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How to Spot (and Avoid) Illegal Recruitment

Illegal recruitment comes in many forms and is such an important topic for all OFWs and expats for that matter. According to the Philippine Republic Act 8042, illegal recruitment may appear as any of the following: canvassing, contracting, enlisting, hiring, procuring, transporting, or utilizing workers which also includes contract services and referrals that advertise and promise job placement abroad, whether done for profit or otherwise, and is enacted by an unlicensed individual or any person without authority.

While many Filipinos and individuals, in general, find it very appealing to take their chances in finding work abroad whether it be to help their family or realize their personal goals, it cannot be said that all these people know what illegal recruitment looks like when it comes knocking at their doors and presenting itself as an opportunity. In this post, we will detail some basic information regarding illegal recruitment and how to avoid falling prey to it:

What You Need to Know About Illegal Recruitment

As mentioned, illegal recruitment may, and usually, will come in a variety of forms, and it is important to see it for its very nature. Here are some examples of illegal recruitment:

  • Backdoor Exit: leaving the country through seaports and airports on the southern part of the Philippines
  • Blind advertisement: the use of misleading and deceitful advertisements promoting employment avenues overseas
  • Exiting the country as a tourist but has the intention of doing work abroad
  • By correspondence or sending placement documents and work requirements by mail.
  • Escort services: workers/tourists are “escorted” to the country’s seaports or airports.
  • Au Pair: an inter-cultural scheme where a host family “adopts” a person to study culture and language for a monthly payment in return for a place to stay in.
  • Disguised participation in seminars or sporting events: Workers who leave for the purpose of participating in seminars or sporting events but end up looking for jobs abroad
  • Apprenticeship Schemes: Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) interns who leave for abroad in the pretext of an apprenticeship program in hotels overseas but eventually getting absorbed for employment in the training facility.

9 Tips on How to Avoid Illegal Recruitment

In order to avoid getting involved in illegal recruitment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has rounded up a list of helpful tips on how to stop illegal recruitment right in its tracks:

  1. Apply only at POEA-accredited agencies.
  2. Always look for licensed agencies with job orders.
  3. Only work with authorized representatives of a licensed agency.
  4. Only transact businesses at the registered address or office of the agency. In the case of provincial recruitment, make sure that your agency is authorized to operate in the province.
  5. Only consider offers that work within the allowable placement fee. The fee should not exceed the total of a month’s salary and does not include processing and documentation expenses.
  6. Until you have received a valid and official employment contract and receipt, do not pay any placement fee
  7. Don’t fall for ads and promotions which require you to communicate by mail or send work documents to a Post Office (P.O.) Box address.
  8. Steer away from travel agencies and training centres which offer overseas jobs.
  9. Avoid doing business with fixers and those who offer tourist visas.

Referrals and word of mouth offers are quite common in the Philippines. If you have aspirations and goals to work abroad, remember that the legal process is only the way to gain legal employment. Otherwise, what you may envision to be an exciting experience could be the total opposite all because you’re on the losing end of a bargain that you shouldn’t have taken in the first place.



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