THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has warned the public against an illegal recruitment syndicate operating globally as an immigration service provider and duping Filipino job seekers.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Monday identified the bogus recruitment agency as ICS Global Visas Inc., with office address at the 3rd floor of Dyno Building, Juana Osmena and J.Llorent Street, Cebu City.
ICS Global Visas was recently shuttered by the National Bureau of Investigation.
It was learned that its parent company in the United Kingdom has collapsed, leaving behind thousands of unsuspecting victims who were all promised with non-existent overseas jobs.
“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 estafa and illegal recruitment against the company upon learning that Global Visas maintained offices in Cebu,” Baldoz said.
A report from DOLE’s Cebu field office said charges of illegal recruitment and estafa had been filed in Cebu against Global Visas.
Baldoz 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,” she explained.
The Labor chief advised the public to always check with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to avoid being victimized by illegal recruiters.
“First, do not apply at recruitment agencies [that]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 said.
Baldoz also advised overseas job seekers not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring them to reply to a Post Office (PO) Box, and to enclose payment for processing of papers; and also not to deal with training centers and travel agencies that promise overseas employment.
She further warned not to accept a tourist visa and deal with “fixers.”
Illegal recruitment takes on many forms and methods, as provided for in the amended Labor Code and Republic Act 8042, as amended by RA 10022.
lllegal recruitment, when committed by a syndicate or on a large scale, shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage.
Further, it is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another.
Illegal recruitment is also deemed committed on a 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.