Work Abroad for Filipinos: Avoiding Online Job Scams"Work Abroad for Filipinos" is an enticing site ad for workers in the Philippines. But, Internet users need to avoid online job scams. Here are some tips.
"Work Abroad for Filipinos" can be used as an ad of an Internet job search site that wants to attract unemployed or underpaid workers in the Philippines. In fact, there is a website named workabroad.ph (Work Abroad Philippines) that provides Filipino job seekers a means to become workers overseas.
The site also allows personnel recruitment agencies to post ads and browse through profiles of thousands of applicants. Moreover, it offers a list of reminders for Filipinos looking for overseas jobs through the Internet.
Countries hiring foreign workers - Overseas jobs for FilipinosFilipino workers abroad can be found in almost all continents of the world. According to Surya B. Prasai, an international development resources consultant based in Washington DC, the Philippines was one of the top labor sending countries in 2010.
Many local and global recruitment agencies offer overseas work opportunities in different countries like the United States and Canada in North America. In Europe, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can be found in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Spain, among others.
In Oceania and Africa, Filipinos are hired in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, and South Africa, to name a few. In Asia, the largest continent, OFWs serve employers in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Kuwait, etc.
Work abroad for Filipinos - Preventing online fraudAccording to workabroad.ph, Filipino online job seekers should adopt "extra caution and vigilance". The site advises the following job hunting tips to avoid falling prey to unscrupulous recruiters with employment ads on cyberspace:
- "Don't readily give cash"
Legitimate agencies are prohibited by Philippine law from "Charging, imposing or accepting directly or indirectly, any amount of money goods or services, or any fee or bond for any purpose whatsoever before employment is obtained for an applicant worker." The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is mandated to hear cases related to such recruitment violation.
- "Be suspicious of unsolicited emails"
In September 2010, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued an advisory about an email informing recipients of job opportunities at a certain Mobil Oil Company in Malaysia. Such information, however, was a hoax. Another example of such fraudulent job ad sent via email was the 419 Scam involving recruitment syndicates based in Nigeria. Said scam victimized a number of Filipino applicants and OFWs in 2009.
Work Abroad Philippines suggests that job hunters should ask themselves these questions before believing the such offer - "Is the company/recruitment agency legitimate? Have you sent an application to this company/recruitment agency?" If the answer is "NO", then it is not true.
- "Do your research"
In 2008, the POEA warned OFWs and job seekers about online employment scams involving: (1) Reserve Petroleum Nederland BV, (2) Western Nursing and Day Care Services Ltd., and (3) First Global Manpower. These companies required payment for visa processing which is also illegal.
Workabroad.ph says that applicants should check with the POEA to know if a particular recruitment agency is licensed. For recruiters overseas, it is best to contact the host country's embassy in the Philippines to check the company's legitimacy.
- "Be well informed"
Aside from checking with the POEA and/or with the host country's embassy, Filipino looking for work abroad have the right to demand from the recruitment agency additional information about the employer, including address and telephone numbers. Work Abroad Philippines notes that "A legitimate placement agency will require personal appearance before it can market you to an employer."
- "Check the website"
The website of legal overseas recruitment agencies should contain: "The real name of the persons involved, (not just a company or business name), a telephone number, and a street address (not just a P.O. Box)."
- "Keep some personal and financial information confidential"
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in connection with the 419 Scam, informs the public "not to send any money or divulge personal information, particularly bank accounts or credit card numbers..."
Workabroad.ph further gives this reminder: "Give only details that are necessary for employers to evaluate your competence for the job. Financial information...are not necessary and may even be used to steal your identity. "
Helping Filipino workers against online job scamsAside from seeking help from the POEA, the DOLE, and the DFA, Filipino workers and job hunters can report Internet fraud to the Computer Crime Unit of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Non-profit organizations for migrant worker issues are also on hand to lend support. These include Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Inc., Visayan Forum, and Migrante International, among others.
Migrant work - Reflecting other economic problems in the Philippines"Work Abroad for Filipinos" is heavily linked to dollar remittances produced by OFWs to help keep the national economy afloat even in the midst of world economic turmoil. The Philippine government hails such benefit, referring to OFWs as "Bagong Bayani" (New Heroes). However, the mere sending of Filipinos workers overseas is proof of a struggling economy, plagued with a high rate of unemployment or inability to create enough jobs. Consequently, this results in poverty and has classified the Philippines as a "Third World" country.
History shows that early Filipinos ventured into finding work in countries colonized by Hispanic forces, as well as in plantations in Hawaii, to escape the harsh realities of imperialist rule. Succeeding generations of migrant workers likewise experience serious challenges and issues, ranging from illegal recruitment and human trafficking to debt bondage and cruel employment conditions.
In spite of the income a job abroad provides to professionals and skilled workers (e.g., domestic helpers, teachers, nurses, doctors, seafarers, carpenters, caregivers, nannies, entertainers, and drivers, etc.), leaving their loved ones behind is painful for OFWs who are mostly women. Many compensate their absence with material goods and financial support. However, such separation may also lead to marital conflicts, abandonment, more money problems, severe depression, and even death.
Thus, before going to work abroad, Filipino job hunters need to have the determination and courage to overcome the odds. They should also have enough legal information to avoid web scams.
Written by Leann Zarah (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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