Ajibodu Kosenat, an alleged victim of job fraud by a Sharjah recruitment company, talking to Gulf News. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Sharjah: A Nigerian jobseeker is demanding a refund from a Sharjah employment services company that she claims promised her a job interview in return for application fees.

Under Ministry of Labour rules it is prohibited to demand payment from jobseekers for brokering or securing placements with employers.

Ajibodu Kosenat, 28, claims Al Aidy Al Mahirah Employment & Manpower Supply Services received Dh250 from her as “application fees and training”.

A February 27 company receipt she was given by the company and shown to Gulf News is signed in the space for company “Accountant.”

When Gulf News called the company, a man who identified himself as the company accountant denied any wrongdoing. However, he declined to provide additional comments over the phone.

An official from the ministry urged job seekers to report companies charging application fees, calling it a “serious” and illegal practice that has duped many applicants.

Kosenat said this is her first visit to the UAE and “like many first-time visitors I didn’t know what is the right way to go about this”.

She also claims she was asked to pay Dh250 on February 22 during her first visit to the company office in the Dubai Islamic Bank Building at the corner of Immigration Road.

“The first Dh250 was for this ‘card’ they gave me with a number on it. I was told it was for starting the process. The card was taken back when I later gave the ‘balance’ of Dh250. I needed this Dh500 to extend my visit visa but I never got it back,” Kosenat said.

“They told me they would fix up a job interview for me by Sunday or Monday — the day my visa expires. When I told them this was impossible and demanded my money back, they refused. They haven’t called back.”

She added: “I was told verbally if I don’t get placed for an interview, I would get my money back. I waited and waited but nothing has happened. I even showed them my return ticket, saying ‘please, give me a chance [job interview] or give me my money’.”

Kosenat said she complained to officials at Buhairah police station who advised her to approach the courts.

She added: “The police told me there are several complaints against the company but the court was the right place to take this. I don’t have the money and time to fight a case over Dh500. The point is, like others, I was duped into paying – and for what? This is not good for the image of the country, why doesn’t anyone take action?”

A number of candidates have reported similar complaints against the company. A few had shared their stories earlier with XPRESS, a sister publication of Gulf News. Also, a number of stories on job “scams” – including those mentioning Al Aidy – are published on the website of the Ministry of Labour (mol.gov.ae).

Others have similarly criticised the company and other employment services firms through online forums like complaintsboard.com and reviewstalk.com.

Kosenat said she had called the company after reading an ad for “job opportunities” in the newspaper classifieds last month.