We have always read news about Filipinos aspiring to work abroad, promised high-paying jobs abroad, only to find out that they have been duped of hard-earned resources by unscrupulous groups and individuals.
How to detect illegal recruitment
Why do these illegal recruitment activities continue to proliferate, despite stiff punishments set by the government and apparently more people aware of these nefarious activities?
It may be difficult to prevent illegal recruitment but it’s not so difficult to hypothesize that Filipinos aspiring to become overseas workers have been driven to take the bait out of desperation or simply ignorance of the matter. Going abroad is not simply accomplished by a job offer and working visa from an interested employer. It also involves an investment from the applicants through placement fees, not to mention the risk of giving up time with family. Here are some signs that mostly lead to an unsuccessful job application abroad.
This scheme lets applicants visit the target country as tourists and are promised they will be granted a working visa upon their arrival in that country. This often happens in countries where Filipino passport holders enjoy visa-free entry such as Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Palau, Bermuda, and more. Recruiters demand payment for processing of working visas for non-existent jobs.
Direct hiring schemes
This approach is aimed at trying to bypass proper documentation by authorized government agencies like Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), POEA, and others. Recruiters promise a faster way of job deployment using this scheme. There are many cases where direct hire (also known as name hire) is a valid arrangement especially for jobs that applicants found themselves and did not require placement agencies. Unfortunately, it’s also possible for this scheme to lead towards undocumented workers who will not be entitled to suitable health, disability, and other benefits as mandated by law.
Visa assistance consultancy
Some companies offer consultancy services for certain professionals who wish to go abroad to countries like United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or the United States. Note that their services are only limited to the provision of consultancy to those who wish to go abroad. These companies are not allowed to function as recruiters for overseas jobs. Therefore, if they start pivoting towards employment placement, it can be considered illegal recruitment.
By posing as brides to foreigners in order to reach the husbands’ native country, women may sometimes fall into the impression that they will be working there legitimately, according to terms agreed by both parties. However, these women may end up not as wives but as sex workers, or hard laborers, with minimal contact to the outside world to seek help.
Backdoor exit points
Recruiters sometimes advise applicants not to take the conventional route of reaching a destined country to work. Instead of using Manila as a transit point, they encourage using the back doors like taking a motorboat ride from remote areas to avoid payment of “unnecessary fees”. These jobs may not exist at all, and aspiring Filipino workers be used by drug syndicates as “drug mules” or carriers of illegal drugs.
Sports or missionary scheme
Disguising aspiring workers as part of a group with legitimate purposes like sports competition or religious missions abroad. By doing so, a worker is misrepresented and will therefore be liable to committing offenses against the host country’s labor laws. Workers who try this scheme may find themselves in trouble sooner or later.
Recruiters use training centers as a front to their illegal activities. Training is provided for certain skills and participants are promised job placement upon completion of training. These participants must have paid thousands of pesos for training that had nothing to do with jobs they were aiming as these jobs do not exist at all in the first place.
If you happen to notice one of the described modus operandi above in your application for jobs abroad, notify the following for further assistance.
POEA, Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch,
4/F Blas F. Ople (BFO) Bldg.,
Ortigas Avenue cor. EDSA,
Tel. No. (632) 722-1189 or (632) 722-1192.
We hope these possible scenarios you might encounter in the future will help aspiring workers abroad avoid becoming victims of illegal recruitment.