Let companies, not workers, pay placement fees: staffing group

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Monday, February 10, 2014


AN OFFICIAL from an international recruitment agency is calling on other agencies to follow ethical recruitment in the hiring process. This means not charging “even a single centavo” to the workers and letting the employers shoulder the cost.

Cesar A. Averia, Jr, Executive Development Institute (EDI)-Staffbuilders International president and chief executive officer, said he has been advocating this “no pay” advocacy ever since the agency was established 35 years ago under its mother company John Clements Consultants, Inc.

EDI, which holds its main office in Makati City, has been in the business of sending Filipinos abroad and is sending on average 1,800 to 2,200 Filipinos abroad yearly. EDI managing director Aristotle M. Metin said the agency already sent around 80,000 employees since it was established in 1979.

Averia said that while recruitment agencies in the Philippines are allowed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency to charge “placement fee” equivalent to one month salary of the worker, it is encouraged that Filipino workers be able to work abroad not based on their ability to pay the fee but on their skills.

Personal documents like passport and NBI clearance have to be shouldered by the applicants or workers themselves, Averia said.

Aside from giving talks to local recruitment agencies, Averia also encouraged Bangladesh recruitment agencies to follow the same after he was invited by the Bangladesh government to talk about ethical recruitment and how can they still be profitable without asking for fees and without burdening overseas workers.

Bangladesh is also one of the countries in Asia that sends a large number of overseas workers yearly. Since the 1970s, the country has sent over an estimated 6.7 million migrant workers to more than 140 countries across the globe.

EDI, through Averia, represented the Philippines in the recently conducted worldwide labor conference, the Merchants of Labor, Policy Dialogue on the Agents of
International Labor Migration held at the International Labor Organization (ILO)
headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“In EDI, we strongly believe that the best available Filipino will never pay any single centavo to the recruitment agency. Decent companies know this,” said Averia.

Top companies

EDI ties up with almost 200 multi-national companies in USA, Europe, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa. Of the number, 54 of are part of the world’s top 500 companies. These companies, Averia said, shoulder the fees for their workers.

“It (multinational company) is their responsibility to pay the recruitment company and hire the staff that they need and they know that,” he said.

The official said that what discourages agencies from considering removing the placement fees could be profit, but he pointed out that one can still be profitable without passing on the burden to the workers.

“We (EDI) have been doing this for 35 years and we are still here,” he said.
Averia said applicants often expressed disbelief when told that they will not be paying anything to EDI.

Last week, the agency held a job fair in Cebu at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel. Job vacancies include those in the executive, professional and technical positions, which include bankers, engineers, programmers, doctors, and managers among many others.

Yesterday, EDI through Averia received a presidential award from President Benigno S. Aquino, III.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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