THE presence of illegal recruiters in Central Visayas may not be considered in an alarming stage, but an official of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency 7 is reminding jobseekers to be mindful of who they deal with.

POEA 7 chief Evelita Durato, in an interview, said four persons were recently apprehended by the Bureau of Immigration at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport after government officials learned they were carrying tourist visas for an employment offer in Dubai.

“We in POEA advise our jobseekers to be careful in dealing with recruiters because even though Cebu and Region 7 do not have an alarming presence of illegal recruiters, there will always be those who will take advantage (of the jobseekers),” Durato said.

Specific procedures

She noted that one of the most common schemes adopted by illegal recruiters is the promise of fast and easy processing of the jobseekers’ documents.

A legitimate recruitment process takes more time, as there are specific procedures to be followed to ensure that those who leave the country for a job abroad are fit for overseas employment, and they have jobs and legitimate employers waiting for them.

To avoid illegal recruiters, Durato advised those who are looking for jobs abroad to participate in job fairs hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment and the local government units, for these can assure jobseekers that they are transacting with legal entities.

In POEA’s campaign against illegal recruitment, it cautions the public against applying at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA or dealing with agencies without job orders. One can check with the POEA whether the position applied for has an approved job order.

The POEA also warns against dealing with persons who are not authorized representatives of a licensed agency and cautions against transacting business outside the registered address of an agency. If recruitment is conducted in the province, applicants are encouraged to check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority.

Applicants are also warned not to pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs. They should only pay placement fees if they have a valid employment contract and official receipt.

POEA warned against being enticed by ads or brochures requiring replies to be sent to a post office (PO) box and to enclose payment for processing of papers. It also cautioned against dealing with training centers and travel agencies promising overseas employment.

Overseas jobseekers are also warned against accepting only tourist visas and dealing with fixers.

Durato reiterated that it is important to undergo the legal process because this will make it easier for POEA to go after abusive employers in foreign lands,

like those who violate the terms of job contracts given to overseas Filipino workers and those who subject employees to maltreatment.

While there are jobs available in the country, Durato said there are still Filipinos who choose to go abroad and look for other opportunities.

The administration of President Aquino pushes for the creation of local jobs and sees working abroad as a “choice” rather than a “necessity.”

Based on the 2013 Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO) compendium of statistics, there are around 1.34 million undocumented Filipino migrant workers and over 10.5 million Filipinos overseas who are either permanently residing or temporarily working abroad.