The Cost of Working Overseas

P66,400. That is the total estimate of Rappler on how much it costs to deploy a construction worker to his new job site in Qatar from the Philippines. But this estimate should not be shouldered fully by the worker alone. This must be a combined resource of the worker, his future employer, and the responsible recruitment agency.

Venturing out for possible opportunities to work abroad isn’t free. Apart from deciding the life beyond your comfort zone, considering the cost of flying outside the country is an important concern too. Admiring for a higher salary overseas might also cost you a substantial amount. Is it costly to work overseas? How much does a candidate have to shell out from his pocket to reach his dream job abroad?

As a slice of the government’s mandate to protect the rights of overseas workers, the financial aspect of landing a job abroad was regulated by Republic Act 9042 (RA 8042) or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act through the Philippine Overseas Employment Program (POEA).

Apparently, there are three major types of fees workers should settle before they could be sent abroad namely; Documentary, Medical and Insurance, and Placement.

Documentary. Basically, documentary requirements such as passport (P950 if regular; P1,200 if express); NBI clearance (P115); and PSA-issued birth certificate (P140) should be settled by the worker personally. If only applicable, certificates from the Office of Muslim Affairs, TESDA-issued Certificate of Competency, PRC-issued professional license; and transcript of records from CHED or DepEd should also be processed by the applicant candidate.

Medical and Insurance. As required, the medical examination should be shouldered by the worker depending on the fees provided by DOH-accredited clinic. It is only in a case when the deployment is delayed, and the medical certificate expires (3 months) that a retake should be shouldered by the recruitment agency. The worker is also obligated to pay for his own contribution to PhilHealth (P2,400 per year), Social Security System (depending on monthly salary), and Pag-IBIG (P100 per month).

Placement. Lastly, the placement fee that is usually equivalent to the worker’s one-month basic salary. While any POEA-licensed agency is permitted legally to collect this fee but not all recruitment agencies ask for their workers to pay for this. This can only be paid once the worker already has his plane ticket and travel documents.

Seafarers, household workers and caregivers and those who will be deployed to USA, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, and some parts of Canada are barred from paying for placement fees.

A bigger portion of the cost will be shared by the employer and recruitment agency which includes; POEA processing fee, OWWA membership contribution, mandatory insurance, visa fees, roundtrip airfare, Pre- Departure Orientation Seminar, and accommodation, as well.

Aspiring OFWs need not suffer debt bondage just to go abroad. By choosing a reliable and ethical recruitment agency, especially those who are compliant with recruitment policies and those who don’t charge unjustifiable placement fees, working overseas is never an impossible dream.

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