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Sunday, March 11, 2012

POEA penalizes 11 recruitment agencies

For the first two months of 2012, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has cancelled the license of ten recruitment agencies for charging excessive placement fees and issued a suspension order against an agency for recruiting without a valid job order and other recruitment violations.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the imposition of penalties upon erring recruitment agencies is in line with his 7-point agenda that includes strengthened enforcement of anti- illegal recruitment laws and licensed recruitment regulations, and improved POEA adjudication record in case disposition.
Cacdac ordered the preventive suspension of Reajent Manpower Services after 40 jobseekers filed 9 recruitment violation cases against the agency.

The complainants alleged that Reajent Manpower Services promised them jobs in Australia either as fruit picker, fruit picker supervisor, cleaner, secretary, office staff or security guard, and required them to pay Php5,000.00 for processing fee and an amount equivalent of their supposed monthly salary as placement fee.

The applicants also claimed that the agency collected from each of them AUD250 for cash bond, Php3,500-Php6,000 for medical tests, Php850-Php950 for trade tests, Php2,600- Php4,500 for local training, and AUD250.00 for theoretical training.

The complainants said the recruitment agency failed to deploy them despite their payments and assurances by its officers and employees. Upon verification at the POEA, the complainants discovered that Reajent Manpower Services has no valid job orders for the promised employment in Australia.

Cacdac identified the other recruitment agencies which license was cancelled from January to February 2012 as: Tai-Fil Manpower Services Inc.; Lucky International Placement Services Inc.; 3R International Manpower Services; EMR Construction and Manpower Services; First Cosmopolitan Manpower and Promotion Services, Inc.; International Progress, Inc; Pearl of Panay Worldwide Manpower Services, Inc.; Roschazz UK Placement Consultancy; Worldgoal Corporation; and Sun Marino Shipping, Inc.

The complainant in the case of Lucky International claimed that she was charged PhP101,000.00 for her job as caretaker in Taiwan.
POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 6, issued in 2006, however, strictly prohibits Philippine recruitment agencies from collecting any placement fee from applicants for household service worker positions, including caregivers.
Cacdac ordered the cancellation of the license of Lucky International on January 24, 2012, and as a consequence, its officers and directors as of April 2007 were disqualified from engaging in the business of recruitment of Filipino workers for overseas jobs.

Lucky International and its surety company were also ordered to reimburse to the complainant the amount of PhP79,060.00 representing the amount illegally collected. In the employment contract, the applicant has the obligation to pay for pre-departure expenses amounting to PhP21,940.00.

The complainant against Tai-Fil Manpower Services Inc. collected from him in 2008, placement fee amounting to PhP100,000.000 for a job as a food processor, also in Taiwan.

Section 3 of Rule V, Part 2 of the POEA Rules and Regulations prescribes a placement fee ceiling equivalent to a hired worker’s one month salary. The prevailing salary in Taiwan in
2008 was NT$17,280.00, which is roughly equivalent to PhP23,000.00.
On January 24, 2012, Administrator Cacdac ordered Tai-Fil Manpower to pay a fine of PhP40,000.00, and to refund to the complainant the PhP77,000.00 excess of the placement fee collected by the recruitment agency. The officers and directors of Tai-Fil Manpower Services at the time of the commission of the offense were also barred from participating in the overseas employment program.

Cacdac said recruitment agencies with cancelled licenses are not allowed to engage in any activity related to recruitment of applicants for overseas jobs.

The POEA has cancelled a total of 566 licenses of recruitment agencies - consisting of 44 sea- based and 522 land-based agencies, since it was mandated to regulate the overseas employment program in the early 80s.

Cacdac reminded jobseekers to be extra cautious when applying for work overseas and report to POEA any observed irregularity.

"Always check the status of your recruitment agencies for your own protection by visiting our website, or by calling POEA hotlines 722-1144 / 722-1155, and report those that are still recruiting despite the suspension or cancellation of their licenses," Cacdac said.


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