Canada, New Zealand dreams end in tears for UAE residents

Canada, New Zealand dreams end in tears for UAE residents
The office of World Migrations, one of the dubious companies that was shut down.

Abu Dhabi - People pay thousands of dirhams to fake companies for overseas jobs that didn't exist.



by

Anjana Sankar

Published: Wed 5 Jul 2017, 6:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Jul 2017, 7:36 PM

The migration dream to Canada and New Zealand has ended up in tears and despair for hundreds of UAE residents after losing their hard-earned money in what is suspected to be a migration scam, Khaleej Times can reveal.

Two Dubai-based companies, Oracle Visa and World Migrations, lured people into paying amounts to the tune of Dh6,000 to Dh15,000, promising them non-existent jobs in foreign countries, according to victims.

The Dubai Economic Department has closed down both the companies.

Dozens of the victims, mostly semi-skilled workers, interviewed by the reporter, said they have lost their years of savings.

"I paid Dh8,000 in four instalments to Oracle Visa in 2015. They promised me to find a job in Canada within a year. I did not know it was a trap," said Radhakrishnan, an Indian expat in Dubai.

Pakistani salesman Irfan Sharif said he also paid Dh6,000 in instalments. "After they took my money, I have never heard from them. Finally, when I visited their office in Business Bay, I was shocked to find the company was closed," said Sharif.

Migration trap

Many unsuspecting customers had walked in to the 'migration trap' seeking better salaries and living conditions abroad. The jobs and salary packages advertised on the companies' Facebook pages were too tempting for many whose monthly salaries were not more than Dh3,000.

A contract was also given to everyone saying the job search application is valid for a year; and during the period, interviews would be arranged for applicants and visa would be processed.

But what the victims did not realise was many jobs were non-existent. Many did not even receive any interview calls, and even worse, whatever calls some attended turned out to be fake.

"I attended two interview calls arranged by Oracle Visa for the position of an office admin. But when I checked the numbers, one was from Nigeria and the other from India," said a Filipino receptionist.

Whistle blower exposes company

When there was no news about their application even after months of waiting, the worried customers started making frantic calls to the office of Oracle Visa. But they were simply asked to wait.

But what blew the lid off the scam was an explosive email written by one of the employees at Oracle Visa on January 4, stating the company management was cheating people.

"I know we are cheating customers by giving them fake hope of jobs in Canada, which is impossible. We don't have a single customer who has got a job visa in any country," read the email, a copy of which Khaleej Times has obtained.

Later speaking to Khaleej Times, Jennyfer Orial, who wrote the email to more than 1,500 customers said, she was witness to all the fraudulent practices in the company.

"There was a moral question hanging over my head. I decided to inform the customers as a moral obligation," said Jennyfer.

New company, old trick

Khaleej Times investigations revealed that the owner of Oracle Visa soon opened a new company called World Migrations in Ontario Tower in Business Bay, Dubai, again offering migration services to UAE residents.

Victims interviewed by the reporter said they had received emails and calls from the new company saying Oracle Visa's database got hacked and hence they have opened a new company, and the services will continue.

"That was a ploy to milk the rest of the instalments from us. And they were also approaching new customers and using the same tricks," said Chemberlaine Yatco, a Filipino victim who paid Dh10,000 to the company.

DED seals two companies

Following complaints from aggrieved customers, the Dubai Economic Department investigated into the both the companies' dealings, and sealed them in December, 2016.

"The two companies - Oracle Visa and World Migrations - were closed due to non-compliance to consumer protection practices," Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in Dubai Economy, told Khaleej Times in an email statement.

Charade continues?

But many victims accused the company owner of continuing to deceive people through his new ventures named HR Gulf and I am Happiness run under the 'Billionaire Group of Companies' in Dubai.

Responding to the query, Lootah said "Dubai Economy hasn't received any complaints so far regarding the other companies, i.e. HR Gulf, I Am Happiness or the Billionaire Group of Companies."

"We call upon consumers who have dealt with these companies to lodge their complaints if any, by calling the Ahlan Dubai number 600 54 5555."

Owner responds

When Khaleej Times spoke to the Sri Lankan owner, P.K., he admitted to owing money to people. "Yes, the two companies were owned by me. Our system in Oracle Visa got hacked. One of our employees had misused the system and sent a mass email, causing panic among our loyal customers. People were not willing to wait till we could take the application to its final stages," said P.K.

"I have settled the claims of many people, but many are still left. I have all the intentions of returning their money, but don't know when. I am trying to put my past behind, and concentrate on my new ventures," said P.K.
anjana@khaleejtimes.com


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