What Every Overseas Filipino Worker Must Know


Overseas Filipino workers continue to toil abroad hoping to improve the lives of their families back home, exposing themselves as well to the common problems relating to their employment. 

A Guide recently published and released in leading bookstores caught my eye because it addresses many of the issues that any overseas Filipino worker may find difficult to deal wth, much less understand.

The Book is in Tagalog and entitled, “Gabay sa Karapatan ng OFW”.  The author is Atty. Elvin Villanueva, an HR specialist who has a clear grasp of Philippine labor laws.   When asked to describe what his book is about, Atty. Villanueva or “Elvin” readily sent me his book’s synopsis which I am re-posting here for the benefit of readers who are working abroad or who have relatives working in other countries.

Elvin Villanueva’s summary:

This work focuses on the fundamental information that every OFW  should know.

With this guide, OFWs can get a clearer understanding of basic issues such as:

  • placement fee,
  • repatriation expenses,
  • labor offices abroad and
  • illegal recruitment.

Early chapters deal with the organizational structures of POEA, OWWA and other government agencies so you’ll know  know how to use these offices when enforcing your rights. 

Labor laws

Knowing the officers involved in addressing OFW’s concerns is the foundation of understanding them. Labor legislations involving overseas workers are also discussed such as the recent Migrant Workers’ Act which highlights the amount to be paid to an illegally dismissed employee.


Learn how to file cases against employers or agencies. This book teaches you the step-by-step process in enforcing claims starting with filing of complaint, mandatory conferences, filing of position paper, etc.

Solidary liability of foreign employer

Another interesting discussion is on the solidary liability of foreign employer and the local agency. In case of illegal dismissal of an OFW, who shall be liable for backwages and damages? Likewise, is the OFW a regular employee? These are interesting questions that are clearly answered in this book.

Other topics include:

  •  large-scale illegal recruitment,
  • illegal recruitment by syndicates,
  • bilateral labor agreements,
  • mandatory remittance system,
  • VISA, passport and documentation
  • OFW claims for disability and
  • death claims.