Cool Tip #057: Four (4) Tips to Protect Yourself Against Illegal Recruiters

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For a lot of Filipinos, the road to the OFW life begins with a recruitment agency. These agencies facilitate the placement of Filipinos in jobs abroad, serving as a bridge between foreign employers and potential employees in the Philippines. While this is all well and good, we can’t help but hear stories from the news about illegal recruiters and how these supposed “agencies” are scamming and ruining the lives of numerous Filipinos. So, how exactly can you OFW aspirants avoid these bad elements? How can you know if a recruiter is trustworthy or not? Well, if you’re at a loss, then here are some of our tips that might be able to help:

  1. Research the agency. Once you’ve chosen a recruitment agency to approach, be sure to do your research and get as much information as possible about this agency. If you’re looking to approach multiple agencies, then increase your research efforts to cover all of these. A quick search online should do the trick—if the agency is famous for being untrustworthy, then you should be able to see negative reviews for it all over the Internet. Of course, don’t forget that you can also ask people you know for advice as to whether or not you should trust the agency. Maybe one of them has already encountered the agency before; he or she can be a valuable resource for you to learn more about the agency in question. Whichever means you use, as long as you find one reliable piece of information that causes you to doubt the integrity of the agency, then back out as soon as you can.
  2. Check for certification. As you do your research or even as you make your first visit to the agency, be sure to determine if your desired agency has the legal certification or permit/s to operate and carry out recruitment activities in the country. Even better, you can check if the recruiter is registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA by visiting this link: http://poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/aglist.asp.
  3. Be informed of the process. We strongly recommend reading up on what a typical recruitment process looks like before you engage with an agency. Know what fees are usually paid, how much these fees are, what kinds of procedures are usually done and how long these can take, etc. By being familiar with what the process should be, you will be better able to judge during your own recruitment process whether or not an agency is being trustworthy or not.
  4. Be observant and smart. So you’ve done all of the above and have decided on finally engaging with a recruitment agency that seems trustworthy. Should you just go ahead, let the agency handle things, and follow whatever they tell you to do without a second thought? No. You should remain attentive at all times and check whether or not the process you’re going through still looks right. While you’re at it, be aware of how the recruiters are handling their clients or the agency in general. Ask yourself: are any critical pieces of information being withheld from you? Were you fully informed of what the entire recruitment process would run? Are they asking you to shell out enormous sums of money for the wrong reasons? Are the recruiters knowledgeable about the process at all? Be smart at all times, enough to know if something seems out of place. Finally, as your application is being processed, be mindful of it and check on it from time to time. This will not only keep you updated on the status of your papers but it will also assure you that the agency is really doing its job.

Following the above suggested methods should help you avoid most of the illegal and untrustworthy recruitment agencies out there. However, we should caution you that there are instances where, even though you have conducted the most exhaustive checks you could have done, an agency you approach still turns out to be untrustworthy. This is why being constantly vigilant is a must when dealing with recruitment agencies. Also, as a service to your fellow OFW aspirants, if you do find out that a recruitment agency is untrustworthy, be sure to let the word out and report the agency to the designated authorities so that they won’t be able to victimize more people. On the other hand, if you do find out that one is trustworthy, let the word out as well so others may know. Tulong-tulong lang 🙂

See you next time, mga Ka-Tsong!

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