Filipinos dream of a better life. A better life may mean moving abroad, in our case it was to leave for the UK. We have featured success stories of our fellow Filipino Nurses here in the UK. Unfortunately many Filipinos aiming to reach the UK, not just nurses, have fallen victim to fraudsters. To help avoid this, we have created a guide based from shared experiential learning and professional recruiters knowledge to STOP you from being scammed by fraudulent/illegal recruiters. We are also sharing stories of Filipinos who became victims of these scams.
The Anti-Illegal Recruitment Guide for Filipinos leaving for the UK
1. Check the Employer
As for the Recruiter’s advice, it’s also best to verify the legitimacy of the Recruiter. It may be true that with going direct and bypassing POEA process, processing may be quicker. However, there are certain risks associated with circumventing this process. These guidelines and process are made to ensure that Overseas Filipino Workers are protected. If you’re not registered to POEA, it may mean that you won’t be able to seek support from the Philippine government should any employment issue may arise during said deployment.
One way to check if the job being offered is real or not is through checking the employer. Is the company registered in the Companies House? All companies in the UK has to registered in the Companies House to ensure legitimacy.
If you’re based in the Philippines or outside the UK, you cannot work in the UK without a working visa (except if you are a dependent of an individual with a working visa, ILR or a British citizen). For you to get a working visa, you need to be sponsored by a company or an employer who has the license to hire overseas employees. Not all companies have the license to sponsor. You can easily check if the company recruiting you has the right license through the Register of licensed sponsors. If they are not in the register (list), there’s a chance that the employer is not real.
Check and scrutinise the employer’s website. Some scammers can go as far as creating their own fake websites to mislead their victims. Most of the UK registered companies have proper websites and their registration number can usually be seen on their profile or at the bottom section of their sites. You can validate their registration in the UK’s companies house.
2. Verify your agency with POEA
International/overseas jobs are managed mostly by recruitment agencies. They must be accredited by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency). You can search in the POEA website the status of the agency. Each job has a job order number which you can also verify via the POEA site.
Beware of people who pose as legit recruiters and demand money for registration/ processing/ fast track employment in the UK. Demand for their POEA registration and job order number so you can verify this yourself from the official POEA website. A true recruiter will never hesitate to give you their verification details with the POEA.
There are also some agencies posing to be offering jobs but are just pooling candidates in their database. Best to get feedback from trusted communities or resources before sharing your information to them.
3. Understand what the job is and how it fits your profile.
UK has strict guidelines when it comes to immigration and hiring people overseas. Each job role for overseas employment has to be included in the shortage occupation list which can be found in the UK government’s website. The jobs in this list are mostly specialist jobs such as occupations in the health care, engineering, science, IT, and entertainment.
Be careful on offers that is not within your area of specialism or roles with very vague description. Ask the employer for a job description, your CV should match the role requirements.
4. How much? Check salary & associated fees.
Salary or how much role is paying should be one of your main considerations before accepting a job offer. The offer has to be at par with the market rates. The annual salary or 80% of going rate is published in the Shortage occupation list. Additionally, job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor can be used to compare the salary offered. If the salary is far from the market rate, probe why the offer is too low or too high.
How about the fees? For nurses, due to the high demand, majority of employers would shoulder the costs from visa processing, plane fare to their OSCE as this is in accordance with the POEA. But for the other roles, there have been cases that the candidates are required to pay for their visas, fare and accommodation. This set up may be possible in rare cases but we recommend that you do your due diligence. Check more than twice. Ask what the money is for. Check again. Verify with the employer and seek guidance from the POEA before transferring or paying any fees.
5. Trust the Process (Recruitment Process)
In the UK, it is common practice to assess or interview candidates before making a job offer. More so, if the job offered requires work sponsorship. Sponsoring or requesting a working visa from the government can be costly for the employer. Currently, it would cost an employer an initial £364-1000 to sponsor a person to work for them for the first 12 months. Considering the cost, would an employer make an offer to a candidate without seeing him/her?
If an apparent employer sends you a questionnaire/form and does not perform a formal interview, this is a warning that it may be a scam.
If in doubt, verify. You can ask trusted people who have experience in the country you are going to or like Tim, you can check it with the company themselves.
6. Treat your personal documents as your asset.
Personal documents such as passport, bank statements and proof of address are requested only when an offer has been made and accepted. There are some companies who might be requesting you to show your BRP, passport or driver's license to verify your identity, but this happens only during the interview stage NOT on the onset of the application process.
CV is the only document that should be sent to the employer during the initial stage of the recruitment process. Your CV too should NOT have personal details that are not relevant to the application (ie- birth date, passport number, height, weight, et al). This can be a possible case of identity theft. Treat your personal documents and personal information as your asset.
Related Article: How to make a Modern UK Ready CV
These are just few of the basic steps or guide to help you identify if the job offer you received is real or fake. Trust your instincts. If you feel something is off or if it's too good to be true, check twice, thrice or multiple times. Find true and reliable sources to verify information on the recruiter, job order and even the employer.
For quick reference, see below.
Many Filipinos see opportunities abroad as a viable way to improve their lives and their families' as well. However in this day and age identity thieves, fraudsters and scammers are everywhere and they will take advantage of this mindset. They will do everything to either swindle or take someone's identity for their own misdeeds. To stop the scammers we have to be well informed. We should all be vigilant because we have to protect not just our hard earned assets but also our dreams.