Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has issued a stern warning to the public against dealing with a bogus recruitment agency operating globally as an immigration services provider that has reportedly duped not only Filipino job seekers, but other nationalities across Europe and the United Kingdom.
The firm, known in the Philippines, Cebu specifically, as ICS Global Visas, Inc., has been closed by the National Bureau of Investigation, according to reports, but the worse was that its parent company in the UK has reportedly collapsed, leaving on its wake hundreds, if not thousands of victims who have failed to land overseas jobs as promised.
“Global Visas was in the limelight this week, following its reported “collapse”. It had victims here in the Philippines, particularly in Luzon, Cebu and Mindanao. We have checked with our DOLE regional office in Cebu which reported that some of the victims filed cases of estate and illegal recruitment against the company upon learning that Global Visas maintained offices in Cebu,” said Baldoz.
POEA Regional Extension Unit No. 7 officer in charge Evelia Durato and POEA lawyer Rhett Casino reported that, indeed, charges of illegal recruitment and estafa had already been filed in Cebu against Global Visas, and Atty. Parada, one of the lawyers of the complainants, said the cases are still up for re-raffling to determine which regional trial court branch will handle the case.
Baldoz once again reminded the public to be extra-cautious in dealing with recruiters.
“Illegal recruitment is any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referring, contracting services, promising, or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority,” Baldoz explained.
She reiterated that illegal recruitment takes on many forms and methods, as provided for in the amended in the Labor Code and R.A. 8042, as amended by R.A. 10022. lllegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage. Further, illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another.
Illegal recruitment is also deemed committed in large scale if it is done against three or more persons individually or as a group. The persons criminally liable for these offenses are the principals, accomplices, and accessories. In case of juridical persons, the officers having control, management or direction, of their business shall be liable.
Baldoz also cautioned the public on strictly follow the instructions of the POEA on how to avoid illegal recruitment.
“First, do not apply at recruitment agencies which are not licensed by POEA. You must not deal with licensed agencies without job orders or with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency. Do not transact business outside the registered address of the agency,” she said.
Baldoz also warned that if recruitment is conducted in the province, it is important to check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority.
“It is advised not to pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs. Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt,” she added.
The DOLE Secretary advised overseas job seekers not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring them to reply to a Post Office (P.O.) Box, and to enclose payment for processing of papers; and also not to deal with training centers and travel agencies, which promise overseas employment.
She further warned not to accept a tourist visa and deal with fixers. “To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We can be empowered by being rightfully informed,” Baldoz concluded. PNA