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Duped job applicants to UK, Canada, turn to Consulate officials for help

08 July 2016

Labor Attache listens to the applicants' woes
More than 50 overseas Filipino workers flocked to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) on Sunday, July 3, to seek help after losing contact with veteran jobs recruiter Ester Ylagan who lured them to apparently non-existent jobs in Britain and Canada.
The applicants said they paid $10,000 for the promised jobs in Britain, and $15,000 for those offered in Canada. No receipt was issued to any of them.
Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre received the complainants, then drafted affidavits which were then forwarded to the assistance to nationals section for authentication.
Vice Consul Fatima Quintin who notarized the initial batch of affidavits, said the complaint would be forwarded to the Employment Agencies Administration of the Hong Kong Labour Department for possible prosecution.
The case could also be referred to the police if fraud could be established based on the affidavits.
Meanwhile, Labatt de la Torre has recommended to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila the revocation of the accreditation extended to Ylagan's Emry's Employment Agency, the biggest supplier of OFWs in Hong Kong
This was after Ylagan failed to show up at a meeting called by Polo on July 6, in a last-ditch bid to get her to explain the third-country deployment, which is prohibited under POEA rules.
The recruitment agency, which has been in operation for 30 years, is licensed with the Hong Kong government's EAA.
Polo suspended the processing of the agency's contracts on June 20, and Ylagan was given five days to show cause for its violation of the POEA prohibition.  She reportedly asked for 14 days to respond to the order, and to get a copy of the relevant law used as a basis for her agency's suspension, but this was ignored.
On June 30, Emry's flagship office in World Wide Plaza in Central was shut down, and a notice was put up saying the agency was "relocating" to its other office in Wanchai. Panicked applicants, however, reported going to the Wachai office and saw it closed. Ylagan had also stopped responding to most text and chat messages.
Those who did get a response from her said in their affidavits that they were told they would be sued if they filed a complaint against Ylagan or her agency.
Using her other company, Mike's, Ylagan reportedly started recruiting OFWs for the overseas jobs starting in January this year, with the promise that they could leave for their chosen destination by June. Later, she said the departure date had been moved to October because their "job orders" could not be released yet
At least 500 OFWs are believed to have been enticed to pay for the promised jobs, for which no educational attainment or related experience, was required. The jobs ranged from nursing posts in London to sales staff and factory workers. 
The applicants were not issued receipts, or any document to show that they had applied and paid for the jobs.
The applicants with Vice Consul Fatima Quintin


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