How to Get a License to Operate a Recruitment Agency in the Philippines

recruitment agency

So you want to engage in the business of operating an employment agency deploying Filipino workers abroad? Don’t get too excited and commence business immediately.  You must bear in mind that you cannot just recruit and deploy without a license from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (“POEA”). Otherwise, you run the risk of being criminally charged with illegal recruitment – a crime with a heavy penalty equivalent to murder, rape and the like.

What is illegal recruitment? Read more about this topic here.

So, hold your horses and read on to learn how to get a license to operate a recruitment agency in the Philippines.

Qualified Applicants

Under the Revised POEA Rules and Regulations, only the following can be licensed to operate a private employment agency:

1.  Filipino citizen acting as a sole proprietor or partnership or corporations at least seventy five percent (75%) of the authorized and voting capital stock of which is owned and controlled by Filipino citizens;

2.  A minimum paid-up capital of Five Million Pesos (P 5,000,000.00);

3.  Those not otherwise disqualified by law or other government regulations to engage in the recruitment and placement of workers for overseas employment.


Disqualified Applicants

 Not all companies or persons can engage in the business of a private recruitment agency.  Those disqualified are:

 1.  Travel agencies and sales agencies of airline companies;

 2.  Officers or members of the Board of any corporation or partners in a partnership engaged in the business of a travel agency;

 3.  Corporations and partnerships, where any of its officers, members of the board or partners is also an officer, member of the board or partner of a corporation or partnership engaged in the business of a travel agency;

 4.  Individuals, partners, officers or directors of an insurance company who make, propose or provide an insurance contract under the compulsory insurance coverage for agency-hired Overseas Filipino Workers;

 5.  Sole proprietors, partners or officers and members of the board with derogatory records;

 6.  Any official or employee of the DOLE, POEA, OWWA, DFA, DOJ, DOH, BI, IC, NLRC, TESDA, CFO, NBI, PNP, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), international airport authorities, and other government agencies directly involved in the implementation of RA 8042, as amended, and/or any of his/her relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.



 Every applicant for a license to operate a private employment agency must submit a written application together with the following requirements:

1.  Business Name Certificate (if sole proprietorship) or a certified copy of the Articles of Partnership or Incorporation duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC);

2.  Proof of financial capacity (bank certificate, ITR, etc.);

3.  Proof of existence of new market (POLO verified or authenticated Recruitment/Service Agreement);

4.  Employer’s Profile;

5.  Proof of possession by the head of the company of a bachelor’s degree or at least four (4) years experience in human resource management or experience in heading or managing a manpower business;

6.  Valid clearances from the NBI and the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch of the Administration for the proprietor, partners, and all members of the board of directors of the applicant agency;

7.  Notarized undertaking by the sole proprietor, the managing partner, or the president of the corporation;

8.  List of all officials and personnel involved in recruitment and placement, together with their appointment, signed bio-data and two (2) copies of their passport-size pictures, as well as their clearances from the NBI and their individual affidavits, declaring that they have no conviction or pending criminal case for illegal recruitment or case involving moral turpitude;

9.  Certificate of attendance of the sole proprietor, managing partner, president, chief executive officer and/or operations manager in a Pre-Licensing Orientation Seminar (PLOS);

10.  Flowchart detailing step-by-step recruitment procedures, etc.;

11.   Four-year business plan detailing financial, market and operational viability, and the like.

 A non-refundable filing fee of P25,000.00 is assessed by the POEA.


Post-Qualification Requirements

 If the application is granted, POEA will require the applicant to comply with the following post-qualification requirements prior to the issuance of the provisional license:

1.  Lease contract or ownership of an office space measuring at least one hundred (100) square meters;

2.  An office layout;

3.  An inventory of office equipment and facilities which must be compliant with POEA requirements;

4.  Organizational chart indicating the duties and responsibilities and names of officers and staff;

5.  Payment of license fee of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (PhP100,000.00); and

6.  An escrow agreement with a bank authorized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to handle trust accounts, with deposit in the amount of One Million Pesos (PhP1,000,000.00)


Provisional License

Applicants for new licenses shall be issued a provisional license which shall be valid for a limited period of a non-extendible period of two (2) years from date of issuance. It must be emphasized that agencies with provisional licenses CANNOT deploy domestic workers.


Regular License

 A provisional license may be upgraded to a regular license at any time during its validity upon deployment of one hundred (100) workers to its new principal/s, and upon submission of the following:

 1.  Quality Management System (QMS) manual, defining the scope of the agency’s quality management system that includes, among others, the quality policy and objectives, organizational structure and management responsibilities, and documented recruitment and deployment processes;

 2.  Updated bank certificate stating that the escrow deposit remains at One Million Pesos (PhP1,000,000.00);

 3.  Certificate of no pending case or any substantiated adverse report during the validity of the provisional license;

 4.  Certificate of attendance to the Continuing Agency Education Program (CAEP) of all its officers and staff; and

 5.  Latest audited financial statement.

 A regular license shall be valid for four (4) years from the date of issuance of the provisional license.

On a final note, please know that this only applies to employment agencies deploying landbased overseas Filipino worker.  Those who wish to deploy seafarers or seamen are subject to different regulations.

This is how to get a license to operate a recruitment agency in the Philippines.

 Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 4706126, +632 4706130, +632 4016392 or e-mail us at [email protected] .