Many of us may already have an idea on what the requirements are for travelling and working abroad. For domestic helpers targeting to work in Hong Kong, the two primary requirements to be presented at the airport along with one’s travel documents are:
- A valid overseas employment certificate (OEC), which is issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration; and
- A valid medical certificate for Land-based Overseas Workers from the any Department of Health-accredited medical clinic.
Without either of these, domestic workers cannot leave the country for work overseas, as airport officials will check the medical certificate as well as the OEC for their validity.
What is the Need for Medical Certificates when Working Abroad?
That being said, a “Medical Certificate for Land-based Overseas Workers” can only be requested from any clinic accredited by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). The document will state whether a worker is “fit” of “unfit” for work abroad, and indicates test results for physical health, pregnancy, as well as psychological health.
The certificate is valid for three months from the date of issuance, but release may take a couple of days. The result sheet must be shared with both the worker and their potential employer.
The purpose for the requirement of a medical certificate as per the Hong Kong Standard Employment Contract for Domestic Helpers (Clause 17), is to ascertain that a worker is physically fit for employment as a domestic helper.
As mentioned above, medical examinations and certificates must be issued by any DOH-accredited clinic which can be identified on the POEA website.
By this, DOH-accredited clinics have a nationally standardised format for carrying out examinations which covers a specific set of tests for physical health, pregnancy, and psychological health.
The examination fees typically range from PHP 2,600 to PHP 4,000, with those conducted further outside of Manila being the most expensive.
Furthermore, these tests may be requested to be done again in order to be officially recognized as “fit to work” for overseas employment.
Initially, the worker shall pay for the medical examination and health certificate to be availed from DOH-accredited clinics locally, but upon approval for travel abroad, the worker can present the receipts to have the fees reimbursed by their employer as per the Hong Kong Standard Employment Contract for Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong (Clause 8). Also, some agencies cover this fee or have them reimbursed upon successful placement, so it’s best to discuss these things with your agency and employer, where applicable to sort any loose ends.