As the pandemic eases in some parts of the Philippines, many workers are already returning to offices (RTO), if not, some remains working at home while others opt for a hybrid work set-up. But the thing is, higher number of jobless Filipinos have been reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which entails a maximized number of job seekers across the country. Unfortunately, even if they did land a job, the salary will not suffice to support their family needs especially in the presently increasing prices of commodities and fuel products.
The underlying desperation regarding this matter is the very reason why Filipino job hunters fall into illegal recruiters and scammers. Due to the extreme desire of finding a great source of living, they forgot to introspect so their hard-earned or borrowed money might disappear like a puff of air in an instance. Ignorance of the law excuse no one especially if you have the means to eradicate it. For someone who aspires to work abroad, you should be aware of the fees you’re requiered to pay as well as the ones your employer must shoulder. Just to give you a glimpse, in order to land a job abroad, you are expected to pay from around PHP 28,000 to PHP 358,400, depending on your wage and country of employment, according to Migrant Forum in Asia.
In this article, we will shed light to the most crucial requirement some recruitment agencies ask from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), which is the Placement Fee.
What is Placement Fee and why is it required?
By law, recruitment agencies are allowed to charge deployed OFWs placement fees. This fee is required because recruiting workers is such a risky business that agencies must reserve a fund just in case something happens to the deployed worker. This implies that even if an OFW is already employed abroad, the deploying agency are still accountable to the applicants.
How much should a Placement Fee be?
Recruitment agencies with POEA licenses are permitted to charge placement fees equal to the deployed OFW’s one month’s salary. Due to additional fees like broker’s fees, some countries, like Taiwan, may charge fees that are higher than one month’s pay. However, you should pay this amount in installments.
When should one pay the Placement Fee?
Applicants should not pay the placement fee until after they’ve secured an employment contract. At this time, they have the option of paying only half of the placement fee. When the agency provides the OFW with a plane ticket and other necessary travel documents, the remaining half may be paid. Before an employment contract is completed, placement fees should not be collected by recruitment agencies. Applicants should keep in mind that any agency or recruiter who requests payment immediately is definitely acting illegally.
Why is it that some OFWs get to work out of the country without paying placement fee?
The collection of placement fees is prohibited in various deploying countries, including United States (for those under H2B visas), United Kingdom (UK), Netherlands, Ireland, and some parts of Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan). Additionally, other OFWs are fortunate enough to avoid paying placement fees since their recruiting agency has found a potential employer who is willing to cover the expense on the candidate’s behalf. If you’ll work in one of these countries that ban placement fee collection, report to the POEA if your recruiter is still charging this fee.
Who are exempted from paying placement fees?
Philippine law prohibits seabased recruitment agencies from charging placement fees and any other recruitment fees to seafarers. Household service workers (HSWs) and caregivers are also exempted from paying placement fee.
What other fees should be shouldered by the OFW?
The OFW is required to shoulder the payment for the following:
- Passport: PHP 950 (regular) / PHP 1,200 (express)
- NBI/Police/Barangay Clearance: PHP 115 for NBI Clearance (Police and Barangay Clearance fees vary depending on location)
- Philippine Statistics Authority-authenticated birth certificate: PHP 330
- Medical/Health exam: Amount varies per clinic
- PhilHealth contribution: PHP 2,400
- Pag-IBIG contribution: PHP 100
What are the fees that must be shouldered by the employer and not the OFW?
The fees for the following must be paid by the employer:
- Visa (including the stamping fee)
- Round-trip airfare
- Work permit and residence permit
- POEA processing fee: PHP 200
- OWWA membership fee: USD 25
- Transportation from the airport to the job site
- Insurance coverage
- Additional trade test/assessment, if required by the employer
What are the fees that OFWs are exempted from paying?
OFWs are exempted from paying airport fees and travel tax. They just need to present their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or any other documents from POEA to avail this privilege.
Reminder: If the recruitment agency is charging you fees that are not included in the POEA rules, you can report such a recruitment agency to the POEA via its hotline (722-11-44 / 722-11-55) or email ([email protected]). Every cents count so be vigilant and avoid illegal recruiters and human traffickers!