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Recruiter in Canada and UK jobs mess vows to pay up

02 June 2016

By Daisy CL Mandap

Weeks after she was linked to a massive recruitment for dubious jobs in Canada and Britain, a veteran employment agency operator has said she is willing to return the money of applicants who want to back out, or address the concerns of others.
But Ester Ylagan, who runs the 30-year-old Emry's Service Staff Employment Agency and the more recently set up Mike's Secretarial Services, insisted during an interview with The SUN on May 20 that she never intended to dupe anyone.
"Gusto ko lang tumulong," she said.
Ylagan, whose Emry's company is known to be the biggest supplier of Filipino domestic workers in the city, said she would not risk her company's good name for instant profit.
"Wala akong balak takbuhan ang mga nagrereklamo," she said. "Ang tagal-tagal na nang kumpanya ko, at hindi ko ito sisirain dahil lamang dito."
But she said she may not be able to pay back everyone all at once, as she had already sent their money to a London-based partner with whom she has communicated only via email.
The man, according to her, goes by the jaw-dropping names "William Clinton James" and "William Clinton Erich". Despite the highly suspicious nature of their dealings, and the fact that she has never met the man personally, Ylagan said she had remitted around $2million to him.
"Yung buong retirement pay ko, ibabayad ko na sa kanila," she said.
Ylagan admitted to having recruited around 500 people for jobs in Canada and the United Kingdom using her other company, Mike's Secretarial Services. They were charged $15,000 each for those bound for Canada, and $10,000 for those applying to go to the UK, although she said some asked to be allowed to pay by installment.
The jobs she offered ranged from domestic helpers, drivers, nurses to sales and marketing staff.
No job offers, contracts or in the case of the Canada positions, no labour market opinions were given to any of the applicants. All they got was an assurance that they would be deployed by June, or this month.
Later, the deployment date was reportedly moved to October this year, and Ylagan said her applicants should consider waiting until this time before running after her for their money.
However, because of all the complaints she has been getting lately, Ylagan said she has stopped sending money to "Clinton James". She has also reportedly complained to him about getting all the flak for his unfulfilled promise to start deployment as promised.
One Filipina who was enticed to drop by Emry's shop in Worldwide Plaza and join Ylagan's orientation seminar, said they were told that the lowest salary they could expect was equivalent to HK$22,000 for the helper's job. It was supposed to be much higher for the office jobs.
She said that despite not having a college degree, she was told she could qualify for the marketing position as she had some background in sales in her previous job in the Philippines.
Despite paying $10,000 in cash - money she just borrowed from a financing company at about 26% interest per year, she was not issued a receipt.
In the interview, Ylagan readily admitted to this, but said she had a ledger where all the payments received from each applicant was entered. She said this will be the basis for paying the refund due each applicant who wants to back out.
As of the time of the interview, Ylagan said she had already refunded a total of $26,000 to four applicants who had asked for their money, citing urgent needs.
Quite a number are reportedly holding on, still hoping to fly out to their chosen destination by October.
Ylagan said she had offered to meet with the complainants at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, but was told that she had to wait for Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre's return from an emergency leave so he could personally intervene in the case.
A number of complainants have also sought help from the Mission for Migrant Workers.  According to the Mission's Edwina Antonio the applicants reported attending a closed-door meeting between them and Ylagan at Labatt de la Torre's office on May 29. The group was reportedly upset after being told that their money could not be refunded in full, and are now threatening to go public with their complaint.
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