FILIPINO nurses bound for Saudi Arabia have been cautioned against handing in falsified credentials, including padded certificates of prior employment, that could get them in trouble with the law in the kingdom of oil production.
In Saudi Arabia alone, we’ve responded to more than 100 requests for assistance from Filipino nurses who were arrested and jailed on charges of tendering fabricated eligibility papers.
The misrepresentations were discovered and the nurses were caught after they had spent months on their jobs in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
We’ve also had cases of nurses with tampered papers who were either acquitted or deported after paying a stiff fine.
Many of the cases of fraud can be attributed to local recruitment agencies.
If the nurse for instance lacks the required duration of occupational experience, the dishonest recruiters themselves will produce the spurious papers, just so they can deploy (the nurse) and make money out of the job placement.
In at least two cases reported to ACTS-OFW, the jailed nurses claimed that their recruiters--FEMEX Recruitment Agency Inc. and MSL Star Human Resource Corp.--instructed them to submit the fake documents and even facilitated the acquisition of the bogus papers, according to House Resolution 1118.
I filed the resolution to enable a congressional inquiry into the proliferation of forged credentials to comply with the requirements of foreign employers.
Recruiters are supposed to validate the papers of job applicants, and not facilitate fraud.
The Saudi Labor Ministry can be rigorous in fact-checking the qualifications of highly skilled professionals such as doctors, nurses and engineers.
ACTS OFW has been working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs to find ways to resolve the cases of the nurses behind bars.
In fact, we raised the matter of the detained nurses when Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif visited Malacañang on March 19, and the Prince was kind enough to assure President Duterte that they would look into the concern.
I also sought the help of the Saudi ambassador to Manila, Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bussairy.--ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto ‘John’ Bertiz III.