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PCG won’t endorse OFWs taking up work in 3rd countries for police clearance

26 October 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

Saret says the Consulate is keen to prevent 3rd country deployment from HK

Filipino migrants in Hong Kong looking to work abroad cannot expect to get an endorsement letter from the Consulate for a local police clearance, in what appears to be a crackdown on third-country deployment.

Consul Paulo Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section which issues the endorsement letter, said today, Oct 26, that only Filipinos who apply for a visa to a third country for valid reasons other than work will be given an endorsement letter.

He ruled out issuing an endorsement letter for those who terminate their employment contract in Hong Kong so they could go to popular third country destinations such as Canada, Poland or Russia.

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In line with Philippine labor regulations, all Filipino workers abroad who want to move to a third country will have to go back home first, and go through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration again.

The government in Manila imposed the third-country deployment ban decades ago to protect Filipino workers from falling victims to human traffickers and illegal recruiters in their host countries who charge then ridiculously high fees for fake jobs.

In June this year, the POEA warned workers in the Middle East and Taiwan of rogue recruiters who were offering jobs in Poland for high fees. The POEA said the promised jobs turned out to be illegal work or inexistent.


Recruiters in Hong Kong have also been attracting Filipinos here lately with promises of high-paying skilled labor jobs in Poland, such as factory workers. They mostly charge a $40,000 fee for invitation letters from purported employers and other costs.

The POEA said in its advisory that the recruited workers often encountered problems in their employment or immigration status once they were in Poland.

According to the Hong Kong Police, it is standard practice for some consulates, immigration or government authorities of other countries to require visa applicants to submit a police clearance.


The police have made an endorsement letter from the consulate as a fundamental requirement for issuing a “certificate of no criminal conviction” (CNCC).

“We do write an endorsement letter to the police for Filipinos who are applying for a police clearance, just for the police to know that the request for a clearance is not frivolous,” said Consul Paulo.

“Usually those who are applying for a visa from a third country approach us for a letter of endorsement,” he said. The arrangement gives the ATN a chance to interview the clearance applicant about where he needs it for.

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He said some request for a clearance from the police because they are applying for an entry visa to, say, Canada. For the Consulate to issue an endorsement letter, the applicant must have a valid reason to go there, not to break their employment contract here in order to take a job in that country, he said.

“If you still have a contract, why are you going there? You need to go back to the Philippines,” Saret would tell an applicant.

A public post boasts of a Polish visa being issued to a worker in Hong Kong

He said he won’t write an endorsement letter for a worker who is seeking police clearance because she needs it to apply for a visa to countries that have no labor agreement with the Philippines, as that violates the government’s ban on third-country deployment.

Saret said normally, those who are issued an endorsement letter are Filipinos with fiancés in Australia or elsewhere who produce a letter of invitation stating they are being asked to go to the fiancés’ place.

“So, we ask them, are you legally allowed to get married? That’s because if they are married in the Philippines, no way because that will be basically bigamy,” he said.

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If the applicant says she is single and will not go there to seek another employment, then the ATN gives her an endorsement letter, Consul Paulo said.

“But we make sure the applicant won’t break her legal contract with the employer and won’t breach our policy on prohibition against third-country recruitment,” he said.

There are Hong Kong people who also approach the ATN for an endorsement of their application for a police clearance, as they want to settle in the Philippines, especially if they are keen to obtain a retirement visa, the consul said.

On the Hong Kong Police website, it says an endorsement letter from the consulate must contain the applicant’s name and indicates that he is required to produce the CNCC.

It should also have a postal address of the consulate, immigration authority or government authority, as the CNCC will be sent directly to them by registered mail.

The Hong Kong Police said the request letter is considered to be valid within one year from its issuance date.

The police charge a processing fee of $225 per applicant that can be paid in cash, by Octopus card, EPS or crossed checks, while the Consulate’s endorsement letter is free of charge.

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