MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Thursday warned Filipinos wishing to work abroad about immigration consultants and travel agencies that offered overseas jobs.
POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that offering overseas employment in the guise of visa assistance without a license or authority from the POEA constituted illegal recruitment under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
“Immigration consultants are required to obtain a license from the POEA before they may engage in recruitment and placement activities, regardless of the visa under which deployment shall be made eventually,” said Cacdac in a statement.
He said jobseekers need not engage immigration consultants who charge thousands of dollars for supposed working visas to countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
“By having an agent, they would be paying for information and counsel that are free and readily available in those countries’ respective websites,” Cacdac said.
“Also, the documents required by the immigration offices of those countries could only be produced by the applicant and not by the consultant,” he said.
Cacdac said that those wanting to work or migrate to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia could visit the following websites: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/; www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/; www.cic.gc.ca/english/index-can.asp; and www.immi.gov.au/skilled/.
He said travel agencies also were not allowed to engage in the recruitment and placement of Filipino workers.
He noted that some travel agencies included in their tour packages “the opportunity to hunt for jobs” in the course of their travel abroad.
Others are more blatant, directly offering “overseas jobs” to clients. Cacdac said travel and immigration consultancy agencies, if found illegally recruiting Filipino workers, would be closed down and the owners prosecuted.
The POEA recently padlocked the offices of Firststep Consultancy and Career Development, and LJP Travel Assistance Agency, for illegal recruitment activities, Cacdac said.—Philip C. Tubeza