Filipino online jobseekers looking for employment in the UK are advised to be more cautious in view of the rampant cases of bogus internet job offers. They should be wary of attractive jobs offered by the employers or their agents who would ask them to remit a certain amount of money purportedly to pay for the processing of their visas or work permits and other travel-related expenses.
The Philippine Embassy in London, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), urges all Filipino jobseekers to be more discerning as these internet job offers come in various schemes to defraud them of their hard-earned money. Among the UK jobs which have been offered to Filipino applicants lately include positions like Nannies, Au Pair, Caregiver, Hotel Staff, Store Manager, Salesmen, Engineers, and many others.
The following information/advisory should serve as guide to UK-bound Filipino jobseekers:
· Filipino jobseekers who have been ‘offered’ positions through the internet should advise their prospective UK employers to submit the original copies of their employment documents to the POLO Office, Philippine Embassy in London for verification and authentication. For their part, they should not rely on scanned documents sent to them by e-mails such as employment contract, appointment letters and the like, as most of these are found to be forged or fabricated;
· To ascertain the authenticity of the job orders, employment contract as well as the legitimacy of UK employers, Filipino jobseekers are advised to check with the POEA. They may also send their email-request for verification by POLO London at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not enough to know if the employers really exist or that the jobs are available as that would not even guarantee a safe or genuine recruitment. Filipino jobseekers should also verify for themselves by using internet search engines like ‘Google’ in contacting the UK employers directly through their official websites;
· Job offers requiring them to pay or remit money are potentially suspicious. The charging of fees against candidates including the payment for visa and ‘work permit’ expenses are generally prohibited under the current UK employment regulation;
· The new UK Points-Based Immigration System has done away with the requirement of the old ‘work permit’ which is now replaced by ‘certificate of sponsorship’. To be able to issue a certificate of sponsorship in favor of candidate or applicant, the prospective UK employer should be duly licensed as a sponsor by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Filipino jobseekers should verify the status of their prospective employers in the list of sponsors which can be found at the UKBA website: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk. The payment for the certificate of sponsorship is also shouldered by the UK employer. Thus, by asking payment for ‘work permit’ or ‘visa’ processing in the UK should at once cast doubt on the legitimacy of the job offer;
· Application for UK visa is done in the country of origin, i.e., at the British Embassy in Manila, and not in the UK. Visas are issued based on the point criteria for qualifications, prospective earnings, maintenance funds and English language proficiency. Since the visas are applied at, and issued by the British Embassy in Manila, applicants should not give credence to the scanned copies of visas purportedly applied in their behalf by their employer’s agents, including immigration consultants, solicitors or travel agents;
· As regards hiring of Au Pair, it is advised that no Au Pair will be issued by the British Embassy to Filipino nationals since the Philippines had never been included in the UK’s list of Au Pair countries. Incidentally, the Au Pair visa scheme had already been abolished effective last 26 November 2008 and has been replaced by the Youth Mobility Scheme under the new UK Points-Based System;
· As to the hiring of Nannies or domestic workers, it is an important requirement for purposes of domestic worker visa application that the candidate must have worker with the sponsoring employer for at least one (1) year prior to the date of application. Hence, to qualify to come to the UK to work as a Nanny or domestic worker, the Filipino applicant must be an established member of the employer’s household. This means that there is no ‘open’ hiring policy for domestic worker. Thus, if the applicant had not previously worker with the employer, she should not expect any visa to be issued to her to work as a Nanny or domestic worker in the UK.