The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned Filipino workers and Philippine recruitment agencies against recruiters offering jobs in the United Kingdom through email, particularly those requiring applicants to send money as payment for visa and work permit in the light of UK regulations which require personal filing of visa applications at the British Embassy in Manila.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque issued the warning in the wake of the proliferation of fraudulent recruitment through the Internet offering non-existent jobs in the UK.
Roque said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London has recorded more than 200 emails from job applicants and recruitment agencies in the country requesting for verification of the legality of the job offers they received through the Internet.
He said the applicants received job offers through email with scanned appointment letters, work confirmation, and employment contracts from their supposed UK employers with instruction to the applicants to contact specified travel agencies, immigration firms, and solicitors in the UK who would purportedly assist them in the processing of their work permits and visas.
He said the applicants were subsequently asked to remit a sum of money to a certain account as payment for their work permit, visa processing, and other fees.
He said the job offers were found to be fake, deceptive, and illegal as all visa applications will now be filed at the UK Visa Application Centre of the British Embassy in Manila, adding the application should be done personally by the applicants.
He also said that travel agencies, immigration consultants, recruitment firms, solicitors or barristers, and other agents in the UK are not authorized to act as sponsor of applicants. Neither can they process or apply for working visas in the UK in behalf of the applicants.
Roque likewise noted that even recruitment agencies in the country have been enticed to take recruitment offers in the Internet and to advertise vacancies in their behalf for manpower pooling.
He cited a case involving the Global Logistics & Trading Shipping Co., which posted its job orders and interview schedule at www.workabroad.com.ph under Primeworld Manpower Agency. He said the POLO in London found that Global Logistics is not a licensed UK firm.
London-based Labor Attache Jainal Rasul Jr. also advised Filipino applicants that based on the new UK Points Based System (PBS), only highly skilled professionals would be eligible for work visas in the UK, unless the positions are included in the shortage occupation list.
At present, most of the available semi-skilled, and low-skilled jobs in the UK are no longer open to non-Europeans, particularly in hotels, restaurants, food catering, retail business, construction and manufacturing.
For visa application under the new PBS immigration rule, a work permit is no longer a requirement and has now been replaced by the new sponsorship system. This means that the UK Border Agency (Immigration Office) no longer issues work permits for entry visa purposes.
In place of the work permit, the UK Border Agency issues sponsorship license to UK employers who in turn sends the ‘certificate of sponsorship’ to their qualified candidates or applicants as a requirement for online visa application at the British Embassy in Manila.