OFW Fight against Scammers and Illegal Recruiters
by Valerie Calma
Due to the prevailing economic conditions for most Filipinos, many of our countrymen are forced to seek better fortunes abroad as OFWs, the largest percentage of the population choosing to work in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Hong Kong.
However, it has been unfortunate that this desire for better lives is being abused by unscrupulous sorts who find it necessary to illegally recruit, or scam potential OFWs.
In fact, just this month, the POEA has had to warn applicants about travel agencies illegally sending Filipino domestic helpers to Singapore. It is not just that these workers lack the proper papers that will allow them to work legally in Singapore but also according to the May 6, 2010 news advisory from the government agency, despite having a salary of $250 to $350 per month listed on their contracts, they only get a small fraction of that (about $20.00) monthly because the Singapore agency has to deduct the placement fee which is equivalent to what the employee should earn in seven months.
Aside from illegal recruitment schemes, there are individuals who also attempt to swindle overseas Filipino workers, through various means like fake e-mails supposedly coming from the Philippine embassies offering a cash prize once personal information is sent (as well as similar technique done via SMS), or even franchising scams targeting OFWs and their families in the Philippines who wish to start businesses using a small capital.
Luckily enough, the POEA serves a watchdog to reassure and protect our OFWs from those who wish to take advantage of their need to work abroad and the fruits of their labor. According to the organization, one way to avoid illegal recruiters is to find employment through agencies licensed by the POEA and to not deal with fixers. Additionally, one should also watch out for agencies that require excessive placement fees as the allowed rate is equivalent to a month’s salary, excluding the documentation and processing form. An amount that goes beyond that might serve as a warning towards the legitimacy of the recruitment agency.
Most importantly, anyone intending to find work abroad should never accept a tourist visa.
Aside from the POEA, websites made for or by OFWs are quick to send reports about the conditions abroad. If there are new laws about finding jobs in different countries or if there are new modus operandi being employed to trick OFWs, one can be informed easily and take steps to ensure that he or she is not in any danger of breaking any laws or being victimized by dishonest individuals.
One doesn’t need to be afraid of venturing out of the Philippines to find better opportunities, despite all the illegal recruiters and those who wish to exploit OFWs, all one needs is to be well-informed, scrutinous, and vigilant.
- POEA Website: http://www.poea.gov.ph/
- ABS-CBN News Website: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/04/15/10/dti-warns-ofws-vs-franchising-scam
- GMA News Website : http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/04/15/10/dti-warns-ofws-vs-franchising-scam
Related article: WARNING: Do not be fooled by text scammers