Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong can take insurance out of their own pockets for themselves or their families in the Philippines, but did you know that as an OFW-OWWA member, you also get to enjoy crucial benefits such as access to loans, training, cash assistance, and more?
But here’s the catch, the only way to fully maximise these benefits is to ensure that your OWWA membership status is active. And the good news is: renewing your membership can easily be accomplished even as you are still based in Hong Kong.
If you want to get all the benefits that come with being a member off OWWA, then make sure your member status is active, so you won’t get into a snag when you approach the POLO-OWWA in your country to claim any of the assistance or social benefits offered by the agency. In this guide, we will share with you important information as to how you can do so, even while you’re living in Hong Kong. Keep reading to learn more.
Domestic Helper’s Guide: How To Renew OWWA Membership in Hong Kong
As mentioned, it’s crucial for OFWs in Hong Kong to renew their membership in order to receive the most benefit from OWWA. This ensures that they are getting the most out of their funds. Who doesn’t want that, right?
Through OWWA, the DOLE carries out various welfare programs for OFWs. These include education, health, and insurance for all migrant workers. These are also granted regardless of their status. Here are some of the member benefits you can enjoy as an active OWWA member:
- OWWA Financial Assistance
- OWWA Social Benefits
- Seminars and OFW Training
- OWWA Benefits for Beneficiaries:
- Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
- Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
- OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (OFWDSP)
- Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP)
- Information Technology (IT) Training Program
- Welfare Assistance Program
- Repatriation Assistance Program
- OWWA Rebate Program
- OWWA Benefits for ex-OFWs
- OWWA Reintegration Program
- Balik-Pinas! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Program
As you can tell, there’s much to gain for active OWWA members, so make it a point to keep your OWWA status active.
So here it is: you can apply for membership in OWWA after you complete an appointment at the organization’s Hong Kong office. This procedure requires that you have scheduled an appointment.
What are The Requirements to Apply/Renew OWWA Membership in PCG-Hong Kong?
If you’re ready to apply/renew your OWWA membership soon, then here are the things that you need to obtain or prepare to accomplish this task:
- OFW Information Sheet (Membership Form) – download it here
- Your valid and original Passport
- 2 copies of your Certificate of Employment / Contract Verification – you can request this from your company/employer to verify that you are not on the list of employees due for termination/cancellation/resignation.
- OWWA membership fee (ranging from Php 1,000 to Php 1,500 or around 196 HKD)
Here are the documents that you need for your contract verification:
- Two sets of your original standard employment contract
- A copy of your employer’s Hong Kong ID, with their contact information written on the same page.
- A copy of the domestic helper’s Hong Kong ID, with contact information written on the same page.
- The domestic helper’s passport (original and photocopy)
- A new copy of the worker’s employment visa
- An accomplished OFW Information Sheet
- Payment for Contract Verification worth 80 HKD
How to Set an Appointment for Contract Verification at POLO-HK
So before you can renew your OWWA membership, you first need to book an appointment for contract verification at the POLO-OWWA in Hong Kong. Listed below are the steps in doing so:
Step 1: Go to the POLO Hong Kong’s website (www.polo-hongkong.com).
Step 2: Click ‘Schedule an Appointment’ then click ‘Individual Contract Verification.’
Step 3: Choose your preferred appointment date and then click ‘Search.’
Step 4: Choose your preferred time for your appointment.
Step 5: Click Proceed.
Step 6: Fill out the information required in the Domestic Worker’s Personal Information Appointment Page. This includes the following:
- Your complete name
- Your passport number
- Email address
- Contract number
- Contact number (Hong Kong only)
Step 7: Select ‘Renewal of Contract’ for the purpose of application.
Step 8: Fill up the rest of the information fields required in the Appointment System.
Step 9: After you have reviewed all of the information you have provided on the page, click ‘Submit’. If you wish to edit any of the information you provided or cancel the booking altogether, you can select ‘Change Date or Cancel Booking’ instead.
Step 10: Access your email’s inbox and check a confirmation message regarding your appointment.
Step 11: Print a copy of your appointment confirmation and bring it with you on your scheduled date to the OWWA-Hong Kong office.
Here’s How You Can Pay for Your OWWA Membership/Renewal in Hong Kong
When you get to the POLO-OWWA office in Hong Kong, you need to follow these steps to pay for your membership fee:
Step 1: Present your document requirements at the POLO-OWWA office on your scheduled date of appointment.
Step 2: Pay the renewal/membership fee of 196 HKD. Do note that you may have to pay other fees, such as the POLO contract verification (where needed).
Step 3: Keep the receipt for the payment. This will be your proof that you have renewed your membership in OWWA that will be valid for the next two years.
