The Beginner’s Guide to Work Abroad

Interested to work abroad, but not sure where to begin? The application process may seem confusing at first, but perhaps we can get you started.

1. Research. Are you really prepared to work abroad? It may be tempting to say yes right way, but you may not know enough to make a decision. As with any other job, it pays off to study the factors that will affect you in the long run.

If you are planning to work in a particular country, look up things like culture, working conditions and employment laws. For instance, are you qualified for the jobs you’re looking for? Are there language requirements? What expenses are there, and will you be able to afford them?

The POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) offers a Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) – available at their office or online - that provide answers to these questions. You can also talk to relatives or friends who’ve experienced working overseas so you have firsthand knowledge on what to expect.

2. Search for job openings. After getting a clearer idea of what to expect, start looking up available jobs overseas. These can be found through POEA-licensed agencies, though POEA also has its own agency called the Government Placement Branch.

A word of caution: When considering an agency, always make sure that it is licensed by POEA and has approved job orders. With the increase of OFW applications, illegal recruiters are also becoming more common. Do not pay any processing fees before you are sure of employment, and always ask for a receipt.

3. Submit application. Once you are decided on a job, you can submit your application to the agency, along with other requirements. These include, but are not limited to:
• A copy of your resume with a 2x2” photo
• Personal data sheets
• Transcript of records
• College diploma
• A copy of your passport
• Employment certificate/s
• Valid NBI clearance

4. Evaluation and Testing. The agency will conduct an initial evaluation, followed by further screening measures such as interviews and/or exams. If you pass these, you will be asked to take a medical exam at DOH-accredited clinic. The medical exam involves laboratory tests, as well as physical and psychological tests.

While you’re almost sure to be deployed at this point, failing your medical exam can still hurt your chances of working abroad. It would do well to rest well before the exam, and to avoid fatty food, cigarettes and alcohol at least a week before.

A skills test may also be required, which should be taken at a TESDA-accredited center.

5. Contract Signing. Upon passing the medical exam and skill test, you will be given the employment contract to read and sign. Make sure you read through this very carefully before signing. If there is anything unclear, by all means, ask for it to be explained.

6. Pre-Departure Seminar. Before departure, you will be required to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). This will further help you prepare to adjust to conditions in your country of employment.

7. Processing. After completing the seminar, you will be awarded with a PDOS Certificate of Attendance. This, along with other documents, must be submitted to the POEA for processing.

Bring enough money to pay for the following fees: POEA processing fee, OWWA fund and PAG-IBIG fund contribution, medical insurance coverage and visa fee. The visa fee will depend on your country of employment. Again, always ask for a receipt!

8. Exit Clearance. Wait for the release of your OEC, which will serve as your Exit Clearance. It will also exempt you from paying the Philippine travel tax and airport terminal fee, and reduce travel tax for dependents. Make sure you bring this with you to the airport.

Once you have all your travel documents, you’re ready to go!

Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea of applying for work abroad jobs. For more information, check out the official POEA site at

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