Why POLO Verification of Contract Takes a Long Time for Canada-Bound OFWs

The pursuit of better opportunities abroad has been a long-standing aspiration for many Filipino workers, with Canada emerging as a promising destination. To facilitate the overseas employment of Filipino workers (OFWs) in Canada, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) plays a pivotal role in the verification of contracts between Canadian employers and aspiring OFWs. While the prospect of approved job opportunities in Canada elicits hope and excitement, the intricate process of securing the POLO Verification of Contract presents a significant hurdle for both parties involved.

In this article, we delve into the challenges encountered by Canadian employers seeking POLO Verification of Contract for prospective Filipino employees. As these employers strive to comply with the extensive requirements set forth by POLO, they often find themselves navigating a complex web of regulations and paperwork. Consequently, this intricate process sometimes leads employers to abandon the endeavor altogether, leaving eager Filipino workers in a state of uncertainty and delayed employment prospects.

polo verification of contract canada
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.

POLO Verification of Contract: Navigating Challenges for Filipino Workers Seeking Employment in Canada

The information presented in this article comes from a YouTube video from the YouTube channel, Menchie’s Fil-Can Life. In this video, the vlogger explores the process of verification of employment contracts for Canada jobs, which has been reported by many Filipino applicants to take a long time to be approved. The vlogger features a checklist of documents that need to be submitted by the employer to the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver or Toronto. These documents are extensive, which the vlogger believes is a measure to ensure that the job contract is authentic. However, the vlogger also heard from viewers that some employers are having difficulty complying with the requirements, and the process is taking longer than the 7-day timeframe set by the Philippine Consulate.

The vlogger also includes the Guidance on Verification of Employment Contract that is posted on the Philippine Consulate of Vancouver website. This guideline reflects the latest advisory about limiting the direct hiring of workers to Canada, and instead encouraging applicants to apply through recruitment agencies. The vlogger hopes that this video will provide some insights into how to make the process faster so that workers can proceed to working in Canada as soon as needed.

The following is the link to the original video:

The process of applying to work in Canada has undergone significant changes, introducing various new requirements, with one of the most crucial being the verification of employment contracts. For Filipinos seeking overseas employment, the Philippine government mandates that their work contracts must be verified to ensure their authenticity, legality, and legitimacy. This step serves as a protective measure for both the Filipino workers and their prospective employers abroad. However, while the intention behind this verification process is noble, it has inadvertently led to prolonged waiting times, causing a ripple effect on both job seekers and employers.

  • Verification of employment contracts is a crucial step for Filipinos seeking work in Canada.
  • The process aims to ensure contract authenticity, legality, and legitimacy.
  • Prolonged waiting times due to verification process affect Filipino workers’ job prospects.
  • Canadian employers may opt for other candidates who have completed verification or are Canadian residents.
  • The intricate process deters some employers from hiring Filipino workers.
  • Extensive requirements and paperwork contribute to delays and frustrations.
  • Personal appearances at Philippine Consulates in Canada add to the complexity.
  • Efforts are needed to streamline the process for more efficient employment opportunities.

As aspiring Filipino workers await the completion of the POLO Verification of Contract, time becomes a precious commodity, and the extended waiting period can take a toll on their dreams of working in Canada. The elongated processing time has led to instances where employers, already in need of immediate workforce, choose to look for candidates who have already completed the verification process or are Canadian residents. Consequently, this delay not only affects the individual Filipino worker but also contributes to the perception that Filipino job seekers might not be the most expedient option for employers, potentially leading to missed employment opportunities.

The POLO Verification of Contract process has not been without its challenges, and employers, too, have faced difficulties with this intricate procedure. In some cases, the onerous requirements and extensive paperwork have deterred Canadian employers from proceeding with hiring Filipino workers, causing frustration and disillusionment. Some employers have regrettably turned away from considering Filipino candidates altogether, citing the complexity of the process and the additional burden of needing to be physically present at the Philippine Consulates in Toronto or Vancouver.

To gain insight into the multitude of requirements and documents necessary for the POLO Verification of Contract, interested parties can refer to the official websites of the Philippine Consulates in Toronto and Vancouver. A cursory glance at the extensive list of requirements reveals the multitude of documents that need to be submitted, making the process inherently challenging and time-consuming. The need for personal appearances at the consulate adds further complications, especially for Canadian employers who may face logistical challenges in attending in person.

