The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has warned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are employed at present against so-called “third country” recruitment schemes.
The POEA, in a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, issued the warning over the weekend on complaints from Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Hong Kong, Singapore and Cyprus who were lured by recruiters into transferring to Dubai, Mongolia, Turkey, Russia and other countries but later found out that the working environment there was far from ideal or, worse, the jobs offered are non-existent.
The recruiters are mostly citizens of the third country who have Filipino partners in their illegal activities.
Dominador Say, Labor undersecretary and acting POEA administrator, said the OFWs should be careful in accepting offers of employment in another country.
According to Say, recruitment through a third country is considered illegal recruitment because neither the recruiter nor the employer has proper authorization from the Philippine government.
Earlier, Susan Ople, founder and president of the Blas Ople Policy Center, disclosed in a radio interview that one of the recruiters is a Russian-based Pakistani married to a Filipino woman.
According to Ople, recruitment is being done through the Internet and hundreds had already been victimized, mostly unsuspecting Filipino household workers in Hong Kong and other countries.
She said the victims were made to pay as much as $5,000 and, in exchange, an invitation would be sent to them to come to Russia.
Once in Russia, Ople added, the hapless victims are herded in one room of the two-room house of the Pakistani recruiter, for a fee.
“The victims are on their own to look for a job, and have to pay a certain percentage of their earnings to the Pakistani,” she said.
Reports said those who found employment are sometimes abused by the employers and, for lack of proper work documents, the workers are arrested and deported by immigration authorities.
For their own protection, applicants for overseas jobs should have the appropriate work permit, visa or employment contract approved by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and processed by the POEA before leaving the country.