What is Illegal Recruitment?

Any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers and includes referring, contract services, promising or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of authority contemplated under Art 13 (F) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided, That any such non-licensee or non-holder who, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. (Sec. 6, RA 8042).

It shall likewise include the following acts, whether committed by any persons, whether a non-licensee, non-holder, licensee or holder of authority.

(a)    To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than the specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance;

(b)   To furnish or publish any false notice or information or document in relation to recruitment or employment;

(c)    To give any false notice, testimony, information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a license or authority under the Labor Code;

(d)   To induce or attempt to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him another unless the transfer is designed to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment;

(e)    To influence or attempt to influence any persons or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for employment through his agency;

(f)     To engage in the recruitment of placement of workers in jobs harmful to public health or morality or to dignity of the Republic of the Philippines;

(g)   To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his duly authorized representative;

(h)   To fail to submit reports on the status of employment, placement vacancies, remittances of foreign exchange earnings, separations from jobs, departures and such other matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor and Employment;

(i)     To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the worker, employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment;

(j)     For an officer or agent of a recruitment or placement agency to become an officer or member of the Board of any corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly on indirectly in the management of a travel agency;

(k)    To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under the Labor Code and its implementing rules and regulations;

(l)     Failure to actually deploy without valid reasons as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment; and

(m)  Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker's fault. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage.

Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group.

The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the principals, accomplices and accessories. In case of juridical persons, the officers having control, management or direction of their business shall be liable.

What are the penalties for illegal recruitment?

(a)   Any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years and a fine not less than two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) nor more than five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00).

(b)   The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) nor more than one million pesos (P1,000,000.00) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined herein.

Provided, however, that the maximum penalty shall be imposed if the person illegally recruited is less than eighteen (18) years of age or committed by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority.

How to identify an illegal recruiter?

Kilalanin ang illegal recruiter!

Ang illegal recruiter ay:

  • agad naniningil ng placement fee o anumang kaukulang bayad nang walang resibo
  • nangangako ng madaliang pag-alis patungo sa ibang bansa
  • nagre-require agad ng medical examination o training kahit wala pang malinaw na employer o kontrata
  • nakikipag-transaksiyon sa mga aplikante sa mga pampublikong lugar tulad ng restaurant, mall, atbpa. at hindi sa opisina ng lisensyadong ahensiya
  • bahay-bahay kung mag-recruit ng mga aplikante
  • hindi nagbibigay ng sapat na impormasyon tungkol sa ina-aplayang trabaho
  • nagsasabi na may kausap na direct employer at ang mga aplikante ay di na kailangang dumaan sa POEA
  • nangangako ng mabilis na pag-alis ng aplikante gamit ang tourist o visit visa
  • walang maipakitang employment contract o working visa
  • nagpapakilala na empleyado ng isang lisensyadong recruitment agency ngunit walang maipakitang ID
  • nagpapakilala na konektado sa isang travel agency o training center
  • nanghihikayat sa mga aplikante na mangalap ng iba pang aplikante upang mapabilis ang pagpapaalis
  • walang maibigay na sapat at tamang impormasyon tungkol sa sarili tulad ng buong pangalan o address
  • nangangako na ang mga dokumento ay ipapasok sa POEA para mai-process (lalo na sa kaso ng EPS-Korea)
  • hihikayatin ka dahil nakapag-paalis na ng isa o higit pa gamit ay tourist visa

How to Avoid Illegal Recruitment

1.     Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA.

2.     Do not deal with licensed agencies without job orders.

3.     Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency.

4.     Do not transact business outside the registered address of the agency. If recruitment is conducted in the province, check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority.

5.     Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs.

6.     Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt.

7.     Do not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring you to reply to a Post Office (P.O.) Box, and to enclose payment for processing of papers.

8.     Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies, which promise overseas employment.

9.     Do not accept a tourist visa.

10.  Do not deal with fixers.

Modus Operandi of Illegal Recruiters

Escort Services: Undocumented workers are escorted at the airport or any international exit to evade checkpoints set to check on the documents of workers.

Tourist Worker Scheme: Workers leave the country purportedly as tourist but in reality is being deployed as worker abroad.

Assumed Identity: Workers particularly minors are deployed abroad under an assumed identity.

Direct Hiring: Workers are hired by foreign employers without the intervention of licensed recruitment agencies and are deployed undocumented and without protection.

Trainee Worker Scheme: Hired workers are deployed allegedly not for employment but for training purposes only and will return to sending company after training.

Backdoor Points Scheme: Workers are sent abroad not through regular exit channels like airports but are deployed usually through cargo ships.

Tie-Up System: Unlicensed recruiters with foreign principals who are usually in the blacklist use the name and offices of licensed recruiters in their illegal activity.

Visa Assistance/Consultancy Scheme: Firms that offer services including the pairing of workers with foreign employers and promising applicants immigrant visas but are in reality engaged in the recruitment business.

Blind Ads Scheme: Workers are enticed to apply and send cash payments addressed to a Postal Office Box without the worker having the opportunity to communicate personally with the recruiter.

Policy on Immigration Consultants

MC 10, series of 2003

Immigration consultancy agencies and similar entities which are based locally, are required to obtain a license in accordance with the guidelines as provided for in Part II, Rule I, secs. 1 and 2 and Rule 2, secs. 1 to 5 of the 2002 POEA Rules and Regulations, before they may engage in recruitment and placement activities, regardless of the visa under which deployment shall be made eventually.

FEES shall be duly covered with OFFICIAL RECEIPTS and may be collected only AFTER a worker has been issued the necessary EB3 Visa .

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