How OFW Can Avoid an Illegal Recruiter

By Lily O Ramos

MANILA, April 4 (PNA) —- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has been warning job applicants for years to avoid getting conned by illegal recruiters but still hundreds or thousands of job seekers continue to be painfully victimized.

Many sell their lands, work animals, houses and possessions they worked hard for decades in order to send a member of their family for overseas employment or even to a different city and place in the Philippines only to lose everything to heartless illegal recruiters.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said whether highly educated or not, job seekers should read every fine print they see when applying in any field of work to avoid abusive scammers who are just after money from their intended victims.

”Every Filipino wants to have a decent place in the labor market but many, in their desire to have a job, ignore the subtle plans, plots, schemes, traps prepared by illegal operators of mean streak,” said Baldoz.

”Every applicant must guard against illegal recruiters by looking over the nature and forms of job scams, tips on how to identify and avoid possible employment con artists and their sophisticated ways.”

Baldoz warned overseas job applicants to make use of the online services to verify or validate job offers by clicking the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) website at http://www.poea.gov.ph.

Baldoz said that first-job hunters are the usual targets of job scammers, that is why DOLE has prepared what she said “10 commandments” to live by. She added that the government’s anti-illegal recruitment (AIR) campaign is in line with President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s strategy to expand social protection for Filipino migrant workers.

This is spelled out in President Aquino’s 22-point labor and Employment Agenda which calls for an all-out war against unscrupulous individuals engaged in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers and traffickers.

Baldoz reiterated the “10 Commandments” as follows:

— Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by the POEA;

— Do not deal with POEA licensed agencies without job orders;

— Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency;

— Do not transact business outside the registered address of the agency. If recruitment is conducted in the province, check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority;

— Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs;

— Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt;

— Do not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring you to reply to a Post Office (P.O.) Box and to enclose payment for processing of papers.

— Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies which promise overseas employment;

— Do not accept a tourist visa; and

— Do not deal with fixers.

The hardworking Labor chief made it clear that there are no scammers if there are no willing victims.

“Anything that arouses suspicion on the part of the recruiter should serve as a strong warning for any job applicant to carefully weigh his/her options.

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