Tips and Reminders When Applying/Renewing your OWWA Membership:
Renewing your membership in OWWA through the POLO office here in Hong Kong, as you will learn, is a simple task to do, if you carefully follow the requirements and guidelines. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to get some tips and useful feedback on how you can get this procedure done as smoothly as possible, right? So here are some tips to remember when applying/renewing your OWWA membership here in Hong Kong:
- Be advised that before going back to the Philippines, you should visit the POLO-HK office to verify your contract in order to avoid any complications when returning to Hong Kong.
- If there is no available slots for your preferred appointment date, you can just pick an earlier or later date.
- Make sure that all of your requirements are complete and accurate. If they are not, they will not be handled.
- Be sure to report on time on your appointed date of application or renewal.
- You will only be given one appointment slot. So if you booked more than one appointment for the same schedule, POLO-HK will confirm the earliest available schedule and forfeit the others.
- All documentary requirements for evaluation must be submitted at Window 3.
- The OWWA Information Sheet, however, must be submitted at Counter 5.
- Meanwhile, on Counters A and B, you can claim your validated employment contract, which will only be available after three to five business days.
- Make sure to wear your face mask whenever you visit the POLO-OWWA office in Hong Kong.
- Everyone in the office is expected to observe safety and health protocols, as well as order, at all times.
- The OWWA membership receipt will be given to you on the day you file your application.
VIDEO: Pinay OFW Shares Her Experience in Renewing OWWA Membership at POLO Hong Kong
You might be wondering how the process will go once you get to OWWA. In this video, a Filipina OFW takes us on her trip to file an application at the POLO-HK office. This was after she booked an appointment online. She came into the POLO office, which we will share with you the directions later on, and overall, it was a quick trip for her. She just filled out some forms and then paid the membership fee. And that’s it!
Do note that you have to bring all the documents that you need to submit for your contract verification.
After three days, she went back to the POLO office to pick up her validated employment contract. It was very easy, so you shouldn’t worry about getting a headache in processing this document here in Hong Kong.
Guide: How to Get to Hong Kong’s POLO-OWWA Office
Getting to the POLO-OWWA in Hong Kong is easy. You can take the MTR (red line) then get off at Admiralty. Take the Exit D then you will find United Center. Head into the building and go up to the 29th floor to get to the POLO office. Do note that the POLO-OWWA has relocated to this place since Sept 2020.
Here is the Google Map Location of the site for easier reference:
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are walk-ins allowed at POLO-OWWA?
Yes, however, those with appointment schedules will be prioritized. If you want to complete your business at the POLO office ASAP, then make sure to book an appointment. This is also to limit and monitor the foot traffic in the office, especially now that public safety is still at risk.
- Aside from my OWWA membership renewal fee, are there any fees that I still need to settle?
The OWWA membership fee is 196 HKD (between Php 1,000 and Php 1,500). You also need to pay the contract verification fee which is 80 HKD for domestic workers.
- Are the fees the same for both skilled/professional and domestic workers?
No. As mentioned, domestic workers such as drivers, gardeners, and domestic helpers pay 80 HKD for the contract verification. But skilled workers/professionals need to pay 160 HKD. This is based on the average salary grade for skilled workers/professionals here in Hong Kong.
- What are the other OWWA services I can get at POLO Hong Kong?
Aside from renewing your OWWA membership, you can also sign up for training courses offered by OWWA. You can check with the POLO-OWWA Hong Kong website (https://owwamember.com/renew-owwa-hong-kong/) for the latest announcements or follow them on their official Facebook page to get updated on the latest news and events hosted by this agency.
- Can I settle my OWWA membership fee without verifying my contract?
Unfortunately, while this may be costly, you need to settle both. This is because your employment contract will be your official document, proving that you have the right to remain on the island – that is, for work purposes. Moreover, OFWs who plan to go on vacation must have a valid contract they can present at the airport to prove that they have work to return to after their vacation in the country.
So if you’re a domestic helper, you need to set aside 276 KD for your employment contract verification and OWWA membership renewal, which is valid for two months, so this is also around the time you will renew your contract; hence, the need for the employment contract verification by OWWA.
Without a doubt, applying/renewing your OWWA membership as an OFW here in Hong Kong is a must. This is one way you can protect yourself, should any untoward incident happen to you while at work (but knock on wood). You know that you can get some help, in the form of cash assistance, loans, and even training if you decide or are forced to return home – for whatever reason, to the Philippines. OWWA will be there to have your back.
The good thing here is that the process of OWWA membership application/renewal in Hong Kong is so easy, you don’t have to worry about anything. Just make sure to obtain all the necessary requirements, and then book a schedule for your appointment, and you should expect to receive your verified contract + membership renewal in just a few days. Simple as that! So, what are you waiting for? Make sure to keep your OWWA status active so you can fully enjoy the benefits offered by OWWA to its members and their dependents back in the Philippines!
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