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The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) recently shut down two illegal recruitment firms which, the agency said, were “masquerading as placement agencies” without the authority to recruit and deploy workers.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac identified the establishments as Firststep Consultancy and Career Development in Quezon City, and LJP Travel Assistance Agency in Manila. “Our Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch put the two companies under surveillance and investigation after some of their victims reported to POEA their alleged recruitment activities,” said Mr Cacdac.
Disguised as job applicants, POEA staff discovered that Firststep Consultancy was recruiting cooks for New Zealand and Australia, electricians for Canada and landscapers for the US. After the interview, the POEA officers were referred to a clinic for medical tests. The firms charged a number of fees. The POEA is now preparing illegal recruitment cases to be filed against the owners and employees of the two companies.
Under local law, any act of hiring overseas Filipino workers without a license or authority from the POEA is considered illegal recruitment. Mr Cacdac said all officers of Firststep Consultancy and Career Development and LJP Travel Assistance Agency were included in the List of Persons and Establishments with Derogatory Record, effectively disqualifying them from participation in the overseas recruitment program of the government.