POEA to stop issuing Exit Clearance to OFWs with Open Work Permits

POEA recruitment agencies for Canada

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced that it will temporarily stop issuing Exit Clearances to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) bound for Canada with Open Work Permits under the Government of Canada‘s International Mobility Program.

The POEA said in a statement that it “documents the employment overseas of Filipino workers with a valid work visa or work permit and a signed employment contract verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office or Philippine Embassy or Consulate nearest their work site.”

Open Work Permits are immigration documents issued by the Government of Canada‘s immigration agency Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allow OFWs to seek employment from any Canadian Employer who is allowed to hire foreign workers.

In most cases, Canadian Employers must meet the Government of Canada’s minimum requirements in order to hire foreign workers.

Open Work Permits are issued to foreign workers under different circumstances, usually after having met a certain criteria.

Employment Contracts between Canadian Employers and OFWs under an Open Work Permit are usually not required to be verified by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) which has jurisdiction over the province of employment.

POLO officials verify and authenticate all Employment Contracts of OFWs from the Philippines to make sure that their prospective Canadian Employers are following the minimum provincial employment standards, as well as Philippine Government requirements.

Employment Documents must be verified by POLO before an OFW can apply for an Exit Clearance prior to departure for Canada.


More than 50 recruitment agencies in the Philippines had informed the POEA that they are closing their offices temporarily due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said that the Philippine Government agency is looking for ways to assist the recruitment agencies.

One way the POEA will try to help is by extending the licenses of the affected recruitment agencies.

“We will not only give direct aid to them but provide for automatic extension of their licenses … We will not impose some of our regulations so that we can help them,” Olalia said.

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