Mangaluru: Even after the City Police a few days ago had warned people looking out for jobs in the Gulf and other regions to be wary about fake agents and agencies, there have been cases recently where aspirants for Gulf jobs have been cheated. The police have asked job aspirants to be aware of fraudulent job recruitment agencies especially in gulf countries, who are trying to take advantage of the pandemic situation. Through fake Gulf job recruitment agencies, many Workers are taken on visit visas with a promise that they would be given a work permit on their arrival in the Gulf.
In several instances, however, such workers neither get jobs nor salaries. They also do not get a work permit, thus making their stay illegal. While huge amounts ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh are paid to the agents to take them abroad, workers often end up doing odd jobs and getting far lesser wages. These fraud agencies lure prospective customers, take them to the Gulf and leave them in dire straits.
It has come to the knowledge of the police that such unregistered/illegal job agencies are luring and exploiting gulf job aspirants with jobs. Most of these aspirants, who had returned home during the pandemic to their hometown, have lost their jobs and are desperate to go back. Whereas those who have lost their jobs here too want to move abroad to find green pastures. The fraud job agencies majorly recruit blue-collar jobs in gulf countries are taking advantage of the situation at a time when there are no flights to fly or visas issued for the same. The police have started awareness by circulating a list of approved visa agencies in the city so that innocent people are not cheated.
It also becomes difficult for those who had gone to the Gulf countries to come back to India. Once they land in the Gulf countries, their passports are taken away by a local agent or employer. The illegal agents make them believe that they will get a job visa after taking them there on a visit visa. Women are forced to work as domestic helpers once they land there though they are promised jobs in beauty parlours. Following the arrest of a recruitment agent recently, police have intensified investigation into the case and requested the public to be wary of illegal overseas recruitment agencies that are eyeing to dupe people by promising jobs abroad.
One more person has been arrested, and, according to a senior police officer, a team has left for Tamil Nadu to arrest another accused. The gang was promising jobs including nursing in Australia and Lithuania and the preliminary investigation reveals that at least 20 people have been cheated by collecting a minimum of Rs two-three lakh each. The incident came to light, after the Protector of Emigrants released a list of legal overseas recruitment agencies and the Mangaluru list was shared on various media and social media platforms by city police, following which, a woman who was offered a work visa for an office job in Lithuania for a salary Rs 3.5 lakh per month, for which a payment of Rs 5.5 lakh had to be made, filed a complaint.
A senior police officer said that the Protector of Emigrants had sought the help of the State police in cracking down unauthorised overseas recruitment agencies. Many illegal agents use middlemen to dupe people and will have no direct contact with their victims. The middleman collects money, keeps his cut and gives the rest to the main agent. They buy more time to provide offer letters and visas citing pandemics and the ban of flight operations to many countries.
According to an executive from a Gulf Approved Medical Centres Association (GAMCA) that no officially registered job recruiting agencies are taking up any recruitment at the moment. The reason is that there is uncertainty and no clear official communication when the flights will resume to these gulf countries. “Compared to earlier years, the number of fake recruitment agencies have come down due to crackdown,” the executive pointed out. The coastal city which has the highest number of residents working in gulf countries has seen several such job frauds in the past. The recent and major one was reported in August 2019 where 34 victims who landed in Kuwait due to job fraud were made to suffer for more than eight months.
Hariram Shankar, DCP (law and order), Mangaluru City Police had said that the thought of sharing a list of authorised recruitment agents in the city came to city police when we were investigating an old case. Prevention is better than cure. MEA approved agencies in Mangaluru – Protector of Emigrants, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has announced a list of 14 legal overseas recruitment agencies functioning in Mangaluru.