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Illegal recruiters 'causing major problems for Filipinos abroad'

Seventy-five per cent of problems Filipinos face overseas are caused by illegal recruiters, a visiting Philippine labour official said.

Gulf News

Seventy-five per cent of problems Filipinos face overseas are caused by illegal recruiters, a visiting Philippine labour official said.

Merliza M. Makinano, Director of the Department of Labour and Employment (Dole) International Labour Affairs Service, said: "Illegal recruitment practices include signing a substandard contract, or contracts that were not verified by authorities in Manila."

A big chunk of the problem is also caused by Filipinos who go out of the country on tourists visas to find work and thereby avoid screening by the Dole.

Illegal recruiters, she said, make money from overseas job applicants by helping them skirt around the rules implemented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), a regulatory agency under Dole.

To curb the incidence of illegal recruitment, POEA has required job placement agencies to have a minimum capitalisation of 1 million pesos.

"We don't want any fly-by-night operators. We closed down those found flaunting the rules, blacklisted some and suspended the licences of others. We have referred cases to the courts and the National Bureau of Investigation.

"There are some who went to jail. But this is an on-going campaign... as long as there are willing victims of illegal recruiters."

Filipino diplomats said six in every 10 Filipinos who found jobs in the UAE initially came here on a visit visa.

During the last three years, Dole has facilitated overseas employment for 2.6 million job openings in 100 countries, averaging about 876,000 jobs per year. Demand for Filipino skills shows no signs of abating, said Makinano.

In search of a livelihood
* As many as nine per cent of Philippines' 80 million people are working in North America, Europe, the Middle East and northeastern Asia.

* There are some 1,200 job placement agencies registered at POEA.

* About 2,300 Filipinos leave the Philippines every day to find work overseas.

* Officials say six in 10 Filipinos working in the UAE came on visit visas

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