Checklist of Requirements for MWO Verification and DMW Registration

Documentary Requirements:

  • Letter request to MWO / Labor Attache: Submit a request for verification of the list of documents submitted.
  • Manpower request / job order: Addressed to PRA / FRA, indicating the position, salary offer, and quantity of workers needed.
  • Individual Employment Contract: For hiring up to 5 workers per job order, ensure all pages bear original signatures (in wet ink) of the Employer, dated, and a scanned copy of worker’s signatures subject to validation.
  • Master Employment Contract: If hiring more than 5 workers with the same position at once, include a master contract.
  • Contract (addendum) for every individual employment contract: The addendum should be signed and dated by both the worker and employer or authorized representative with original signatures (in wet ink).
  • Passport copy with worker’s signature.
  • Visa copy of worker.
  • Government-issued ID with photo and signature of employer or authorized representative: Acceptable IDs include Driver’s license or passport copy.
  • Company Registration / Copy of Certificate of Incorporation with Notice of Articles with board Resolution: The COI should show the Board of Directors / owner of the company.
  • Board / Company resolution: Document authorizing a company officer or representative as the official signatory.
  • Copy of Valid Business License (Employer): In the absence of a business license, provide proof of active existence of the company.
  • Affidavit of undertaking by employer: Undertaking to comply with employment laws, including the prohibition on no-fee charging. Employer’s signature must be original (in wet ink) and the affidavit notarized.
  • Affidavit of undertaking by Philippine Recruitment Agency.
  • Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or Work Permit approval for LMIA-Free International Mobility Program (IMP).
  • Confirmation of Nomination (e.g. SINP, YNP).
  • Recruitment agreement between Canada Employer and Philippine recruitment agency: Notarized, signed, and dated by both parties.
  • Service / Hiring Agreement (if applicable) between Canada employer and Canada recruitment agency: Notarized, signed, and dated agreement to hire foreign workers.
  • Employer’s Company Profile and List of Filipino Employees: Business profile with relevant information about the company and its Filipino employees.
  • Employer’s Registration / License to hire foreign workers with BC Ministry of Labour (for BC employees only).
  • Employer’s Registration by the Ministry of Economy (FWRISA) (for SK employers).
  • Employment Agency License of the Canada Recruitment Agency / FRA: License to recruit foreign nationals and operate as an employment agency.
  • Agency Registration / License to hire foreign workers with BC Ministry of Labor (for FRAs recruiting workers to BC).
  • POEA License of Philippine Recruitment Agency and Passport copy of the owner.

From the list of requirements and documents for the POLO Verification of Contract process, several conclusions can be drawn:

  • Rigorous Process: The POLO Verification of Contract involves numerous documents and requirements, showcasing the thoroughness of the Philippine government in safeguarding Filipino workers’ interests.
  • Complex Interaction: The process requires coordination between Philippine government agencies, Canadian employers, recruitment agencies, and foreign workers, leading to potential delays and challenges.
  • Importance of Compliance: Emphasis on original signatures (in wet ink) and notarization highlights the significance of adhering to legal procedures and validating document authenticity.
  • Regional Variations: Specific requirements for provinces like BC and SK address unique circumstances and regulations.
  • Protecting Workers and Employers: The process aims to ensure fair employment conditions for workers and validate the authenticity of candidates for employers.
  • Potential Barriers: Extensive requirements may overwhelm Canadian employers, potentially leading them to explore other hiring options.
  • Room for Streamlining: The complex process offers an opportunity for authorities to review and streamline it, enhancing efficiency for all stakeholders.

As mentioned by the vlogger, there are fees to pay for the POLO Verification of Contract process, but they are relatively small, amounting to just 11.50 CAD.

The processing time for the verification is ideally around 7 days if all the required documents are complete. However, real-world experiences vary, and some applicants have reported significant delays. For some, it has been a frustrating wait of up to 3 months or more after their contracts were approved, and they are still awaiting the completion of the verification process.

Tragically, these prolonged delays have had adverse effects, leading some Canadian employers to make the tough decision of declining Filipino candidates due to the time-consuming process. In their need for immediate workforce solutions, employers may turn to candidates who have already completed the verification process or are Canadian residents, further exacerbating the challenges faced by Filipino workers seeking employment in Canada.

Guidance on the Verification of Employment Documents

  1. Effective 15 March 2023, all requests for MWO (POLO) Vancouver verification must satisfactorily comply with the revised checklist of documentary requirements.
  2. The revised Checklist includes the required Affidavit of Undertaking to be submitted by the Employer and Immigration Consultant, as the case may be. Another Affidavit of Undertaking shall likewise be submitted by the Philippine Recruitment Agency.

The Undertaking is aimed to ensure that Filipino workers are not being charged fees for the LMIA services and other recruitment-related fees. This new requirement is based on the new amendments to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Philippine laws and regulations likewise prohibit fees to be charged against the workers (which should, however, be shouldered by the employers). These prohibited fees include all services related to the act of hiring or recruitment or securing employment, such as LMIA, work permit, visa fee, airfare, POEA processing fee, OWWA membership contribution, among others.

This new requirement is also being implemented to address the increasing fraudulent practices among Immigration consultants who have reportedly been charging exorbitant fees against the workers, oftentimes without the knowledge of the employers. Fees being charged by some unscrupulous immigration consultants are being done in the guise of “immigration service.”

