As an OFW, you might encounter some difficulties abroad in the course of your work. You can report your concerns with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
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The Legal Assistance segment of POEA can help OFWs in distress. Whether you are a victim of an illegal recruiter, your employer abused you, or some government staff forced you to pay extra fees, you can submit your concerns here.
How To File Your Report
If you have a legal concern that needs the help of POEA, your first step is to report it to their legal assistance team. You can either report to POEA personally. You can also file your report online.
According to the efrennolasco.com website, the Legal Assistance segment helps the OFW to file their complaints. It also provides legal advice so workers will know their rights. Both parties can also request conciliation, so they can see if they can peacefully settle the issue. If the amicable settlement is not possible, then the legal segment will assist the OFW during the initial investigation and court hearing.
Steps on Filing a Report to POEA Physically:
- Proceed to the Legal Assistance Division of POEA’s central office in Ortigas. Go to the 4th floor where you will fill out a verification form. The guard on duty will give the form.
- Submit the duly accomplished form to Window 3, the Licensing Branch, also on the 4th floor. This is to verify the names of people or agencies.
- Ask for the OFW Information Sheet at the Central Records Division located on the 6th Floor
- Give the OFW Information Sheet to the officer at the Legal Assistance Division. Wait for your turn to be called.
-When the officer calls your name, you will have your initial interview with the legal officer. You will receive counseling or legal assistance regarding your complaint
- Submit the complaint form to the legal officer and swear under oath the contents of your complaint.
- The legal officer assigned to you will process your complaint. The officer will send your form to any of these units: Conciliation Unit, Adjudication Office, or Public Prosecutor/Fiscal.
- If your complaint is for conciliation, you could go to the 2nd floor.
- You can also proceed to the 3rd floor to file your complaint at the Docket and Enforcement Division.
Steps on Filing a Report to POEA Online
If you cannot visit the POEA office, you can file your complaint online.
- Go to http://legalassistance.poea.gov.ph/
- Fill out the needed information. See the picture for reference
- Scroll down to the page where you can report the details of your concern. See the picture for reference.
- You can also add evidence to make your report more credible. After completing your details, you can submit your information. See the picture for reference.
- Wait for the reference number that you can use to follow up your case.
- Keep in mind that you will still need to appear at the POEA office to make your formal and valid complaint. The option to submit the complaint online is only the first step.
If the OFW is based abroad, their relatives in the Philippines can also file the complaint for them. In the end, fellow Filipinos abroad can also help their kababayan in reaching out to the government.