A Short Story on my Journey to becoming an OFW in Malaysia

It was sometime in May when I received a call from an international number. It was a job opportunity to work in Malaysia. I was surprised that the person at the other end of the line was a Filipino. And so she gave me what kind of opportunity awaits for me and a bit info about cost of living and taxation. She then referred me to My Pinoy Lah (one of my most visited web sites now). And since then I started reading there. I asked and started a thread about how much should be my asking salary. And so began my interest in working abroad. I saw the benefits (and the cons) as well.

Single Entry Visa

I had a two application to work for Malaysia. One is direct-hire and the other one is through an agency. I was actually referred by one of the moderators of the forum. The first one to offer is the agency, and so I grabbed it. I think I was very lucky to have a Filipino recruiter as well - very helpful and very professional. I was hired last week of May and had resigned from my previous job to render 30-days notice.

So, for those who wants to try to work in Malaysia, here are the steps of the process that I've gone through:

1) The timeI got hired, I was asked to submit several documents via e-mail. It includes scanned copy of all pages of my passport, employment contract of previous company, educational documents (diploma, TOR), and my signed contract to work in Malaysia. These documents will be used for the stage 1 processing of my employment visa.

2) My agency has partnered with IKON, which is a recruitment agency as well, to help me process my documents that I need while still here in Philippines. I went to IKON and brought my passport and have signed forms including PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG. I think that is for the update of status to OFW. They have also arranged my medical exam in San Marcelino clinic located at Manila.

3) The medical exam costs 3,500 pesos. I was able to complete my exam after 2 days since I was not informed that one test needs fasting. Also, I was also advised for dental cleaning, pasta and tooth extraction. It costs me additional 1,700 pesos.

4) Several days after, I received the Calling Visa via e-mail. I went to IKON and they helped me prepare all necessary documents for visa stamping at the Malaysian Embassy at Makati. Here you just need to sign up a form, pay 550 pesos and wait for 3 working days before release. Note that you should wear proper dress code and come early as they do not accept applications after 11 AM.

5) The following day I attended PDOS (Pre-Departure Orientation and Seminar) which is a required step for all OFWs. Here you will be taught the step-by-step procedure at the airport, what/what not to bring, thoughts of being an OFW, managing finances, and a brief background about your destination country.

PDOS Certificate

6) Soon after the release of my visa from Malaysian Embassy, I received my ticket. My flight is 6:30 AM at NAIA 4 (the old Domestic Airport). Note that this visa is a single-entry visa only. The multiple-entry visa will be processed once you are in Malaysia.

7) One day prior to my flight day, we are given orientation by IKON - step by step procedure on what to do in the airport and what to do upon arrival. It is advised that you should be in the airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled flight.

My own checklist of documents before going to the airport Passport stamped with visa Plane ticket Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) PDOS Certificate POEA certified employment contract Calling visa (to be shown on arrival) Instructions from employer

8) The flight day. Honestly I can't sleep before the flight. It was a mixture of excitement, sadness and nervousness. I was only given up to 20 kilograms of baggage so I have to leave some things behind. I was not also informed that there is no POEA counter in NAIA Terminal 4 (old Domestic Airport), so we have to go to NAIA Terminal 1 first to have my OEC stamped then back again to NAIA 4.

9) In the airport, the steps you have to go through is similar to local flights except for the immigration counter. First you need to have your baggage checked-in. The limit depends on the ticket you bought. For Zest Air, you need to pay 700 pesos per kilogram of excess baggage. So, I just decided to leave some things.[divider]

10) Next is the immigration counter. You need just need to fill-out a form and answer their questions. After the immigration, you have to get your boarding pass stamped with travel tax exemption. You just need to show your OEC (which is already stamped by POEA right?). Make sure you still have at least one copy of OEC.

11) Next is the boarding area where there will still one inspection of your hand carry baggage. Just open your bags and show whatever you have in there.

12) Finally, wait for your boarding. Have a final glimpse to your motherland and wish yourself a good luck and a safe trip. This will also be a good time to activate your roaming SIM if you plan to have a roaming number outside Philippines. I used Sun Cellular prepaid SIM here. One text to any numbers in the Philippines will cost 5 pesos only but I need to maintain at least 100 pesos load or it will be deactivated within 48 hours.

Final glimpse of Manila before flight

13) Travel time from Philippines to Malaysia is around 4 hours. So, you can bring a reading material or just sleep. As for me, I slept.

I hope this short guide could help our fellow Filipinos who wants to have a job abroad specifically in Malaysia. The process to other countries could have similarities as well especially those steps related to POEA. My next post would be about the things you need to know upon arrival in Malaysia.

Selamat Datang ke Malaysia!

Mark Hugh Neri

Looking for financial planning workshop or for life and/or health insurance with investment options? Got questions related to personal finance? Feel free to message me at Money Gizmo (see link below)

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