Overseas employment is becoming more of the rule rather than a career alternative for Filipino nurses nowadays. And with the employment crisis that Filipino nurses experience in the country today, it seems that there are no reasons for them to stay longer. However, while more and more people are enticed to secure a fulfilling employment abroad, several carpetbaggers are also creating more bogus schemes to let Filipino aspirants fall into their traps. For this reason, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has released a list of 10 essential information that any OFW wannabe should remember to avoid becoming victims of illegal recruiters nowadays.
1. Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA.
Checking the status of the recruitment agency where you will submit your application is one way to decrease your risk of ending up to an illegal recruiter. Every recruitment agency, be it land-based or sea-based, is required to secure a license from POEA before it can start its recruitment. The status of this license can change anytime and can be a good basis to determine whether a particular recruitment agency has been performing good or not. You can check the status of a recruitment agency through this link or by calling POEA hotline numbers at 722-1144 and 722-1155. To determine if a recruitment agency is reliable, you need to know two things: its status and its license validity. With regard to Status, be wary of agencies whose current standing with the POEA are Delisted, Cancelled, Preventive Suspension, or Forever Banned. However, an agency with a good standing won’t assure you of an excellent service all the time as the status of agencies stored in POEA database can change anytime. This is the reason why you have to check it regularly.
2. Do not deal with licensed agencies without job orders.
Some illegal recruiters might advice you to take medical examinations without even presenting a proof that a valid job order or employment contract is available for you. This is a big no-no because in order for you to work abroad, a valid job order from a licensed recruitment agency is required. You can check the current job orders approved by POEA through this link.
3. Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency.
A lot of people have been fooled by illegal recruiters disguising as legal representatives of POEA. They can even present to you some their fake identification cards so you will buy every thing that they will tell you. Usually, they are those people who prefer transactions outside their make-believe offices and won’t give the details about the fake job order unless you give a down payment for the expensive placement fee. Avoid being victims of these kind of illegal recruiters by choosing legal transactions through POEA offices rather than backdoor negotiations with unknown strangers.
4. 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.
Never trust a person who introduces himself as a representative of a recruitment agency and mostly prefers meet-ups in public places like fast-food restaurants or coffee shops for an important transaction involving money. The legal way of securing a job is through POEA and not through questionable out-of-office transactions.
5. Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month’s salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs.
A placement fee that is equal or equivalent to your one month’s salary is the only fee mandated by law and should not be more than than that. In addition to this, new OFWs should also remember that a job offered in Canada requires NO PLACEMENT FEE.
6. Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt.
This is actually a no-brainer. Why would you pay someone a big amount of money if he can’t even present a valid employment contract and even an official receipt that you can use as a proof of payment? You should know your rights as an individual and don’t be afraid to doubt once you smell something fishy in the middle of your transaction.
7. 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.
Don’t ever buy this kind of transactions because it will only direct your money to illegal recruiters. Always prefer direct and face-to-face transactions in a licensed recruitment agency with a good POEA standing. You should also be careful with other illegal schemes like house-to-house recruitment or those who require referrals for faster processing of your travel documents.
8. Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies, which promise overseas employment.
A lot of illegal recruiters are disguising themselves as part of a particular travel agency or training center just to win your trust but the fact that they are using these institutions to recruit people is already wrong in the first place. Always make sure that you are dealing with trustworthy recruitment agencies that have good to excellent track records.
9. Do not accept a tourist visa.
You want an easy way out? Then try a tourist visa. However, using a tourist visa to secure employment abroad is illegal both in the Philippines and in the host country where you will do the job search. Always remember that cutting corners is not advisable especially if you want to get a job overseas. In addition to that, this method is one of the leading strategies used by illegal recruiters to convince hapless victims to try their luck abroad.
10. Do not deal with fixers.
Here is the list of reminders on how to avoid dealing with fixers:
*Prepare all the needed requirements for your application. You inquire at the NSO, POEA, DFA assistance hotlines
a. NSO 737-1111 (for borth,marriage, death, CENOMAR certificates)
b. DFA 737-1000 (for passport appointment and application)
c. POEA 737-7777 (for OFW OEC applciation)
or visit the websites of NSO Helpline, DFA Passpport Appointment, and POEA Overseas Exit Clearance Service
*Do not deal with people outside the NSO, POEA, DFA premises
a. Go directly to the entrance guard
b. Show your requirements so you can enter
c. Proceed to the STEP 1 area of the establishment
*Do not be afaird to ask, but do not be quick to believe. Read the procedures available in the area. Do not rush yourself into making a decision; know what you need to do first.
*All government agencies are equipped with informative materials to guide you on how to process your requests; this can be done by any individual without too much complication.
*If a person insists on helping you or assisting you, chances are they could be fixers. Ask for assistance or info at the INFORMATION counter.