What is OWWA? Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

OWWA stands for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a Philippine government agency that is charged with protecting and promoting the welfare and well-being of Filipino migrant workers and their families. The OWWA was established in 1977 as an attached agency to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Also Read: What is DSWD Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development

It was mandated to develop policies and programs that will prevent or minimize the adverse effects of deployment on Filipino workers and their families, provide financial and livelihood assistance in cases of emergency, monitor the compliance of employers with their contractual obligations, and negotiate with foreign governments on labor and welfare matters affecting Filipino workers.

OWWA’s main mission is to provide social protection programs, such as insurance coverage, financial assistance, legal aid services, training opportunities, and other relevant support services to Filipino migrant workers abroad.

Aside from its institutional capabilities, it has also developed linkages with various Philippine Embassies abroad for expanded service delivery. Through these efforts, the OWWA offers a comprehensive program designed specifically for overseas Filipino workers so they can better adjust to their new environment and maximize their potential wherever they are based.

owwa agency overseas workers welfare agency for filipino workers abroad

What does OWWA do?

OWWA offers a variety of services to Filipino workers abroad, including financial assistance, insurance, counseling, and legal assistance. Financial assistance may be in the form of loans or grants, and it can be used for repatriation or medical expenses. 

Insurance coverage includes life insurance, health insurance, and accident insurance. counseling services are provided for personal and family problems, while legal assistance may be needed for cases involving labor disputes or contract violations.

OWWA also provides training programs to help workers update their skills or learn new ones. These programs can prepare workers for higher-paying jobs or jobs in fields with high demand. Additionally, OWWA has a reintegration program that helps returning workers adjust to life back in the Philippines. The program provides financial assistance and job placement.

Meaning of OWWA

The acronym OWWA stands for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a Philippine government agency that is responsible for protecting and promoting the welfare of Filipino migrant workers and their families.

Why Was OWWA Created? 

OWWA was created in response to the growing number of Filipinos leaving to work overseas. In the early 1980s, there was an influx of Filipino workers leaving to work in other countries, particularly in the Middle East. 

The Philippine government recognized the need to provide assistance and protection to these workers, as they were often subjected to abuse and exploitation. Thus, OWWA was created in 1977 with the signing of Presidential Decree No. 1694.

How is OWWA Funded? 

OWWA is primarily funded by the monthly contributions of Filipino migrant workers. Every worker who leaves to work abroad is required to pay a US$25 membership fee; this fee is then deposited into the OWWA Fund. 

The Fund is used to finance various welfare programs and services for migrant workers and their families. Employers also contribute to the OWWA Fund; they are required to pay a placement fee of US$10 for every contract worker they hire.

What Services Does OWWA Offer? 

As mentioned earlier, OWAD offers social, financial, and legal services, as well as training programs for Filipino migrant workers. Some of the specific services offered include: 

  • Scholarships for children of migrant workers 
  • Reintegration programs for returning workers 
  • Emergency assistance for injured or sick workers 
  • Assistance for families of deceased workers 
  • Information campaigns on responsible migration

Ensuring the Well-being of Filipino OFWs – Objectives of OWWA

To Protect and Promote the Welfare of Migrant Workers and Their Families

One of OWWA’s primary objectives is to protect and promote the welfare of migrant workers and their families. This involves providing them with social and economic benefits, as well as developing programs that will cushion the impact of migration on families left behind. 

Another way OWWA protects OFWs is by ensuring that they are properly insured. All land-based and sea-based workers who are members of POEA-licensed manpower agencies are required to pay an insurance premium of US$25. This will entitle them to a maximum death and disability benefit of US$15,000. 

To Develop Human Resources for International Deployment 

Deploying Filipino workers abroad is not only an important source of employment but also helps boost our economy through remittances. But for this to happen, we need to have a steady supply of qualified workers. This is where OWWA’s second objective comes in – to develop human resources for international deployment.  To do this, the agency provides training programs that aim to upgrade the skills of our OFWs so they can be more employable overseas.  These programs also seek to inculcate in our kababayans a greater appreciation for the importance of work, so they will put more value on their jobs even if they are doing menial tasks. 

To Generate Saving and Investment Funds For Development Projects 

Aside from providing direct benefits to migrant workers, OWWA also collects funds from various sources which it uses to finance development projects. 

These projects include but are not limited to housing, health care, education, and skills training not just for OFWs but also for their dependents back home. 

With these projects, OWWA hopes not just to improve the lives of our kababayans but also to help make them self-sufficient.  

Programs Offered By OWWA

Country-Specific Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)

Country-Specific PDOS is a seminar organized by OWWA in coordination with various embassies intended for OFWs and their families. The seminar provides them with information on the hosting country’s culture, values, and customs. 

