Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO): Everything You Need to Know

The Overseas Filipino Workers are well assisted abroad through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office situated in different countries where they work. This Philippine government office works with the Department of Labor and Employment in order to ensure that all Filipino migrant workers get all the help they need abroad.

However, POLO offices are now referred to as MWO offices which started just this year since the integration of this office to the newly-created agency called the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). They implement labor programs and policies to protect the rights of every OFW while promoting their interests and welfare on the global scene. A Labor Attache manages the POLO office and leads the labor force including welfare officers, staff workers, administrative assistants, locally hired staff, and the assistant Labor Attache.

polo philippine overseas labor office explained

What Is POLO?

POLO stands for Philippine Overseas Labor Office and has been established to implement Philippine labor laws and programs to promote and protect the well-being of OFWs in their job sites. It supervises and manages the Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center to create a temporary venue to extend the services and programs offered by POLO.

As the operational arm of DOLE, POLO reports to the Labor’s Office Secretary in order to administer and enforce the initiatives and policies that affect OFWs. As of this writing, there are 34 POLO offices located in different parts of the world: 3 in the United States, 7 in Europe, 11 in Asia, and 13 in the Middle East.

Benefits of POLO Services

The main benefit of having POLO offices in countries where OFWs work is that they are protected in terms of their rights as employees. POLO also ensures that they have fair working conditions, especially for first-time OFWs. Other benefits that POLO offers include social benefits, repatriation assistance benefits, reintegration programs, welfare programs, training benefits, and education scholarship programs.

polo office logo
POLO Labor office logo

Purpose and Functions of POLO

The key purpose of POLO is to protect and support OFWs by helping them exercise their rights and privileges. It collaborates with host countries and Filipino communities to promote their welfare and guide them to become successful. The following are the core functions of POLO:

  • Administers and enforces lawfully enacted programs and policies in designated geographic areas.
  • Helps OFWs with employment-related documents such as contracts to ensure they are on the right track. POLO also collects fees for OFWs and creates contract models that fit certain job sites.
  • Implements foreign exchange remittance for Filipino migrant workers to their beneficiaries or families in the Philippines.
  • Assists consular or diplomatic mission to establish and sustain goodwill and friendly relationship between the host country and the Philippines.
  • Answers concern related to employers and assist OFWs in overcoming problems that may arise in their job site.
  • Informs the Department of Labor regarding the developments in labor programs including economic, social, cultural, and political dimensions.
  • Submits special and regular reports, and defends the well-being of OFWs in any circumstances.
  • Understands and cooperates with the host government to help disseminate information about employment policies and other labor-related programs.
  • Serves as POEA’s representative and DOLE’s marketing agent to review contracts with employers based on the negotiating rules of POEA.
  • Performs additional responsibilities that the Secretary assigns or delegates according to the law.

Services and Programs Offered

Community Networking. Together with the Philippine Embassy, the POLO reaches out to Filipino communities across the globe. To get involved with the community, here are the programs that POLO is committed to implementing:

  • DOLE/OWWA Microsoft Tulay Project. This offers courses including digital imaging, hardware maintenance and assembly, and computer fundamentals.
  • Overseas Labor Education Program. This program educates interested OFWs and Filipino community leaders on their responsibilities and rights under Philippine labor laws and other policies that may affect them.
  • Reintegration Preparedness Program. This supports the efforts of FILCOM organizations in planning and preparing for reintegration. The most popular among these endeavors is the Filipino Cooperatives and Savings Associations.

Community Outreach. This includes institutional events, socio-cultural activities, and leader’s forums.

Custodial Program. Provide female OFWs with temporary housing after a bad experience with their overseas employer. This transitional housing facility helps OFWs rebuild their lives while moving on from any bad experiences.

Employment Promotion. Verify all employment documents from prospective employers who want to recruit OFWs. The POLO of host countries performs this important service to ensure that Filipino migrant workers have valid jobs abroad.

Financial Assistance Programs. After joining the Fund, OFWs are eligible for any benefits that PAG-IBIG members enjoy exclusively. They can apply for short-term loans for hospital expenses, small business capital, house repairs, and appliance purchases.

Overseas Employment Certificate Issuance. Vacationing OFWs or those who are on leave and will be returning to the same overseas employer are required to obtain an OEC or exit clearance. The POLO processes this document for OFWs with a 60-day validity period from the issuance date.

OWWA Membership. Whether it’s an elective or mandatory coverage, OWWA participation is valid after paying the membership contribution until the contract expires. OWWA members are insured and entitled to the benefits for two years unless they renew again.

Reintegration Preparedness. This includes financial, entrepreneurial, literacy, value formation, skills training, business counseling, and development training.

Workers Protection. In protecting OFWs, this program includes counseling, mediation, repatriation assistance, requests, and shelter provision.

Video: Paano Mag Sign Up o Mag Register sa POLO OWWA

In this video, you will get a step-by-step guide on how to sign up and register for OWWA membership through POLO. It also includes some helpful tips on how to verify employment contracts for OFWs so watch until the end.


Now that you know everything about the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, rest assured that you are protected while working abroad. You can also reach out to the nearest POLO office in your host country to ask for assistance in case you need their welfare services. More importantly, POLO is the place you go to when you need to acquire an OEC so make sure you are familiar with this agency.

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