Authorities in the Philippines have issued their second warning in almost as many months about immigration scams concerning work in Malta where victims are conned by employment recruiters into thinking they will be given work papers or where they are exploited once they reach the country.
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration warned on Sunday that “Malta is still a hotspot for trafficking” of Filipinos looking for “greener pastures abroad” as the bureau announced the interception of two “human trafficking victims bound for Malta”.
At the end of February, hopeful overseas Filipino workers were being charged the equivalent of between €2,000 and €6,000 for “guaranteed” jobs in Malta and Malaysia.
A Filipino employment recruiter was arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippines Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) as part of a police mission investigating key players in a ‘big-time’ illegal recruitment scheme.
Migrant workers who could not pay the fee for deployment would allegedly be loaned money, which could be paid back through salary deductions. 33 illegal recruitment victims were also “saved” in the operation, the Department of Migrant Workers said at the time.
On Sunday, Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco gave details of the latest case.
He said the two victims were posing as friends travelling as tourists as they prepared for a 29 April flight to Bangkok at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The passengers, Tansingco said, initially declared they were leaving for a four-day vacation and presented proof of local employment at dental clinics.
“Both women later admitted during a second inspection that their final destination is Malta and that their documents were only handed to them by an unknown person that same morning outside the airport,” Tansingco explained.
The victims, however, were unaware that their employment visas to Malta had already been cancelled even before they even left The Philippines.
They added that they were instructed by their recruiter to wait for the rest of their travel documents to Malta when they reached Bangkok.
“We call on the public to exercise caution in dealing with recruiters. Several investigations have shown exploitation of domestic and foreign victims in the Mediterranean, and this has long been a cause of concern,” Tansingco said.
“The BI understands being enticed by greener pastures abroad, but by not going through the correct process, aspiring migrant workers risk getting abused overseas,” he added.
The trafficking victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation and the filing of charges against their recruiters is expected soon.
Third-country nationals and non-EU migrant workers in Malta, both legal and illegal, are commonly exploited in mostly unskilled jobs in what cannot be described as anything but an open secret.
Malta had more than 43,500 declared non-EU workers by the end of 2021. The number had climbed to almost 50,600 by June 2022, according to statistics supplied by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana
Many occupied jobs in administrative and support services, construction, and accommodation and food services, with around 6,000 workers in each of the three categories. More than half of them earned less than €10,000 a year. 11,000 workers earned under €192 for a 40-hour work week.
The figures do not take into account the many third-country nationals working illegally and undeclared.
could send infinite notices, these will be exploited by the labor companies and the local mafia.
Malta as in all things, will not answer and will do nothing…
Would the Filipino government provide the names of the persons in Malta organizing the racket, to the ” The Shift”?