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Opportunities Abroad named in POEA warning against illegal recruitment

17 September 2023


DMW's warning against illegal recruitment by Opportunities Abroad and other visa consulting firms

A visa consultancy firm at the center of a complaint of 14 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong for alleged fraud in offering them student visas to Canada has been named in a warning against illegal recruitment by the Department of Migrant Workers.

The warning posted on Friday, September 15, named Opportunities Abroad among eight visa consultancies that have been recruiting Filipinos for overseas employment without a license from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).


The others are Triumph Global Recruitment Services, JM International Services, PWG, Cis Group Manpower Sp, Gateway Visa Solution, Mars Immigration Inc. and Maplekraft Management Consultancies.

The warning said: “Ang mga visa consultancy firm ay walang lisensya o authority mula sa Department of Migrant Workers na mag-recruit ng mga OFW para magtrabaho sa ibang bansa.” (Visa consultancy firms do not have a license or authority from the Department of Migrant Workers to recruit OFWs to work abroad  


A separate advisory said offering overseas jobs to Filipinos without a license from the DMW is “ILLEGAL”.

Anyone promised a job abroad by a visa or migration consultancy firm is advised to report to DMW so a case can be filed against the company and any of its staff or agency that conducted the illegal recruitment.


The advisory came in the wake of an appeal for immediate action by the DMW from 14 HK OFWs who had filed complaints against Opportunities Abroad and its officers led by former Cebu City Councillor Prisca Nina Mabatid who offered them student visas to Canada for which they were made to pay HK$18,700 (P131,000) in processing fees.

Mabatid and her group promised a visa processing time of only three months, but after they paid the fee in February this year, not a single one of them had even gone as far as getting their applications submitted to Canadian immigration authorities.


After the OFWs filed complaints and sought a refund of their money, a lawyer claiming to represent Opportunities Abroad sent letters to several of them, reminding them about an alleged breach of the memorandum of agreement they signed when they applied for the student visa.

The lawyer, Taunino Jillandro G. Neri said that their act of seeking a refund which is prohibited by the agreement under any condition, made them liable to pay the company P500,000 plus costs. He gave them five days to respond and settle with the group or face legal action.


But according to the complainants who asked the DMW to intervene, they were made to sign the agreement after they paid the processing fee so they were left with no choice but to do as they were told. The details of the agreement were not discussed with them, and they were not given copies afterwards.

They added that even granting that they were compelled to sign the agreement it should be held illegal for being morally wrong and unjust.


The complainants are due to join a rally today, organized by Unifil-Migrante HK, today to call on DMW to speed up its resolution on the case they filed against Opportunities Abroad, Nina Mabatid and her partner, Russ Mark Gamallo, and OFW blogger Bryan A. Calagui who allegedly took an active role in the recruitment.

To support their claim, the OFWs submitted video recordings of the recruitment seminar that the group held at Sunbeam Theater in North Point on February 19 and June 18 this year.

In the videos, Mabatid could be seen telling the crowd that the student visa pathway is the quickest way to get into Canada. But she assured them that they will be going there on a work and study program, which would allow them to earn enough to pay for their school fees and other expenses in Canada.

She also promised to lend each of them P1million as show money to convince Canadian authorities of their capacity to finance their studies in the country.

But to be able to join the September batch of new entries to Canada, they should pay a processing fee of $18,000 plus $700 for "LCIC" on the spot, or within three days.

On June 18, when Mabatid and her group conducted another recruitment drive, the complainants asked help from the Hong Kong Police in getting their money back from them. To appease them, Mabatid agreed to return their money, but left Hong Kong days before the appointed date.

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