When Looking for Greener Pastures

Recently, I’ve applied as a staff nurse in Saudi Arabia, got interviewed by my employer, got my visa and now waiting for my ticket. I would’ve flown yesterday if not for the my authenticated license that expired. I had to renew it as soon as possible and so my flight is postponed. I wrote this to provide you some tips in preparing your papers and other necessary documents. Since its Labor Day I hope it’ll help a lot of nurses in looking for a greener pasture.

I believe Saudi is the easiest and cheapest way to go abroad. Once you have the experience in Saudi, going to other countries would be much easier according to colleagues who underwent the same situation. Okay, so first step is looking for an agency who will help you process your papers. You can also apply in POEA (along Ortigas) and they will look for an agency fit for you and your experience. However, it takes more time (from my experience, that is). You can get a copy of accredited and licensed agencies in POEA too. They release a mini newspaper quarterly I think. Its for free so grab a copy rather than going to some illegal recruiters and end up empty handed. From there you can choose agencies. Another way of assuring that your agency is not illegal, try asking your friends or relatives who have been there. Ask where their agency is and try to inquire. My agency was suggested by my friend who is now working in Saudi for almost a year. For more information on illegal recruitment try click this link http://panyero.net/paano-malaman-illegal-recruiter/#more-371. You can ask questions from Tito Boy (the blogger) he is very accommodating.:)

Agencies usually require three things before you apply abroad. A passport, NBI Clearance valid for travel abroad and authenticated documents from DFA or more popularly known as the Red Ribbon for faster processing. Getting a passport is easy. You can find the requirements at http://www.dfa.gov.ph/main/index.php/consular-services/passport. The Department of Foreign Affairs is located in Pasay City along Roxas Boulevard. You can take LRT or any jeepney with the sign DFA in Recto-Avenida area. Here’s the map http://dfa.gov.ph/main/index.php/about-the-dfa/office-location

Authenticated documents such as college diploma, TOR (transcript of record), RLE (related learning experience) board rating and board certificate and PRC license are also done in DFA. The process of authentication is more popularly known as “red ribbon” because when you get the authentication there will be a red ribbon along with it. You have to go to your school registrar first and get from them a copy of the documents to be authenticated. In CEU, it usually takes two to three weeks after which you’ll get a claim stub with a date and claim it from DFA. Other schools will let you process the documents in CHED , I don’t know that part or how to get there because CEU takes care of that part. You can ask your school registrar about it. When you’re in DFA, you’ll pay 100 pesos for every document. As for your license, go to PRC and prepare a photocopy of your license. Ask the customer service for a slip and tell them its for “Red Ribbon”. At the back of the slip is the steps, fees to pay, etc. You will normally pay 21 pesos for documentary stamp. As of today, PRC is in partnership with DHL which means the documents to be authenticated will be delivered right at your doorstep a day after the release from DFA. If I remember it right its 100 peso per document and service fee of around 200 pesos.

The hardest part for me is the NBI clearance because of the long lines.  I just hate lines!! There are satellite offices of NBI like the ones in Victory Mall in Caloocan, Riverbanks mall in Marikina or in SM Megamall. It costs around 115 pesos. The NBI clearance should be valid for travel abroad, the green one. Be sure to have a bottle of water and fan with you while falling in line. In Megamall, the line can go as far as the last floor.:( I hate that part. Remember to always photocopy your original documents and bring along extra ID pictures and plastic envelope.

Let’s have a recap: These are the things you need to prepare before applying in your chosen agency.

1. Passport

2. Authenticated Copy (the one with red ribbon) of License, board certificate, board rating, TOR, diploma and RLE

3. NBI clearance valid for travel abroad

After preparing the documents above, you are now ready for your application. Requirements aside from the ones posted above will also include ID pictures in different sizes but its usually 2×2 with white or blue background, resume, NBI clearance, TOR, diploma, RLE, board rating and board certificate, employment and training certificates marriage contract if married all in two copies. Some agencies would require more but these are the basic requirements. Some requires a folder or brown envelope but others will just let you pay minimum amount for their “official” envelope.

I’ve observed that most employers come here quarterly. January is the best part of applying since employers are here for interviews. I applied in January and took an exam (nursing topics, depending on your area of specialty) was interviewed by my employer a day after.

After passing the interview, the agency will require you to have your medical exam. Different agencies have specific clinics where you’ll undergo your medical exam. Depending on your agency they can either pay for the medical exam or you can pay for it. I will blog more about my unfortunate experience on my medical exam some other time.

When you are medically fit to work, the agency will now prepare your visa. You’ll sign the contract of course. Be sure to have at least two copies for yourself.  If your visa arrives, the next step will be the the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS). I will blog more about PDOS next time, its one exciting topic.

Let’s check one more time. After the PDOS, it means you’re almost done. Passport-check! Visa-check! Contract-check! Plane ticket? Did I miss something? Please remind me if I had.

We all have our first time. It’s not wrong to ask questions. If you don’t understand something in the contract or something is not clear with your placement fees, you can always ask your agency about it.

Let’s all go forth and make our dreams come true! Happy Labor Day!

Just Me. For Now.