x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Online scheme eases travel for UAE Filipinos

Filipinos in the UAE can now avoid some hassle by making an online appointment to get an exit permit from the Philippines which allows them to return to the Emirates.

ABU DHABI // A system that allows Filipinos to book an appointment to get an exit clearance came online yesterday.

The document exempts overseas workers from paying travel taxes and terminal fees at the Philippines' international airports, and proves they are employed legally.

UAE residents who failed to apply for the certificate ahead of a trip home may now do so online. The document costs 100 pesos (Dh10).

Those who wish to get their certificates on a specific date and time can apply at the main office of the Philippine overseas employment administration (POEA) in Mandaluyong City, at Duty Free Philippine in Paranaque City and at SM Manila.

"The online appointment system is similar to the one introduced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and our embassies and consulates for passport applications," said Hans Cacdac, head of the POEA, from Manila. "This would pave the way for an online processing system by the first half of next year."

In January, Mr Cacdac said the government wanted to ensure that the online system would not be exploited by illegal recruiters.

"We're still working out the technical requirements to make this possible," he said.

Filipinos are encouraged to use the online appointment system during the peak months of March, April, May, November, December and January when the bulk of overseas workers go home on holiday.

The appointment service is free and available at bmappointment.poea.gov.ph

Applicants must present a passport with six-month validity, a valid work permit or visa, proof of work such as a certificate of employment, company ID and pay slip.

Various fees are required, including Dh92 to the overseas workers welfare administration, valid for two years; 1,200 pesos for a one-year Philhealth coverage plan; and 100 pesos for the home development mutual fund, or Pag-Ibig fund.

Nasser Munder, the labour attache in Abu Dhabi, welcomed the online appointment system.

"It came at the right time," he said. "I hope Filipinos in Abu Dhabi will make use of the service when they are back home."

On any given weekday, the labour office in Abu Dhabi processes 200 applications for these certificates, but this number can double in June and December.

rruiz@thenational.ae