3 Ways to Verify if Your Recruitment Agency is POEA Licensed

June 22, 2020  |  Unistaff


If you’re searching for opportunities to work abroad, you first need to confirm some important information before engaging with any recruiter about job openings.


Many Filipinos aspire to work overseas with the goal of supporting their families in the Philippines. And with this goal as their focus, they are easily enticed by every job offer that comes their way. It is quite common for them to overlook the most essential details that they need to validate before engaging with recruiters and their lucrative job offers.

As of June 13, 2020, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has 1,269 agencies, registered with valid licenses within their database.

Despite this, illegal recruiters are still out there. And unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion among job seekers when it comes to identifying whether a recruitment agency is legitimate or not.

We have seen many aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) suffer through terrible experiences. And we are going to help you avoid the pitfalls that others have encountered. You need to protect yourself from misinformation and equip yourself with the knowledge of how legal recruitment agencies should operate, or else you can be at risk to losing your hard earned money.




Don’t be a victim of illegal recruitment. Learn how to determine the legitimacy of agencies and job offers.


What Makes a Recruiter Legitimate?

Unistaff job hiring post sample


Employment agencies should first and foremost be licensed by the POEA to operate and to be able to place workers abroad. But your observation should not stop there. Our previous post about illegal recruiters will help you learn more about the Do’s and Don’ts of applying abroad.

The following essential factors will confirm whether a recruiter is legitimate or if the job they’re presenting is valid.


License Number

Unistaff license number

This is the rule for overseas recruitment in the Philippines. If there is a job abroad for Filipino workers, you can only apply for it via a local recruitment agency. And that agency must be accredited by the POEA. 

If the agency does not have a POEA license number that means the company you are applying to is an illegal recruiter.


Employer Accreditation Number

Employer accreditation number

A foreign principal or employer must undergo a process of accreditation through a licensed staffing agency and the POEA, the central governing body for overseas workers in the Philippines.

This is a crucial step that legally authorizes a foreign principal or employer to recruit Filipino workers.


Job Order

POEA Job Order screenshot
Source: http://www.poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/JobVacancies/jobsByAgency.asp


A Job Order refers to the job posting or requisition. A Work Order is specific to that worker and that job. It includes an agreed-upon hourly billing rate, cost allocation, length of assignment, and other elements used to track that specific combination of person and position.

The agency will only contact the qualified applicant when the Job Order has been approved by the POEA and there is already an employer ready to interview and hire applicants.

If you want to work abroad quickly, it is not enough that you apply for overseas job openings. You need to apply for an overseas job opening with an approved job order from the POEA.

To check whether the position you’re targeting has an approved Job Order, visit the POEA Job Orders page and select the recruitment agency you intend to apply with from the drop down menu.


Where to Search for Licensed Recruitment Agencies?

POEA webpage screenshot
Source: http://www.poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/aglist.asp?mode=all


Visit the POEA Website to confirm the legitimacy of any recruitment agency. It contains the Status of Recruitment Agencies.

You will be able to see for yourself and determine whether that specific manpower agency you’ve just heard of, or perhaps had a meeting with, is accredited or licensed by the POEA to operate in the Philippines.

It would benefit you greatly to learn more about the POEA, and how they serve aspiring OFWs like you.


POEA verify a job opening infographic


You can also go to the POEA office located at Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA Mandaluyong City. You can go directly to the customer service representative inside the building and inquire about the status of the agency. This option will cost you time and money. We recommend trying to call or send an email first. Your questions might be answered and save you from having to make the trip.


What Details to Check in Recruitment Advertisements?

POEA Recruitment Ads photo


What is Considered as a Recruitment Ad?

The POEA states that advertisement for overseas employment shall include the publication of job vacancies in any form of communication, such as press releases, printed materials, or advertisements in radio, television, cinemas, internet, social media and other electronic forms, billboards, moving and human advertisements, and ad boards.


What to Look for Inside an Ad with Approved Job Orders?

1. Name, address and POEA license number of the agency;

2. Name, address, POEA registration/accreditation number and worksite of the accredited principal/employer;

3. Skill categories and qualification standards; and

4. Number of available positions and salaries net of foreign income tax.


What to Look for Inside an Ad for Manpower Pooling?

Licensed recruitment agencies may advertise for manpower pooling when the prospect employer has not secured approved Job Orders yet subject to prior approval of the POEA and compliance with the following conditions:

1. The advertisement shall indicate the phrases using large font sizes in the ad:

  • “for manpower pooling only”
  • “no fees in any form and/or purpose will be collected from the applicants”
  • “beware of illegal recruiters and human traffickers”

2. The advertisement shall specify the following:

  • name, address and POEA license number of the agency
  • name and worksite of the prospective or accredited principal/employer
  • the skill categories and qualification standards


Who can Advertise for International Recruitment?

Accredited principals or employers may advertise overseas job vacancies only through POEA-licensed recruitment agencies or through the Administration.

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It is wonderful to have big dreams and aspire to create a better livelihood through working abroad. To make this happen and avoid illegal recruitment traps, keep yourself well-informed. Proactively seek accurate information and save yourself from all the terrible things caused by those who offer quick and fast results. These are always too good to be true. And you know very well that there are no shortcuts to success.

Gaining a better understanding of how legitimate Philippine-licensed agencies work is key to making your dreams a reality. As always we’re here to support you every step of the way, to help you achieve your career goals!


Think you’re ready to apply for a job abroad? Take a look at our international job openings, and click Apply Now! Our recruitment team will review your CV immediately.

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Unistaff Content Team

This article was put together by Unistaff's team of researchers, creative writers and content creators. We pride ourselves by publishing the most updated pieces of content in our blog section to enable you to make well informed decisions.

Universal Staffing Services, Incorporated

Universal Staffing Services Inc. (POEA License No. 35-LB-022019-R) has been a trusted International Permanent Staffing Firm for more than two decades, maintaining its prestige and reputation as one of the best in the country. Our source of pride comes from placing over 30,000 top-class professionals in the Gulf Region, Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, United States, and Europe in Academic, Engineering, Skilled, Administrative, Hospitality, IT and Healthcare settings.

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