The PDOS also aims to inculcate in them a greater appreciation of the dignity of labor so that they may act and perform their duties well while overseas. 

Social Benefits

The OWWA provides social benefits to land-based and sea-based OFWs which they can avail of in case of emergencies. The social benefits include disability and dismemberment, death and burial, supplementary medical assistance (MEDplus), and welfare assistance program (WAP). 

Disability and Dismemberment Benefit

This provides compensation of Php 100,000.00 to an OFW in case he/she sustains an injury or contracts a sickness resulting in disability or dismemberment while working abroad. 

Death & Burial

Death and Burial Benefit- in case an OFW dies while working abroad, his/her employer is required to shoulder the repatriation expenses incurred. The government also provides a death grant of Php 100,000.00 for natural deaths and 200,000.00 for accidental deaths, which will be given to the beneficiary mentioned in the OFW’s employment contract. 

A funeral grant of Php 20,000 is also paid to the beneficiaries of the deceased OFW in addition to the death benefit to help them with a dignified burial for their loved ones.

Supplementary Medical Assistance (MEDplus)

This benefit assists in paying for hospitalization expenses not covered by insurance when an OFW becomes sick or injured while working abroad. 

Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)

This is a reintegration program that helps distressed OFWs who have been repatriated due to abuse, maltreatment, non-payment of salaries, and illegal recruitment, among others. The program provides counseling, skills training, and job placement services. 

Repatriation Assistance Program

The Repatriation Assistance Program is a program offered by the OWWA that provides financial assistance to workers who are deported back to the Philippines. 

The program covers the cost of travel from the point of deportation to the worker’s final destination in the Philippines, as well as a per diem allowance for food and lodging. 

Through RAP, OWWA covers the cost of transportation and other necessary fees for returning OFWs, as well as provides temporary housing at the OWWA Halfway Home. Other benefits include psycho-social counseling, stress debriefing, and airport assistance. 

Reintegration program

The Reintegration Program is a program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) that helps to return overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) adjust back to life in the Philippines. 

It provides them with livelihood and capital assistance, counseling, and other services to ease their transition back into Philippine society and enhance their employability.

Educational Assistance and Scholarship Programs

OWWA also has educational assistance programs, such as the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program and the Education for Development Scholarship Program. These programs provide financial support to qualified dependents of OWWA members, allowing them to pursue higher education in colleges and universities in the Philippines. Here’s a list of OWWA scholarship and training projects:

  • OWWA Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
  • OWWA OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP)
  • OWWA Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
  • OWWA Educational Livelihood Asssitance Program (ELAP)
  • OWWA Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP)
  • OWWA Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program (MDA)
  • OWWA Pre-Departure Education Program
  • OWWA Information Technology (IT) Training Program
  • OWWA Project EASE (Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies)
  • OWWA Tabang OFW Program

By understanding the benefits and services available through OWWA, OFWs can make sure that they are getting all of the assistance they need to succeed in their overseas assignment. With its wide range of programs and services, OWWA helps ensure that OFWs get the support they need while abroad.

Video: OWWA – What Are The Benefits For OFW?

This video is all about the different benefits that OFWs can enjoy through OWWA. Some of these benefits include social security, insurance, and other services that can help make the transition abroad easier for OFWs and their families.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible for OWWA benefits?

All registered overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration can avail of the benefits and services provided by OWWA.

2. What type of insurance does OWWA provide?

OWWA provides life, medical, and repatriation insurance to its members. The life insurance coverage includes death grants for both natural and accidental deaths, while the medical coverage covers hospitalization expenses not covered by other health plans. The repatriation insurance covers the cost of transportation from point of deportation to destination in the Philippines.

3. How do I apply for an OWWA scholarship program?

To apply for any of the OWWA scholarship programs, you must be a registered member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and meet the program’s eligibility requirements. You can find more information about the different scholarship programs on their website.

4. How do I renew my OWWA membership?

You can renew your OWWA membership online or in person at any Philippine embassy or consular office. The renewal fee is 500 Philippine Pesos (PHP).

5. Is there a limit to the amount of benefits I can get from OWWA?

Yes, OWWA has set limits on the total amount of assistance and benefits it provides. The maximum assistance available varies depending on the type of benefit being requested. It is best to consult with an OWWA officer for more specific information.


OWWA provides OFWs with benefits such as repatriation assistance, death grants, medical assistance, welfare assistance program, educational assistance, and various training programs. These benefits aim to make the transition abroad easier for OFWs and their families.

OWWA is an important government agency that provides valuable services and assistance to Filipino migrant workers and their families. If you are planning on working abroad, be sure to register with OWAA so that you can avail of their services if needed. Remember, they are there to help you!