Despite laws protecting the rights of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), many of them still fall prey to illegal recruiters and end up exhausting their savings without landing an overseas job.
Trying to find work abroad? Are you sure you're dealing with a legitimate recruitment agency? Apply only through a recruiter licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Here are four ways to find legitimate OFW agencies and recruiters that can help you secure a job abroad.
1. Use the POEA Verification System
The POEA is the government agency in charge of licensing agencies that recruit and deploy Filipinos for working abroad. It has a verification system that allows prospective OFWs to check a recruitment agency's current status—whether it has a valid license or is marked as one of the following: delisted, canceled, forever banned, or ceased operations. The system also provides the websites and contact information of licensed recruiters.
3 Ways to Check Legitimate OFW Recruiters with POEA
- POEA website: To access the verification system, click the Status of Recruitment Agencies link on the POEA website's homepage.
- POEA mobile app: You can download POEA's mobile app via the App Store or Google Play Store. The app works like the recruiter verification system on the POEA website.
- POEA hotlines: If you don't have internet access, you may call the POEA via 722-1144 or 722-1155.
2. Check Out Websites with Job Listings of Licensed Recruiters
Aside from the POEA website, you can find legitimate overseas work opportunities at online job portals. These websites feature job listings of POEA-licensed recruiters. Here are some of them:
- Seaman Jobsite
3. Check Reviews about OFW Recruiters Online
Your trusted OFW family and friends are the best people to ask for recommendations on recruiters. But if none of your loved ones have experienced working abroad, you can find reviews about recruitment agencies on the internet.
A good place to search for relevant information about OFW recruiters is RecruitmentAdvisor. It's a global recruitment and employment review platform developed by the International Labour Organization, Migrant Forum in Asia, and other partner organizations.
RecruitmentAdvisor allows OFWs to comment on their personal experiences with recruiters and rate them based on recruitment fees, pre-departure orientation, employment contract, and other criteria. Their reviews are helpful to other Filipinos who are looking for work abroad.
How to Find Legit Recruiters on RecruitmentAdvisor
- Visit the RecruitmentAdvisor website.
- Choose "Philippines" under the "Where are You From?" drop-down menu.
- Choose a country of employment under "Where Do You Want to Work?"
- Click on one of the recruiters listed on the page.
- Check the ratings and reviews for your chosen recruitment agency.
4. Avoid Scammers on Facebook
It's hard to trust everything you see on social media nowadays, what with the rise of fake news and online investment scams. Facebook groups that post fake overseas job ads are no exception.
Just recently, the POEA issued a public warning against job scammers on Facebook. The government agency has received reports about Facebook groups that post fake ads for various positions in developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.
Scammers lure people into emailing their resume to a job portal. They offer a lot of benefits, like high pay, paid leaves, and free transportation, accommodation, and food. But the catch is, they require applicants to pay a fee for processing travel documents. For instance, a victim reported that he was asked to deposit a visa fee worth PHP 9,800 to a Philippine bank account.
The POEA warns prospective OFWs to avoid transacting with anyone that requires payments for documents and seminars. This is a telltale sign of an overseas job scam.
Also, recruiters must not collect fees from OFW applicants for expenses such as visa, work permit, POEA processing, and airfare, according to POEA rules and regulations. Foreign employers are supposed to pay for these costs. Know what OFW fees you're required to pay for working abroad and which ones aren't.
It takes a lot of research and caution to avoid illegal recruiters and protect yourself while looking for your first overseas job. This ensures you're dealing only with a POEA-accredited agency.