Joining the ranks of Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs is not a walk in the park. The path to working abroad can be full of traps. And illegal recruitment remains one of the most pressing problems faced by Filipinos going abroad. So be careful of those overseas job listings.
No to Illegal Recruitment.
Photo credit: pinoy-abroad.net
You will never know what will happen once you are abroad. Doing things right can get you out of harm's way when something goes wrong. Illegal recruitment limits your options. Worse, you may not get your desired job abroad.
Before it's too late, here are the...
Adopted from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA. A POEA license allows an agency to engage in overseas recruitment. Type the name of the agency on the right column, here, to check its license at the POEA website.
Do not deal with licensed agencies without job orders or agencies reprocessing job orders. A job order is a request from an agency abroad to recruit and deploy a certain number of OFWs to work in a certain country. The job order shows the positions, salaries and benefits.
A reprocessed job order pertains to nonexistent work, work different from the actual overseas work, or work with a different employer whether registered or not with the POEA.
Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency. This is a challenge if you know the person. Ask for the name and contact number of the agency. Call or visit the agency to confirm the authority of the person to transact business.
Kalayaan Job Fair, June 12, 2010, Kawit, Cavite.
Photo credit: calabarzon.dole.gov.ph
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. Some agencies set up or join job fairs to recruit Overseas Filipino Workers in the provinces. You can also find local branches of agencies based in Manila.
Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs. The right agency does not ask too much placement fee because employers also pay them. And there are agencies that do not charge placement fees. The one month salary refers to the basic salary only.
Do not pay any placement fee unless you have valid employment contract and an official receipt. You can tell the right amount of placement fee based on your salary in the contract. Some agencies collect down payments and high fees and write the "allowed" fee in the receipt.
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. A legal agency shows its complete address with contact numbers. A P.O. Box leaves you helpless when you need to contact the agency.
A Manila Bulletin newspaper ad, June 13, 2010.
Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies which promise overseas employment. Their purpose is not to recruit and deploy workers abroad. Check the foreign country's immigration website for in-demand skills, such as nursing jobs abroad for Overseas Filipino Workers. Then check for job orders or consult an immigration expert.
Do not accept a tourist visa. A tourist visa does not get you a job and work permit, period. Countries have become smarter on people using tourist visas. They can force you to take the next flight back to the Philippines. Or you end up as TNT ("tago ng tago" or always in hiding) with low wages and benefits.
Do not deal with fixers. The rules apply to everyone. Most of the time, fixers process fake documents, which can get you into trouble later on. This wastes your time, money and efforts. Why not use these resources by going with the rules?
Follow these 10 don'ts to avoid illegal recruitment. Channel your resources to the legal Philippine agencies. Avoid the path taken by other Overseas Filipino Workers who lost time and money because of illegal recruitment.