Warning issued for Filipinos seeking jobs in UAE
Dubai - The warning was shared at a press briefing.
Philippine diplomatic officials reminded their kababayans (compatriots) to be vigilant in using social media when looking for jobs. Last year, the Assistance to the Nationals (ATN) repatriated around 2,000 Filipinos, most of whom were illegally recruited to work in the UAE through social media.
The warning was shared at a press briefing at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai on Tuesday, where two ATN officials were commended for receiving awards for outstanding service from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The ATN section handles cases of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress.
Sheila Mupas, 35, who was awarded as one of the Best ATN staff among 80 Philippine diplomatic posts worldwide, said 2,085 cases of distressed OFWs were handled by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai last year. Majority were domestic workers who ran away from their employers and almost 90 per cent of them were recruited through social media, particularly Facebook.
"Based on my interviews with the distressed Filipinos, they met their recruiters only through FB Messenger. They (victims) did not come face-to-face with the recruiters," Mupas told reporters.
Most of the victims were told to work as domestic helps but Mupas clarified that the Philippines still has a deployment ban of domestic workers to the UAE.
Mupas said jobseekers who were recruited illegally were more vulnerable to abuse, including maltreatment, non-payment of salary and physical and verbal abuse. She said those who are planning to come to the UAE to work should enter the country on an employment visa and not tourist or visit visa.
"They should also go through the proper recruitment process, like having their contracts verified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)," she added.
Meanwhile, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes told Khaleej Times that the consulate is always ready to assist any Filipino in distress. "If you need any legal assistance or have legal inquires, please do not hesitate to come to the consulate and we will assist you in the most efficient way possible."
Last year, the Philippine consulate has disbursed around Dh1.8 million in legal assistance, benefiting around 150 Filipino expats, and spent Dh9.4 million from the ATN fund to help close to 24,000 distressed Filipinos, including those who availed of the UAE amnesty programme last year. Overstaying Filipinos who opted to go home were given free tickets and their exit fees were paid for. They also received a token amount as "welfare assistance" from the Philippine government.
Meanwhile, another consulate staff, Jennifer Pimentel was also commended by the DFA for her efforts to streamline the civil registration database of Filipinos in Dubai while Maribelle Facundo from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi was awarded as the best ATN in the individual category.
The Philippine Consulate in Dubai has also grabbed the award as Best Team in Assistance to Nationals for two consecutive years.