public and show them the contents of the affidavit I provided. They will do the rest.
How To Get An OEC
Yes! With all documents you have in your possession, you are now ready to go to POEA to submit them. You may go as early as 7 o’ clock. Around 7:30 in the morning, guards will call out and give instructions to all direct hires. And you will find yourself in one line going up to the 3rd floor where one guard awaits and hands out queue numbers.
Here’s the MOST IMPORTANT: The guard will ask what’s your name, how old you are, what’s the name of your girlfriend/boyfriend, name of your dog, what are your secrets, your vital statistics! You must have wondered by now what’s going on and if I was serious. Of course, I’m just kidding! Let the guard know why you are there and you’re good. That’s it.
I assume you have organized your documents before stepping into the POEA building. My documents were in one folder when I submitted them. You basically have to wait until your number along with the window number flashes on the TV screen. When it happens, go to the assigned window to submit your documents. Though my passport and all other original documents were all-time ready, the lady responsible for checking them only checked my original red-ribboned employment contract. She instructed me to just give her all photocopies. And I happily did.
After all documents are submitted and double-checked to be complete, you will then get a copy of the checklist of requirements with instructions what to do after. In short, you need to wait like three to five working days until you see your name on the list of direct hires with POEA Clearance.
When you see your name, be happy. But surprise, surprise! You’re not done yet. You have to comply with the following yet another set of requirements.
Always check this list for your name. You have to be early at POEA if you’d like to get your OEC on the same day after your PDOS training. And take note, I got my PDOS at POEA Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue. It’s a different story if you are in Cebu or any other satellite branch. So, better check POEA website for more and accurate information.
Create An Account: PEOS & eServices
- eServices Profile: You need to create an account. Once done, print out your profile. (10-15 minutes)
- Submit a valid medical certificate issued by a DOH-accredited medical clinic authorized to conduct medical exam for OFWs.
- PEOS Certificate: Create an account, undergo a Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (online) and print out the certificate. (10-15 minutes)
- Attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). A certificate will be issued right after you have completed the seminar. (2 hours)
PDOS is a mandatory program which workers must attend before being given clearance to leave the Philippines to work overseas. You need to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar before you are given clearance to leave the Philippines to work or immigrate to another country.
NOTE: Don’t feel lost. The guard on duty can help you out. Again, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Make sure to photocopy all documents. I make it a habit to have at least 2 back ups/photocopies per document. Once done with your PDOS, go back to the Direct Hires section where you need to get yet another queue number. You need to submit photocopies of the following:
- eServices Profile.
- Medical Certificate.
- PEOS Certificate.
- PDOS Certificate.
Besides, submitting the above documents, you also need to fill out the OFW Information Sheet which will be provided to you. The Direct Hires personnel told me to wait after submission. I waited around 30 minutes until finally I heard my name being called out. I was told it’s time to make a payment. It was the final step. And it was quick. I got my OEC, finally.
I exited the POEA, excited on my way to airport. Yes, it was the toughest moment for me because I had booked my flight already. And I was scheduled to take the flight at 7:00PM. The OEC was issued to me at exactly 12:15PM. The schedule was really tight. But I made it. You KEN do it too.
Going Back To The PH As Balik-Manggagawa
What happens when you go back to the PH? Do you have to secure yet another OEC? If it’s your first time to go back to the Phillippines after working abroad, then YES you must go back to the POEA to get your OEC. You must secure an appointment here. Print it out and bring it to the POEA branch of your choice. If you have worked overseas and have not secured an OEC, it’s fine. You are forgiven. Create your account here and follow the steps above on getting an authenticated employment contract.
At POEA, there is a Balik-Manggagawa section. Don’t hesitate to ask the guard where to start. Prepare the following:
- original contract
- work/residence permit (stamped on your passport)
- previously-secured OEC if available
- computer print-out of your BM Online Account
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