Most OFW recruitment agencies would not admit it but many of them charge many extra fees for recruits, whether for low-paying or for high-paying overseas jobs. While these recruitment agencies often receive payment from employers to process everything for the would-be workers, they often still charge the fees to the workers.
Some countries have specific laws that recruitment agencies and companies must follow when it comes to hiring foreign workers.
For instance, under Hong Kong law, recruitment agencies are only allowed to charge up fees to 10% of the domestic worker’s monthly salary.
Since the minimum wage for foreign domestic workers is currently HK$4,520 (Php30,300), then recruitment agencies can only charge up to HK$452 (Php3,030).
Pinay domestic worker Joan Imperial hails from Naga City and now works at Prince Edward, Hong Kong.
It was back in August 2017 when Imperial received an offer from the agency for a job in Hong Kong. She immediately paid Php10,000 to agency that month, for ‘processing fees’.
When she went to Manila, she paid the agency owner another Php10,000.
At the end of October, she had to pay a whopping Php40,000 after she had her Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar. Then, she also had to shell out Php23,000 for further training and medical exams.
Thinking these were standard fees to pay, Imperial didn’t complain until someone told her the fees were just too much!
“Someone approached us and said that, if we had fallen victim to illegal collection by agencies, we could still recover the money. We decided that, if there was a chance, we would pursue it,” Imperial shared.
With the help of Mission for Migrant Workers (MMW), Imperial filed a complaint against the recruitment agency.
The agency offered to pay her Php50,000 during their meeting at the consulate last September. She initially accepted the offer but later stood her ground, despite the fact that she received no receipts for any of those transactions with the agency.
Recently, after a thorough investigation was conducted, Imperial finally got back Php70,000 in illegal fees from the agency.
While she could still push for more as she is still entitled to Php10,000 more since the agency is only allowed to collect Php3,000 from job applicants, getting the Php70,000 back is already a huge victory for the domestic helper!
We hope other domestic helpers will also stand up for their rights after hearing her story…
Image credits: SCMP