Now You Know | Basic Guide for OFWs Planning to Work Abroad

December 16, 2020  |  Unistaff

Basic guide for OFWs planning to work abroad article header

Are you searching for opportunities to work abroad? Before you even begin, the key is to make sure that your application process is done correctly from start to finish!

It’s not enough to simply aim for securing a good offer or contract. To help you navigate the complex process, we’re here for you every step of the way.

You will need to do extensive research to make the right decisions. But there is so much information out there! That’s where we come in to help ease your burden. We regularly share informative articles, with trusted sources and links to verified partners. Then you can feel confident to take action. So stay with us and make sure you read until the end of this installment of: Now You Know!


At first, everything might seem confusing. There are multiple requirements and deadlines. But with the right knowledge and expert guidance, you can make the application process as efficient as possible. With your commitment and hard work, you can avoid any issues or mistakes and get to your desired destination smoothly. Your ultimate goal is to become a legitimate and documented Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). Make sure you follow the process and that your requirements are complete. Then you will be on your way to landing your dream job overseas!



What does “working abroad” really mean?


The term “working abroad” or “overseas employment” can mean different things. It depends on a number of factors:

  1. Where you go → Destination Country

  2. Who you work for → Employer

  3. Length of stay → Contract Type and Duration


Working abroad is a process. As you determine the best way to work abroad it’s important to think of all the details involved. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure these things out.

Essential tips to help you secure work abroad inforgraphic


Where do I file an application for working abroad?

There are two legitimate avenues where you can file an application for working abroad:

  1. Private Recruitment Agencies licensed by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)

  2. POEA Government Placement Branch (GPB)

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is in charge of approving licenses for and accrediting local recruitment agencies. This means that as long as the recruitment agency is accredited, you are assured that all its operations and your application processes are in compliance with Philippine law.

Ensure that the recruitment agency you intend to work with is POEA licensed. Protect yourself by learning how to avoid illegal recruiters

Before you apply, start by first verifying an agency is licensed and POEA-compliant through the POEA website. Make sure that it is not among those who are blacklisted by the POEA. This will ensure that all your effort, time and money will not go to waste.

If you choose to submit your job applications through online portals, make sure to send them only through credible sites such as


POEA screenshot


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What documents do I need to be able to apply to work abroad?

Check out the infographic below to know about the basic set of documents required when an applicant is successfully hired through a recruitment agency. 

 Basic Documents Required for Working Abroad


What are some of the steps in a legal deployment process?

road map

Here are some of the procedures during a legal deployment process:


Interview with the Employer

interview with employer

Agencies may directly send applicants’ resumes to foreign employers via email. Then, the employer will reach out to those who have passed the screening stage. Only these shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview. This will be set on a specific date and can be conducted safely online. In some cases, the employer may directly contact applicants they wish to hire by sending an acceptance letter. 


Employment Contract Review

Employment contract review

The employment contract or job offer should specify details about the company making the offer, the job title, job description, duration, salary, benefits, and working conditions, to name a few. If the contract is not in English, the applicant must secure a copy in English. It is the applicant’s responsibility to carefully read through and understand the contract details in full before signing it. 


Submission of Required Documents

Submission of require documents

After securing an employment contract to work abroad, successful applicants need to fulfill document requirements including: passport, NBI clearance, transcript of records, passport photo, license if necessary, and training certificates. 


Undergoing a Medical Exam

medical exam

All aspiring OFWs must take the pre-employment medical exam. The resulting medical certificate proves that they are fit to work abroad and fulfill the specified job opening. To be efficient and not waste money, the medical exam must be done only after passing the employer’s interview and being hired. 


Discussion of the Terms and Conditions of Employment and Signing of Contract

businessmen shaking hands

Once an applicant passes the medical exam and trade test, the next step is to sign the employment contract. At this point, the applicant should have fully studied and understood all provisions stated within the contract. This is also the appropriate time to ask questions or raise concerns, if there are any. 

REMEMBER: Do not sign the contract or pay any fees unless you fully understand and agree with the terms and conditions. Always demand a receipt once payment is made. 


Processing of Documents with the POEA and Relevant Embassies or Entities

POEA logo

At this stage, the partner agency proceeds to process the applicant’s documents with the following entities:

  1. Relevant Foreign Embassy – Visa issuance/stamping

  2. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) – for registration and documentation of employment contracts as well as issuance of e-Receipt or Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC)

  3. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – if certain documents need translation and authentication (e.g. employment contract written in a foreign language)


Attendance to PDOS

PDOS logo

Applicants need to attend the compulsory Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) before leaving the country. Learn more about the PDOS and how it can help you prepare for working abroad.


Validation at the Airport and Departure 

departure area at the airport

Before heading to the airport, applicants need to make sure they have their important documents with them. Upon arrival at the airport, they must proceed to the POEA-Labor Assistance Counter and have their documents validated before attending to other airport procedures.


How do I prepare for securing work abroad? 

When it comes to working abroad, there are plenty of opportunities. But take some time to focus on the first step. You must have a clear goal for what type of work you wish to do and which country you aim to work in. Be organized and set up a plan for yourself. Although the process is long and the requirements may seem never-ending, make sure that you are organized. When it comes to managing paperwork, don’t leave anything out. 

When in doubt, you can always rely on industry experts. Partner up with a reliable and reputable recruitment agency who can guide you every step of the way. You can also join specialized communities designed to help you succeed and reach your goals. 

When you invest your time, money and effort into a compliant and correct recruitment process, all your sacrifices will definitely pay off. Keep working smart and you will reach your goal of working abroad!


Got more questions?

You’re always welcome to ask us anytime! Take a look at our international job openings, and click below so that our recruitment team can 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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