MANILA – Labor authorities have warned jobseekers against falling prey to illegal recruiters from a third country luring household service workers in places like Hong Kong and Singapore to move to supposedly better-paying – but sometimes nonexistent – jobs in places like Mongolia or Russia.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued the warning, specifically addressed to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are now already employed in foreign posts but are being targeted by the criminal syndicates to move to other areas.
The POEA received reports that some Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Hong Kong, Singapore and Cyprus had gotten offers to fly to Dubai, Mongolia, Turkey and Russia, where better-paying jobs supposedly awaited them.
The victims learned belatedly that the promised jobs either did not pay well and came with poor work conditions, or worse, did not exist at all.
The recruiters are from a third country with Filipino co-conspirators, Philippine authorities said.
POEA learned some of the victims had paid a hefty sum and travelled to a third country using only a tourist visa – with no guarantee that an employer and a better job await them.
According to reports obtained by POEA, other victims did manage to land jobs in the third country but suffered abuse in the hands of the new employer. Lacking legal protection because they are undocumented workers, the victims end up being deported, unable to get justice from their abusers.
Recruiting jobseekers from a third country is considered a form of illegal recruitment if the recruiter or employer has no prior authorization for that operation from the Philippine government.
For their own protection, applicants for jobs in foreign countries should get the proper work permit or visa or employment contract approved by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and processed by the POEA before they leave the Philippines, the POEA said.