DFA Warns Vs. Illegal Recruiters Using Social Media To Offer Filipinos Non-Existing Jobs Abroad

24 August 2018 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today warned Filipinos seeking jobs abroad against illegal recruiters using social media to offer work overseas, particularly in the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement, the DFA said jobseekers should be wary of attractive employment opportunities in Dubai being offered through Facebook by illegal recruiters as they could end up in Iraq or Syria instead.

The DFA issued the warning after the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad reported a surge in the number of Filipino workers who were trafficked into Iraq from Dubai.

In its report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano, the Embassy said that in the first week of August alone, it had taken into its custody nine Filipinas who entered Iraq illegally from Dubai through the Kurdistan Region.

Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Julius Torres said the illegal recruiters use social media to offer nonexisting jobs in Dubai to the unsuspecting victims who are eventually enticed to fly to the United Arab Emirates as tourists.

When the tourist visas of the victims are about to expire, Chargé d’Affaires Torres said the recruiters tell them to either accept jobs in Syria and Iraq or pay at least $3,000.00 for their return ticket to the Philippines.

If they refuse, the envoy said the victims are threatened with imprisonment for having expired visas. He said victims who are convinced to travel to Iraq are sent to Erbil in the Kurdistan Region where they are issued visas on arrival.

Chargé d’Affaires Torres said the victims will then travel by land to Baghdad or Basra via Kirkuk. “Since their visas from Erbil will not be valid in Iraq, the victims are transferred from one car to another at least five times in one trip to avoid inspection in several security checkpoints,” he said.

The Embassy said the latest victims were sexually harassed while en route to Baghdad and Basra. There is also the danger of being kidnapped by Islamic militants along the route to Baghdad.

Chargé d’Affaires Torres warned the public that Iraq imposes hefty penalties for persons without the proper visas or with expired visas. “Filipinos who are residing, working, or vacationing in Iraq are advised to take note of their visa validity dates,” he said.

“We remind our kababayan that the ban on the deployment to Iraq or Kurdistan of newly hired workers that was imposed in 2014 has still not been lifted,” Chargé d’Affaires Torres added.

He said Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency or the Department of Labor and Employment. END