Immigration bureau reiterates warning vs illegal recruiters

(Eagle News) — The Bureau of Immigration reiterated its warning against illegal recruiters following reports of victims being intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said those planning to work abroad should always double-check the licenses and accreditations of recruitment agencies.

Morente made the statement after two passengers who passed themselves off as tourists were prevented from leaving the country at Terminal 3.

According to Morente, the passengers who were attempting to board an Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai last October 7 told inspectors that they were sent by an apparel company to attend training as sales representatives in the United Arab Emirates but immigration inspectors found “inconsistencies” in their statements.

The bureau said both passengers eventually admitted to never being hired locally by the apparel company.

They  showed their employment contracts to work as household service workers (HSWs) for a manager who is working in the apparel company instead.

Morente added that their travel documents–which turned out to be fake—were only handed to them by their recruiter prior to their flight.

The bureau said the two victims were immediately turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

“The main reason why we require all departing OFWs to be checked first by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is so we are sure that nobody will suffer the consequences of human trafficking,” Morente said.

He warned recruiters who falsify documents to deceive immigration personnel, saying they are “in full violation of the law and this is punishable under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.”

“We are currently in a pandemic, and it is disheartening to know that these illegal recruiters still have the audacity to take advantage of (others),” Morente lamented.