Group urges OFWs to file complaints vs unscrupulous recruiters

AFTER receiving request for assistance from several overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were charged of excessive placement fees, a Filipino migrants’ rights group today urged OFWs to document and be firm in filing complaint against their recruitment agencies who have charged them an excessive amount of placement fee.

“We urged our fellow OFWs to document their respective cases involving excessive charging of placement fee in order for us to file a complaint against these erring recruiters with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) so that they will be investigated and penalized,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona cited the case of some OFWs recently deployed in Libya who have claimed that they were charged an excessive placement fee as it is more than the amount allowed by the PH govt. The same OFWs also complained of having poor living quarters, and some no accommodation at all.

“The reports were confirmed to me by Tripoli-based PH Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa. He too had advised our complaining OFWs to document and file complaints so that he could make a recommendation to the POEA,” Monterona added.

Monterona explained, “As a general rule per POEA Rules and Regulations Governing Recruitment and Deployment of Land-based OFW, POEA-licensed recruitment agencies are allowed to collect placement fee equivalent to the one (1) month salary of the deployed OFW.”

However, there are exemptions made by the POEA like in the case of host countries that do not allow the charging of placement fee because it is the employer who will pay the cost of placement and recruitment services, according to Monterona.

Canada, UK, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, and the U.S.A including Guam are countries with existing ‘no placement fee’ policy that Philippine-based recruitment agencies must abide; otherwise they will face a penalty if it commits a violation.

“Even in the Middle East, most of the employers are paying to recruitment agencies so called ‘service’ fee to cover the cost of hiring and deployment of OFWs,” Monterona noted.

Monterona said he could not understand why the POEA allows recruitment agencies to charge placement fee equivalent, or even excessive per reports his group received from complaining OFWs, on the hired OFWs one month salary if the foreign employers have already paid service fee to their recruitment agencies.

‘OFWs were surprised to know that his or her employer had, in fact, already paid the corresponding placement or service fee to its recruitment agency, and yet their recruitment agency had charged placement fee on them, too” Monterona noted.

Monterona urged the POEA to intensify its monitoring activities and campaign against erring recruiters who are imposing excessive and unnecessary placement fees.

Monterona said citing the POEA rules and regulations governing the recruitment and employment of land-based OFWs, violation of placement fee policy is a serious administrative offense that warrants cancellation of the license of the recruitment agency.

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