Immigration aspirants: Read fine print before coughing up cash

Immigrating to your land of dreams and finding a suitable job there is never an easy task.

It may sometimes involve dodging job scamsters, who dangle the bait of instant, lucrative employment offers, making the situation more complicated than what it should really be.

Add to that the fact these experiences don’t come cheap. Some employment firms offer their services from anywhere between Dh300 and Dh7,000.

A reader informed us about being in a sticky situation with a Dubai-based company that promised to help him find employment in Canada for Dh7,000.

“They appeared extremely genuine and the prospect of landing a job in Canada was extremely attractive,” he told this website. “Within our first few e-mail interactions, they asked me to pay Dh7,000 to start the process for my Canadian work permit.”

Although the candidate didn’t have access to the entire amount, he was allowed to pay in instalments.

“They convinced me that with my work experience, I would land a job soon and I could migrate to Canada in their first batch of 2013.”

Convinced that he was dealing with a genuine company, he committed to them verbally and made the payment via bank transfers. But, after waiting for over six months, he found the services unproductive and long-drawn out.

“I was asked to find a job on my own. And, that if I could get an offer letter, then they would help in processing my papers for the Canadian visa.”

The candidate has been upset that even his plea for a refund has fallen on deaf ears.

“I had collected that amount after much struggle thinking that it would land me in Canada. But, now I have lost that money and have not landed a job. I feel cheated.”

He added that he has informed Dubai Police about his situation and is awaiting their response.

When Emirates 24|7 contacted the company, which has offices in Business Bay, they insisted their work was transparent.

They claim they had informed the candidate about the risks involved before he signed up for their services.

“We only offer assistance in finding a job, but that does not mean we guarantee a job,” stated an agent at the firm.

“He has signed a document that clearly states that.”

This claim, however, has been refuted by the candidate, who insisted that he did not sign any document and merely gave his consent over the telephone, and later via e-mail.

The agent insisted that the refund can’t be sought after using their service for six months. “If he was not convinced, then he could have opted for a refund within a week after signing up.”

Despite numerous attempts, Emirates 24|7 was unable to talk to the branch manager B.B., but two agents in their office insisted they were authorised to speak on his behalf.

The only hitch being they both gave contradictory information.

The first agent, who earlier insisted that he couldn’t divulge any client details due to strict company rules, did email Emirates 24|7 their standard sign-up contract that detailed their “living and working” emigration services and the Dh7,000 fee.

The second agent contradicted most of what his co-worker claimed and said the company did offer full refunds depending on each case, and insisted the fees was “not” for assisting in getting employment but for processing the work permit visa.

“I know it is illegal in the UAE. The amount we are charging is to process the work visa after a candidate gets employment.”

The agent, however, refused a full refund to our reader, who had failed to secure a job and hence wouldn’t need to process a work visa.

“What about the services we have provided him for six months?”

The services, he explained, were “to secure links to find employment” but that did not mean they were “assisting” him to find jobs.

From the e-mail exchanges between the candidate and the firm, of which Emirates 24|7 has a copy, we understand that when the candidate had insisted for a refund, the company tried to persuade him to sign up additionally for the Australian emigration programme, even offering him a discounted rate.

Residents in the UAE are advised not to shell out any amount before reading the fine print.

Making and receiving any payments to secure a job is illegal in the country.

The UAE Labour Law clearly states that no jobseeker must be charged a recruitment fee.

A call centre agent at the Ministry of Labour confirmed the same. “It is illegal,” he said, adding, “It is clearly listed under Ministerial Order 52, 1989 edition, Article 6.”

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