What You Need to Know about Illegal Recruitment

There are hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who leave the country every year for greener pastures. Regardless of the country destination, Filipino migrant workers have a common battlecry and that is to provide a better future for the family. If you happen to be one of the many Filipinos who long to make this happen through overseas work, you will need an entity that will make this dream realize.

These are the recruitment agencies.

Recruitment agencies post a job offer overseas, process applications, help prepare necessary requirements for documentation, and assist you as you leave the country.

Here’s the thing: not all recruitment agencies are legitimate. There will always be people who will take advantage of this “need” by promising a job abroad, only to scam you or get your money. In 2016 alone, there are more than 1,000 illegal recruitment cases filed – and this number does not include those cases that were dropped or not filed with the proper agency. This means the agency conducted any of the following illegal activities:

  • Giving the worker a Tourist Visa when the intention is to work overseas.
  • Backdoor exit or going out of the country using airports or seaports in the southern part of the Philippines.
  • Escort services wherein you will be “escorted” at the country’s airports and seaports.
  • Camouflaged representation wherein you will be asked to join a seminar or sporting event overseas so you can get work from there.
  • Recruitment correspondences, including submission of requirements or payment of placement is ONLY through email or mail.
  • Au pair, which is an inter-cultural program wherein a host family will sponsor someone to study a culture or language with monthly allowance. In exchange, you will be given a place to stay.
  • Trainee Scheme wherein you will leave for a training program overseas but a job is already waiting for you when you get there.

What can you do to avoid being a victim of illegal recruitment? Here’s what:

  • Only apply through POEA-licensed recruitment agencies. POEA regularly updates the list of registered recruitment agencies and inform the people about agencies who were doing illegal recruitment activities. You can check the POEA website to see if the agency you are eyeing for is legitimate.
  • Deal with the authorized representative/s of the licensed recruitment agencies. Consequently, transactions must be done in the address indicated in the agency’s POEA license.
  • Check if the job offer is approved by the POEA. POEA also list some available jobs in their website, although this is not updated in real-time.
  • Take note of the placement fee. This should be equivalent to one-month salary and will only be paid UPON signing of employment contract. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt that corresponds to the amount you paid.

Here are also some red flags you need to watch out for that will tell you if a recruitment agency is a scam:

  • Placement fee is more than the equivalent of one month salary.
  • Payment of placement fee is required even if you are not yet accepted for the job you applied for or there is no employment contract yet.
  • Job offers that require immediate payment to secure your application, whether through bank deposit, PO box, or personal delivery of payment.
  • Tourist visa instead of a working visa.
  • Recruitment agency with provincial address yet there is no branch or partner agency in the said province.

Don’t be a victim by falling for these illegal practices. You and your family deserve a better life and future, and you can start having that by finding the right recruitment agency. Be careful and always check for legitimacy before you commit.

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