Moving away from the Philippines to work in another country is a difficult process. You need to adjust to a new culture, learn to speak a new language, and rely on yourself and a handful of friends in your new country.
But I also believe that your twenties is the best time to go out of the Philippines, travel abroad, earn a lot of money as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and save for your future.
Government agencies & their websites you need to know:
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) – This agency can verify the license status of your recruiter. Don’t trust just about any agency who recruits you to work abroad. Check with the POEA if they are legitimate and if the duly accredited.
Overseas Workers Welfare Authority (OWWA) OWWA is not under the wing of the POEA, but of the Department of Labor and Employment. OWWA provides assistance, not just to the OFW himself/herself, but also to his/her dependents.
Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System (BM Online). Before you leave the Philippines, you will need to have some clearances and forms. In order for you to avoid paying for the Travel Tax (P1,620), you need to have an Overseas Employment Certificate. Thankfully, you can have this document done online now. Although, you still need to visit a POEA office in person for the first time.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Make sure you know the address of the embassy in the country you are going to. List down all the emergency contact numbers you need to know just in case an emergency happens and you need to evacuate.
Other Tips as You Go Abroad
- Thanks to all the technologies available now, it is easier to communicate now. Before leaving, prepare your Social Media accounts and messaging apps and give them to your friends and loved ones.
- Put all your important documents in a safe, plastic container. Scan them. Take a photo and store them on your phone. And make copies. Send the copies to people who care deeply about you.
- Get more information about the country you will visit–culture, customs, food, and any potential difficulties you will face once you get there.
- Develop a plan to save money and for how long you intend to work abroad. Please prepare this plan now so that you will not make the mistake of spending all your life abroad.
- Make friends in the foreign country where you will be working. Proverbs 27:10 (NLT) states ” It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.”
- Do not upgrade your lifestyle right away. It’s easy to buy all the gadgets and spend a lot of money on yourself and on the people depending on you. Resist that temptation.
- Educate yourself on how best to manage your money.
- Do not send too much money back home. I know it is hard to resist sending lots of money. But always remember that you also need to live and prepare for the future. Do not be too consumed by the present.
- Set a deadline for working abroad. It will help if you have a plan. Don’t make working abroad as your life-long job, unless you intend to be a Permanent Resident or a naturalized citizen of the country you are going to.