The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has warned Filipinos seeking jobs abroad about a new recruitment scam which the Philippine Embassy in Germany uncovered.
In a statement, the DFA said two Filipinos contacted the embassy for help in verifying the status of a company named Markel-Power International, located in the northern German city of Bremen, which had informed the two through e-mail that they would be hired by the firm.
But the company had one condition for the jobs. They first had to pay 70 euros (about P4,600) through Western Union to an employment company based in Monza, a city in Italy’s Lombardy region.
The Philippine embassy discovered that Markel-Power International was non-existent, was not registered with the Bremen Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had a fictitious address, had no telephone and fax numbers, and was using a host in the United States for its English website.
“The embassy is convinced this recruitment scheme is another variation of the Nigerian 4-1-9 advance-fee scam designed to victimize innocent Filipino jobseekers,” chargé d’affaires Christine Queenie Mangunay said.
The Nigerian 4-1-9 scam, also known as the Nigerian advance-fee scheme, involves the receipt of an unsolicited letter allegedly from a Nigerian Central Bank employee or from the Nigerian government. It is named after the section of the Nigerian penal code which tackles fraudulent schemes.
The embassy has warned Filipino jobseekers of the new scam and has asked the DFA to bring the matter to the attention of relevant authorities such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Justice and Philippine National Police.
Meanwhile, an overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) group yesterday called on the Philippine government to do something about the “unabated” illegal recruitment of OFWs to Macau.
Cynthia Tellez, executive director of the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) based in Hong Kong, said the Philippine government was ignoring the victims of illegal recruitment.
MFMW called on the government to provide immediate assistance, such as temporary shelter, legal counsel and air passage, to all victims of illegal recruitment, and to arrest and prosecute all illegal recruiters of Filipinos in Macau.
According to Tellez, MFMW handled nearly 50 OFWs who were victims of illegal recruitment to Macau in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Thirteen OFWs had sought the assistance of the Filipino Catholic Pastoral Center and Migrante Macau. Tellez said the group sought the assistance of the Philippine consulate on Jan. 5.
“We were told by the assistance to nationals section officer that we cannot get any assistance from them and they even blamed us for our plight,” Tellez quoted one of the OFWs, Rico Cabangon, as saying. Source: Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Immigration Matters Comment
Unfortunately fake job scams like this are on the rise in the UK and Europe.
For tips on how to spot a fake job offer see:
6 ways to spot a fake job offer
Here are six useful tips from Cynthia Barker, Manager of London based immigration firm Bison UK. Cynthia, who has helped thousands of workers and students come to the UK, said there are a number of questions you should first ask yourself when looking at employment offers.
1. Is the recruitment method unusual or suspicious?
Companies do not hire workers by sending unsolicited emails and in countries like the Philippines recruitment of workers is regulated by government agencies such as the POEA. Genuine employers will usually interview candidates or use a reputable agency.
2. Has the job been advertised through legitimate media in the UK?
Jobs advertised to foreign or non EU workers are normally be advertised on the official Job Centre Plus website and in some cases in the press. If not, the employer will be unable to obtain permission to employ the worker under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. See http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/. Remember, anyone can set up a website, so you need to look further than an internet based advertisement.
3. Is the Job of the official Shortage Occupation list?
If the job is not a shortage occupation the chances of obtaining a certificate of sponsorship is greatly reduced.
4. Does the post qualify under Tier 2?
The job role must be at or above NVQ Level 3, otherwise the employer will not be allowed to employ you and you will not get a visa to enter the UK. See Working in the UK. For instance, a Waiter or Cleaner will be considered at below NVQ Level 3 and will not qualifiy under Tier 2.
5. Does the employment letter contain a UK landline and address?
Most of the letters we see do not have landline telephone numbers (e.g. with the prefix 0208 or 01707) and many have PO Box addresses or addresses which simply do not exist. A few minutes on the internet on sites like Royal Mail Postcode Finder or Google Maps should reveal all you need to know.
6. Have you been asked to send money?
UK employers and agencies are not allowed to charge placement fees, even though this practice may be acceptable in many countries which supply staff to the UK. If you are asked to send money for any reason this is the first sign that you are being sucked into a scam or confidence trick.
What else can you do to avoid being conned?
- Research the company – use websites such as Companies House and Yell.com.
- Look at the company website – check if job vacancies are advertised
- Call or email the head office or HR department direct and inform them of the offer.
- Check the email address – most fraudsters use free Yahoo or Hotmail account rather than an in-house ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ domain.
- Ask a friend or relative (if you have one in the UK) to call or visit the employer.
- Contact your Embassy in London or your local labour department.
- Set up a spam filter – a good spam filter will usually spot the emails as spam and save you time and money.
Finally, use your judgement – if something seems too good to be true it probably is.
Have you received a fake job offer? You can comment on this story below.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
UK Border Agency – Sponsoring Migrant Workers