A lot of Filipinos are going overseas to work or immigrate in hopes that they will find greener pastures in other countries. With that, as a rule of the Philippine government, all Filipinos exiting the country for work will have to present an OEC or Overseas Employment Certifcate. This OEC is secured when processed by a duly licensed POEA recruitment agency. But, what about those people who are immigrating to Canada, how will they secure an OEC if they are not processed by a recruitment agency as they are applying for an immigrant status?
These have been a problem by a lot of Filipinos immigrating to Canada. With Canada being open for immigrants, and several immigration programs being open for people like Express Entry, Provincial Nomination Program and the most recent Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, exiting the Philippines without an OEC is a big challenge and a question for most of them. Do Filipinos immigrating to Canada need an OEC? What will they answer to the Immigration Officers when they ask for it?
I recently moved to Canada under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. When I left the Philippines, I only have my work visa stamped on my passport while my Permanent Resident application is still on process. When I exited the country, I was initially asked for my OEC. Obviously, I had nothing to present. I explained to the officer politely that I am immigrating to Canada and I am awaiting for the approval of my Permanent Residence. I also showed proper documents that I am under AIPP such as the LMIA-exemption letter from the Canada Embassy. I also presented them my Acknowledge of Receipt for my Canada PR application. And I am so thankful that I exited the immigration smoothly without being questioned. I know that my experience is not always how things end up for people like me. When you have been asked and the officer was not fully satisfied or not fully aware of the program, you may move to another officer. Just always make sure that you have the proper supporting documents that your application for PR status is already on process. Not all Immigration officers are 100% knowledgeable of our immigration programs. But one thing is for sure, one of them knows about it. Other immigration officers ask their fellow officers about the program when they encounter people exiting under these circumstances. One thing is very important, when the officer ask you, be firm and confident. Because when you get nervous and panicked, the officer might think that your motive for leaving the Philippines is bad or that you are lying of what you are telling them.
Best of luck to those fellow Filipinos leaving the Philippines to move here in Canada. I wish you all the best and I hope this post will be helpful to you.