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Dubai: VFS, a global visa service provider firm, has issued a warning about job scams being run in its name. On Tuesday the company, which has offices in the UAE as well, said they had received 560 complaints in 2018 about bogus job and immigration offers.

In these complaints, most from people based in India followed by those based in the Middle East according to VFS, scamsters make job offers or immigration offers in exchange for significant sums of money paid upfront for visa or work permits.

While the number of complaints has dropped year on year, VFS maintains that being aware of the way these fraudulent offers come through is key in reporting them. A recurring theme in the compaints the firm received is the modus operandi: the fraudster informs the unsuspecting individual via email that their qualifications have been found suitable to work as an employee or for immigration and settlement purposes. The individual is then asked to share personal data and make upfront payments to expedite a visa/immigration process or job offers.

The company's statement goes on to say, "It is important to remember that these communications are fraudulent – they do not originate from VFS Global nor are they associated with the company’s visa processes. Further, VFS Global is not a recruitment company and does not offer jobs or immigration advisory."

It is also important to know that according to UAE labour laws, it is illegal for recruitment agents and companies to charge job candidates and employees any fees for any part of the recruitment process or residence visa and work permit application.

How to recognise fraudulent job offers

  • If the offer in that email sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Check the email address and domain of the sender
  • Did you apply to the company who 'offered' you the job?
  • Do not click on links without contacting said company on official channels first
  • Do not entertain any payment requests, even with reimbursement promises
  • Do a quick online search on the company and check their official addresses, email id domain names etc.
  • Check the logos of the company (for jobs) or embassy (for immigration process)
  • Call 800 46342 (800-INDIA) if you are based in India and think you received a bogus job offer
  • For VFS 'job offers', contact the company at customercare@vfsglobal.com to verify

In July, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had warned against a recruitment scam in the name of an Indian school in the capital. The school alerted the embassy and the mission urged Indians residing in the UAE, India and other countries, that if contacted by such fraudsters, to immediately report the matter.

Pravasi Bharatiya Sahaya Kendra (PBSK), previously known as Indian Workers Resource Centre can help verify and thwart such fraudsters. Call 800 46342 (800-INDIA) if you are based in India and think you received a bogus job offer.

In 2018, the UAE Ministry of Interior warned the public against fraudsters who promoted fake medical jobs online; the scamsters asked recipients to pay money in advance.

If caught, online fraudsters scamming money from residents could get a jail sentence of not less than a year, along with fines ranging from Dh250,000 to a million dirhams. If you get an offer you think is a scam claiming to be from a company here in the UAE, you can report it to the police and the mentioned company to get it verified and investigated.