x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Filipinos in UAE speak out against deceptive recruitment

Desire by recruiting companies to earn money ‘has no limits’ as workers hired for hospitality sectors end up as cleaners.

ABU DHABI // Filipino workers being sent to non-existent jobs in Dubai have highlighted the desire of recruiters to increase profits through deception and circumventing the law, experts say.

Thirty Filipinas who came to work in Dubai had fled their employers’ homes and sought refuge at a makeshift shelter inside the Philippine overseas labour office in Al Ghusais.

The women were told they would be working in sectors such as the hospitality industry, but ended up as household workers when they arrived in Dubai.

They were hired for jobs such as waitresses, front-desk officers, receptionists, pool attendants, cooks, sales clerks and cleaners.

Copies of their sworn statements against their recruiters were sent to Manila, along with a report prepared by Delmer Cruz, the labour attaché in Dubai.

At least 21 Philippine-based agencies were named in Mr Cruz’s report. They resorted to an illegal practice called reprocessing by passing off a domestic worker as some other type of worker to avoid stringent recruitment requirements.

One of the agencies, Chanceteam International Services, had its licence preventively suspended from January 20 this year. This meant the company could not recruit or deploy workers overseas until further notice.

“The 30 workers were deployed to Dubai in late 2012 up until late last year,” Mr Cruz said yesterday. “About 80 per cent of them have been repatriated, but we were able to get their affidavits while they were with us.”

Most of the reprocessing cases happened even before the Philippine labour office in Dubai stopped verifying contracts in June after a new standard contract for domestic staff produced by the Ministry of Interior took effect on June 1 last year, he said.

Last week, Manila’s labour department instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (Poea), which oversees the licensing of recruitment agencies, to investigate the rogue agencies. These agencies now face suspension or cancellation of their licences.

Emmanuel Geslani, an overseas recruitment consultant in Manila, said: “These agencies in their desire to deploy them immediately as household workers used their existing job orders such as waitresses and cleaners,” said Mr Geslani. “Their desire to earn has no limit.”

Mr Cruz had also submitted a separate report on the illegal recruitment and human trafficking cases involving nine Filipinas. “In the past two months, we have admitted nine human trafficking victims,” he said. “And just this month, we received four more victims.”

The women were issued UAE tourist visas and hired by individuals instead of recruitment agencies licensed by the Poea in Manila.

They were made to exit the Philippines either from Kalibo Airport or by boat from Zamboanga to Sandakan in Malaysia. They later used the Kuala Lumpur-Colombo-Dubai route, travelling in batches of five to 10 persons per airline, according to Mr Cruz.

“They were issued dummy return tickets and hotel bookings to show they’re genuine tourists when in fact they came here to work,” he said.

“We need to warn job-seekers not to fall victim to human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” Mr Cruz said.

Mr Geslani welcomed the action taken by the Government against the rogue agencies and syndicates.

“The Government is doing its job by cleaning up the recidivists in the industry while we in the private sector can only advise the recruitment agencies to follow the rules,” he said.

rruiz@thenational.ae