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5 Tips If You Want to Work Abroad

By Jules Vivas

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According to a 2019 World Economic Survery (WEF), over half of Philippine youth, aged 15 to 35-years-old, have aspirations to work overseas. There are various reasons why young Filipinos look for jobs abroad, from the high youth unemployment rate in our country, to job insecurity, to more.

Let’s face the fact that people find it hard to make ends meet with their salaries, and the opportunities abroad are competitive and lucrative. As more and more young Filipinos opt to work abroad as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), many are deceived by unauthorized recruitment agencies–given false documents, assignments to a job different than what was promised, or even robbed of their hard-earned money.

It has, sadly, happened time and time and time again.


To make sure no one falls victim to illegal recruitment, here are some tips and reminders when looking for work opportunities abroad:

Tip #1 – Only Apply at POEA-licensed Recruitment Agencies

The first thing a job seeker needs to check is whether the recruitment agency is authorized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) to operate. People should only transact with authorized representatives and agencies that have official job offers.

The license number should be conspicuously displayed by the entrance of the agency. You may visit to verify if it is indeed licensed, or go through, which generates data from the POEA under the Validate POEA License tool.

The status of this license can change anytime, and it can be a good basis to determine whether a particular recruitment agency has been performing well or not. Status-wise, be wary of agencies whose current standing with the POEA are: Delisted, Cancelled, Preventive Suspension, or Forever Banned.

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Tip #2 – Transact Within Registered Business Addresses

Never, ever, ever engage in any recruitment activities done outside a registered business address. If a shady person introduces himself as a representative of a recruitment agency and prefers to meet in public places like malls, residential areas, or restaurant, you run!

Jokes aside, the legal way of securing a job is through POEA, and not through questionable, out-of-office transactions. If a recruitment is conducted in the province or during a job fair, make sure the agency has a Special Recruitment Authority (SRA) or Job Fair Authority issued by POEA, or ask the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the concerned local government unit.

Photo by Kalpha

Tip #3 – Be Mindful of Fees

Victims of illegal recruitment reportedly play an exorbitant amount of cash for placement and processing fees when they shouldn’t. Be reminded that a placement fee is the only fee mandated by law, and should not be more than a month’s salary.

Employers should shoulder payments for visas, airfare, and processing costs. More importantly, do not pay without signing a valid employment contract and getting an official receipt.


Tip #4 – Only Accept Job Offers with Work Visas

Illegal agencies send people abroad on tourist visas, usually offering unclear and unspecific job orders. Only acceptable work visas will allow OFWs to avoid possible legal conflicts in other countries. It is a clear, clear, clear red flag if the agency is vague about any legitimate work visas.


Photo by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Tip #5 ­– Report Illegal Recruiters

Although a promising job offer could be pretty tempting, it is also one’s accountability to be on the lookout for unauthorized recruiters. Should an agency seem to be suspicious or fail to meet the standards mentioned above, immediately report it to POEA by contacting 722-11-44, or

Explore credible career opportunities overseas through POEA-accredited recruitment agencies through

Source: Manila Bulletin

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