New Canada migration scam rocks Abu Dhabi; victims sell land to pay up to Dh30,000
Two similar fraud was exposed by Khaleej Times two days ago where Dubai-based companies swindled millions from customers by offering jobs abroad.
Within days after Khaleej Times exposed a multi-million migration scam in Dubai, more stories on how immigration rackets are ripping off UAE expats are emerging.
The latest immigration scam has hit Abu Dhabi, and involves a company run by a Filipino national, who has reportedly vanished after collecting Dh20,000 to Dh30,000 from customers promising jobs in Canada. The company's office in the Tourist Club area is closed.
Victims who spoke to Khaleej Times said they sold lands in their home countries to cough up huge amounts demanded by the company, in the hope of migrating to greener pastures.
"I sold my ancestral land in Philippines for the dream of living and working in Canada. I have lost all my life savings. I am ashamed to even talk to my mother who keeps asking about my job in Canada " said Clariza Alban, a Filipino who works in the hospitality sector in Abu Dhabi.
She paid Dh25,000 to the company, starting with her first instalment of Dh1000 in October 2012. Alban paid Dh2,000 in November, Dh2,700 again in November and Dh11,000 in December of the same year. The company kept milking her till the end of 2014, claiming her visa is under processing and she will soon be flying to Canada. Five years later, her Canada dream has come to zilch.
"I was working in McDonalds at that time, and earning Dh1,250 a month. I raised Dh25,000 by asking my mother to sell her rice field and she sent me Dh15,000," said a desperate Alban.
Mario Calimag, another Filipino F&B worker in Abu Dhabi said he borrowed money from his relatives back home, and sold a piece of his land to pay Dh22,800 to Frontier in 2012.
"It was my dream to find a better job abroad. I feel sad and cheated. I have been waiting for years for this to happen. Now I just want my money back," said Calimag.
A bogus affiliation in Canada?
When Khaleej Times visited the office of the consulting firm, it remained closed, and had a notice from the court asking the owner to appear before the Labour Reconciliation and Settlement Committee at the Abu Dhabi Court of first Instance. It is understood that some of the victims have already filed a case against the company.
The mobile numbers of the managing director and the administrative officer -- both Filipino nationals -- were switched off when this reporter tried to reach them. Another mobile number given on the company website is also defunct.
And more curiously, the Canadian company, that they claim to be affiliated to, also could not be traced. Online searches for the Canadian company redirected us to the same Abu Dhabi-based company, which is under scanner. A website of the affiliated company also remains shut.
Victims who spoke to Khaleej Times said the managing director was available on WhatsApp till last month. "She was asking us to be patient whenever we pestered her with the status of our application," said Sohayle Ramoas, another victim who paid Dh22,800.
Many had even signed employment contracts before making payments of Dh11,000, as the third or final payment.
But in what looks like an audacious con job, the company has issued ditto copies of employment contracts to many clients, quoting the same employer. Copies of the contract Khaleej Times obtained did not bear any company logos or official stamps.
Attractive salaries as baits
Victims said they were naive to walk into the 'migration trap' as the company dangled attractive jobs and pay packages as baits.
"I was offered a job as a waitress at a place called KFC Restaurant with $10 per hour. They even gave me an employment contract with the name of the employer. So I believed them," said Ramos.
Two similar fraud was exposed by Khaleej Times two days ago where Dubai-based companies, Oracle Visa and World Migrations, swindled millions from customers by offering jobs abroad. The Dubai Economic Department (DED) has sealed the offices in Business Bay.
DED has also called upon consumers who have dealt with any fraudulent companies to lodge their complaints by calling the Ahlan Dubai number 600 54 5555.
Response from owner
Responding to Khaleej Times through email, the company's owner said their clients will be either refunded or their jobs processed.
"At this time, we are still negotiating all the necessary steps with the recruiting agents we have, but some of them are cannot be contacted."
"The past LMO (Labour Market Opinion) moratorium due to change of rules and strict rules in Canada, which had made a negative effect on the applications. But this is stated in their consultancy agreements that if this happens, we will not be to be blamed."
The owner assured their company is not turning their back from refunding.
"We told most of them to wait and to please give us time to refund them or we will give them the desired jobs when the employers will be secured. We are currently reorganizing the company in order to shift to a new place and new management."
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