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POEA amends policy on deployment of health workers

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has amended its policy to allow more health care workers (HCWs) to work outside of the country.

POEA issued Advisory No. 47-A Series of 2020 entitled “Health Care Workers (HCWs) that are Allowed to Depart for Overseas Employment in View of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 40, Series of 2020″ on June 2, 2020.

In the Advisory, POEA now allows returning health workers with OEC exemption certificates, seafarers previously hired as doctors and nurses, together with those who have perfected and signed employment contracts on or before March 8, 2020. Here’s the full text of the Advisory:

On 02 April 2020, the POEA Governing Board issued Resolution No. 09 Series of 2020 (GBR No. 9 Series of 2020) imposing temporary ban on the deployment of newly hired and Balik Manggagawa/returning health care workers (HCWs) under the Mission Critical Skills (MCS) until the national emergency and travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

As an exception to POEA GBR No. 9, Series of 2020, however, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on 13 April 2020 approved Resolution No. 23, Series of 2020 providing, among others, that, lap medical and allied healthcare professionals with perfected and signed overseas employment contracts as of 08 March 2020 shall be allowed for deployment abroad upon the execution of the Declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved as advised by the Philippine government.”

Lately, on May 27, 2020, the IATF-EID also issued Resolution No. 40, Series of 2020 lowering the standards of community quarantine in different regions in the country enabling OFWs to travel and process their documents to the POEA and other relevant agencies/offices.

In view of the above Resolutions, there is a need to modify POEA Labor Advisory No 47, Series of 2020 and allow the following HCWs to depart for their overseas employment:

1. Balik Manggagawa/ returning health care workers with OEC exemption certificates; and,

2. New hire health care workers who have perfected and signed employment contracts on or before March 8, 2020, and upon securing overseas employment certificates (OECs) that shall serve as their exit permits. “New hire health care workers” shall refer to newly hired HCWs who are direct hires, recruitment agency hires, including Government Placement Branch hires who were already accepted under the program of the host country.

3. Seafarers who are previously hired as doctors and nurses, and will be deployed by the same licensed manning agency.

HCWs allowed to depart under this Advisory are expected to observe POEA Memorandum Circular No. 7, Series of 2020 and GBR No. 9 Series of 2020 particularly those in compliance with the quarantine protocols, social distancing measures, as well as departure and immigration procedures currently in place.

HCWs shall be prohibited from departing to countries with travel restrictions in place.

It is further understood that excluded from the temporary suspension covered by GBR No. 9 Series of 2020 are those outbound passengers who possess visas that are not regulated by the POEA such as those with US J1 visa, permanent residents, immigrants, or dual citizens of other countries.

Copies of the Declaration forms that shall be accomplished by the departing workers are attached hereto.

This advisory takes effect immediately and supersedes POEA Labor Advisory No. 47, Series of 2020.
For the information and guidance of all concerned.