  1. Employers in Canada will be required to submit an affidavit of undertaking (which must be notarized by a commissioner of oath) that he will assume responsibility to pay for all recruitment costs, including LMIA work permit application, visa fee, airfare from the Philippines to the jobsite, POEA processing fee, OWWA membership fee, and insurance coverage for the workers. The employer shall also ensure that his immigration consultant or third party representative had not charged any recruitment-related fees against the Filipino worker and will undertake to reimburse the same should there be fees paid by the worker. This requirement will be required for both direct hire exemption as well as regular agency recruitment.
  1. Documents submitted must be arranged in the prescribed order or sequence for easy evaluation and processing. The list of documents sent for verification must be enumerated in the covering letter addressed to the Labor Attaché.
  2. Employers are advised to ensure that the employment contract/employment offer is dated and signed by the worker/employee and the employer ON ALL PAGES.
  3. MWO verification of the required documents is a requisite for registration by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the processing of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for the recruited or hired Filipino worker. The verification function is intended to ensure the legal existence of the employer/company, its financial capacity to pay the salary offered, and comply with the terms and conditions of employment. It also verifies the authenticity of the work permit of the worker.
  4. The hiring of Filipino workers by foreign employers or companies may be done through: (a) agency hiring; (b) direct hiring; and (c) government-to-government arrangement as agreed upon through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or bilateral labor agreements.
  5. As a general rule, Philippine laws and regulations allow the deployment of Filipino workers for overseas jobs based on agency hiring. This means that foreign employers or companies hiring Filipino workers must deal with and enter into a recruitment agreement with a duly licensed Philippine recruitment agency for the purpose of sourcing out, screening, and selecting suitable and qualified applicants. The Philippine recruitment agency shall be responsible for the submission and processing of the documents verified by MWO to the DMW, and shall assist hired or selected workers with all the pre-travel and deployment requirements in the Philippines, including the pre-departure orientation service (PDOs). As a protective measure, the PRAs shall be jointly and severally liable to the workers in case of contractual violations of the terms and conditions of employment.
  1. Direct-hire processing of contracts, on the other hand, is merely an exemption to the rule. It is not a matter of right. It may be allowed subject to certain criteria or conditions. The Migrant Workers Office (MWO) may or may not recommend direct hiring, which authority, however, rests solely with the Secretary (Minister) of the Department of Migrant Workers. Such being the case, direct hiring may be recommended or allowed on a one-time/one transaction basis only for company/business employers in Canada who are hiring up to a maximum of 5 workers (in lieu of the current practice of allowing piecemeal and cumulative processing of up to 5 workers). An employer who had previously availed of the direct-hire exemption will no longer be allowed to directly hire and is kindly advised to tie-up with, and process their contracts through a duly licensed Philippine recruitment agency of their choice.
  2. Filipino workers being employed on direct-hire must be for jobs belonging to TEERs 1, 2 & 3 only, of the updated National Occupation Classification (NOC) of Canada, and must be offered an hourly wage rate of not lower than the provincial/territorial/area median wage as prescribed on the Job Bank website (www.jobbank.gc.ca). Employers hiring Filipino workers under TEERs 4 & 5 will have to be processed through a Philippine recruitment agency.
  3. Submission of the application to our office for direct hire exemption shall, at all times, be done directly by the employer. No intermediary or third-party representatives shall be recognized, except those registered as recruitment agencies in Canada. Documents submitted by third-party representatives shall be disapproved and returned.
  4. Incomplete submission of documents, payments, or other deficiencies, including missing signatures, shall not be processed and will be immediately returned back to senders. Employers are advised to strictly comply with all the requirements to avoid delay. Release of verified documents shall be done within seven (7) working days after evaluation and completion of all the requirements. MWO Vancouver reserves the right to refuse applications which are not in conformity with the minimum requirements and standards prescribed under Philippine laws and regulations.
  1. All documents should be sent in two (2) separate sets or copies together with a self-addressed pre-paid return envelope (Canada Express Post, others) to the address below:

The Labor Attaché
Migrant Workers Office (MWO)
Labor Section
Philippine Consulate General
Suite 601, 999 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1

Sending two sets of documents and providing a self-addressed pre-paid return envelope ensures that the necessary verification process can be conducted promptly and efficiently. This practice helps expedite the evaluation and processing of the documents, allowing employers and workers to receive timely feedback and verified documents. The address above serves as the designated location to which all required documents and correspondences related to the POLO Verification of Contract should be sent.

The Philippine government has implemented strict requirements to safeguard the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) venturing abroad. Though challenging and demanding, this meticulous system aims to ensure the protection and legitimacy of employment contracts. However, the process can be delayed as some employers encounter difficulties in promptly submitting the required documents.

Moreover, the system has also drawn attention to certain concerns raised by the vlogger. There have been reports of applicants being compelled to spend additional funds as some agencies request extra fees for expediting document processing. While not necessarily fraudulent, these practices may place additional financial burdens on the applicants.

In summary, while the government’s efforts are commendable in safeguarding OFWs, there remain areas that require continuous monitoring and improvement to streamline the verification process and mitigate potential financial challenges faced by the applicants. Life is all about learning and growing though, and eventually, moving to Canada will be as seamless as it could be.