How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate

How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for a Filipino worker

So you’ve had a job application from the perfect Filipino worker for your New Zealand business, and you want to hire them – but you find out that they can’t legally leave the Philippines, because they don’t have an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). What do you do? How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate – and with minimum time and stress?

First of all, what is an OEC?

An OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) is issued by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration). In New Zealand this is managed by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO), which is based at the Philippines Embassy in Wellington. POLO is a branch of the Philippines government agency, DMW (Department of Migrant Workers).

The OEC verifies that the applicant is a registered Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). It’s valid for 60 days, and allows the holder to exit the Philippines for work purposes. The OEC is valid for a single exit from the Philippines.

There are other benefits to holding an OEC too: the holder is exempt from travel tax and airport terminal fees, and the spouse and dependents pay reduced rates of travel tax.

Who should apply for the OEC?

The OEC process requires documentation from both the worker, and from the employer. The process can be confusing if you’re not used to it: after all, you need the correct documents; and send them to the right agencies – which can be challenging as you’re dealing with overseas government agencies working in a foreign language.

For minimum hassle, we recommend engaging RecruitNZ to take care of the whole process for you.

3 great reasons to engage RecruitNZ to manage your OEC applications

Here are three good reasons why it’s worth working with RecruitNZ to take care of your OEC applications:

  1. Experienced in the OEC process: our work is fast and streamlined to make it easy for you.
  2. We have Filipino speakers in our team who specialise in migrant recruitment and all the processes that go with it. They are used to dealing with OEC applications and are up-to-date on Philippine government requirements.
  3. RecruitNZ has a partner agency in the Philippines that works in with us. Having trusted and capable help on the ground is absolutely invaluable, especially if there are any issues.

How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate? A guide for NZ employers

The OEC process is quite specific, and has to be done in a certain order. Here’s how it fits into the overall international recruitment process.

  1. Employer accreditation: The very first thing you need to do is to become an Immigration NZ accredited employer. Our People Inc partners, VisaAide and ConsultingHQ work closely with the RecruitNZ team for the whole international recruitment process. It’s an end-to-end service, that covers everything on this list– and you’ll have a single point of contact throughout, so it’s all easy and straightforward for you.
  2. POLO job order: Job order documentation needs to be submitted to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Wellington.
  3. POEA accreditation: Employers must register with the POEA and obtain a license to recruit workers from the Philippines.
  4. Recruit a Filipino worker: RecruitNZ can help you with the whole interview and selection procedure, including online interviews and trade testing – find out more about our Filipino recruitment agency services.
  5. Employment contract: The employment contract must meet (a) NZ employment law, (b) requirements for the Accredited Employer Work Visa, and (c) Philippine labour laws and regulations. RecruitNZ can easily create this for you as part of our recruitment service.
  6. Accredited Employer Work Visa: Our People Inc partner, VisaAide, will work with you on the Accredited Employer Work Visa process.
  7. OEC application: There are two phases of documentation. Firstly, there are documents from the Filipino worker that need to be submitted. This involves verifying their qualifications, providing a company profile, and a letter from POLO. RecruitNZ can manage this for you, and we’d already have all the information needed from the recruitment process. The second phase of documentation involves submitting labour-related documents, medical certificates, pre-employment orientation seminar certificates, and more. Again, we already have all the documentation for this from the recruitment and visa application processes. Or if you’ve already covered off the recruitment and visa process yourself – but need help with just the OEC application, we can certainly help you with that. Contact us to find out more or to get started.

Note that the employer pays for the OEC application. Find out what other costs employers need to cover when hiring Filipino workers.

Do you need help with your Overseas Employment Certificate application?

RecruitNZ works with employers NZ-wide on OEC applications. We’ve got an experienced in-house team ready to help you, as well as a partnership agency in the Philippines for support. Contact us to find out more.


How to get an Overseas Employment Certificate is an involved procedure in itself – and needs to be done at the right stage of the overall migrant recruitment process. If you need any help with any element of international recruitment, contact our experienced consultants for advice.

What our clients say about RecruitNZ

“The team at RecruitNZ has been working with us to bring immigrant construction workers to NZ. They have handled the recruitment process from initial screening to interviewing to liaising with various governments. Their consultants are invaluable to our business. Their local knowledge of the Filipino employment market and government processes is instrumental to ensuring a smooth, efficient recruitment process. They know exactly what we are looking for in an employee and deliver every time.”

Katie Geck - Proclad

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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