Beware of illegal recruiters in Macau

Filipino workers and tourists looking for work in Macau must be extra cautious in accepting offers from other Filipinos for supposed employment in mainland China.

In a report, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said that Department of Foreign Affairs has endorsed the case of a Filipina household service worker in Macau who was allegedly recruited by a Filipina named Pia Ciabacal.

According to the DFA, the OFW went to Macau as a tourist and was able to land a job as a household service worker.

Ciabacal allegedly offered her a job in Beijing for the same position with a monthly salary of RMB7,500 per month. The domestic worker was able to enter and work in China but the employer refused to pay her any salary for her services. They even confiscated her passport and cellular phone.

Ciabacal and other Filipinos in Macau allegedly work as agents for a certain Chinese recruiter known only as “Fancy”. Fancy allegedly owns an establishment called MMC Enterprises located at Beleno Shop, Red Market in Macau. The Beleno shop acts as a front for MMC which clandestinely operates as a recruitment agency targeting unsuspecting Filipinos and Indonesians.

The POEA has also received reports of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Cyprus who were lured into transferring to another country like Dubai, Mongolia, Turkey, and Russia.

The OFWs later found out the conditions of employment are not what one had in mind, or worse, the offered job is non-existent. The recruiters were mostly foreign nationals who have Filipino partners in their illegal activities.

There were reports of workers who fell into this racket paying exorbitant fees for just being able to travel to the third country using tourist visa and even without assurance of employers waiting for them. Those who found employment later are sometimes abused by the employers, and for lack of proper work documents, the hapless workers were arrested and deported by immigration authorities.

Recruitment through a third country is considered illegal recruitment if neither the recruiter nor the employer has proper authorization from the Philippine government.

For their own protection, applicants for overseas jobs should only transact with licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines. They should have the appropriate work permit or visa or employment contract approved by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and processed by the POEA.

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