A recruitment agency sending Filipino workers to Malta and Poland to work as hotel workers, cleaners or waiters has been shut down by the Manila Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) as part of an investigation on 2 June.
The recruitment agency charged around ₱460,000 (€7,600) as a processing fee for each individual hoping to find work.
Prospective workers were required to pay a down payment of ₱60,000 (€1,000), making up the remaining funds after a visa was issued.
The company OVM Visa Assistance and Travel Consultancy was registered as a travel agency in the Philippines, lacking the accreditation and approved foreign employers to act as a recruitment agency.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Manila DMW spokesperson Susan Ople said, “A travel agency, even if you pay them hundreds of thousands, cannot issue an Overseas Employment Certificate. Overseas foreign workers rely on these certificates to be recognised as legal workers abroad.”
“They are deceiving innocent applicants,” she added.
Last February, The Shift reported how the Philippine National Police shut down another illegal overseas worker migration scheme. In that case, hopeful workers were charged between €2,000 and €6,000 for “guaranteed” jobs in Malta and Malaysia.
By June 2022, Malta had almost 50,600 declared non-EU workers, excluding the thousands more working precariously and unregistered.
Of the declared workers, many occupied jobs in administrative and support services, construction, accommodation and food services. More than half earned less than €10,000 a year. Some 11,000 workers earned under €192 for a 40-hour work week.