What is the Medical Certificate and why are domestic helpers required to get it?

A domestic helper leaving the Philippines to work must have the following documents in order to be allowed to leave the country:

  • A valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which is approved by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
  • A valid Medical Certificate for Landbased Overseas Workers from the Philippine Department of Health-accredited Medical Clinic

Without these documents, domestic helpers cannot leave the Philippines.

What is a Medical Certificate?

A Medical Certificate for Landbased Overseas Workers can only be produced by one of the clinics accredited by the Philippine Department of Health. The medical certificate states whether the worker is “Fit” or “Unfit” to work abroad and shows the test results for physical-, pregnancy-, and psychological health checks.

The certificate is valid for 3 months from the start of examination (as the checks may take several days). The test result sheet is to be shared with both the domestic helper and the employer.

Why is the medical examination necessary?

The aim for the medical examination, as stated on the Hong Kong Standard Employment Contract for Domestic Helpers (Clause 17), is to check for health fitness for employment as a domestic worker. 

Where are the medical examinations done?

Medical examinations and certificates must be from a clinic approved by the Philippine Department of Health for Landbased Overseas Workers examinations. A list of accredited Medical Facilities for Overseas Workers and Seafarers can be found on the Philippine government website (List of Medical Facility for Overseas Workers and Seafarers as of March 31, 2023)

DOH-accredited clinics have a nationally standardised format for these medical examinations which include a specific set of medical tests for physical health, pregnancy, and psychological health.

How much does the medical examination cost?  

While the medical examination format is standardised, the medical examination fees vary depending on the clinic. These fees tend to range from 2,600PHP to 4,000PHP. In our experience, medical examinations tend to be more expensive the further the region from Manila.

Additionally, domestic helpers may be required by the clinic to re-do a test or to do additional tests in order to qualify as “Fit to Work” and be allowed to leave to work abroad. For this reason, the process can take additional time and cost more than initially quoted by the clinic.

Who should pay for the medical examination cost?

The employer is responsible for covering or providing reimbursement for any medical examination fees. Workers should provide the correct receipts (or suitable documentation of payment). This is set out in the Hong Kong Standard Employment Contract for Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong (Clause 8). Some agencies, like Fair Employment Agency, will reimburse workers for the initial round of mandatory tests set out by the POEA. Check with your agency to understand if this is covered in your service fee.

Last updated on August 30th, 2023

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