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20 April 2024

Pay to work: UAE jobs scam rears up again

By Sneha May Francis
The notorious job scamsters are back in business. And they are, once again, dangling the bait of lucrative employment offer at gullible job-seekers.
While the trend may not be new – and one that has been highlighted in the media innumerable times – gullible jobseekers continue to fall prey to the modus operandi employed by tricksters.
'Emirates24|7' has been made aware of several cases where candidates have been tricked into coughing up hundreds of dirhams on the pretext of ‘interview training’ or ‘administration fees’ when no jobs have been secured by such candidates.
This is when the UAE Labour Law clearly bars agencies from charging candidates in the UAE for job applications or securing employment.
In one such case highlighted to Emirates 24|7, a jobseeker was made to shell out Dh300 on the pretext of securing him a Dh4,000-salaried job.
The candidate alleges that he called up the job agency on a number listed in a newspaper job advert. Within minutes into the conversation, he was asked to visit their office, near Muraqqabat Police Station.
“She asked me a few questions about my education and previous employment, and told me that if I reached their office, then she would be able to find me a job,” recalled the man.
Happy to make a breakthrough within days of landing in Dubai, the man lost no time in reaching the office, which was a second floor apartment in a residential building.
“There were a few other men in the room, awaiting their turn to meet the lady, who was busy on the telephone,” he added.
“The entire time I was there, the phone was buzzing. It all seemed genuine to me.
“When my turn came, she looked through my documents, and instantly told me that they had a job for me.”
She informed him that he fit the bill for a job that “will pay Dh4,000 monthly, plus other benefits like medical and travel”.
However, the process, she insisted, could be started only after he paid Dh300.
“I paid her the money, and when I asked for a receipt, she wrote down her name and mobile number on the back of a visiting card and handed it over to me.”
Not doubting anything amiss, the man left the building with the hopes of landing an interview call in the next few days.
It’s only when his family members, who have been residing in Dubai, learnt about his “job offer” that he figured he had been cheated.
Upon insistence from his family, the man returned to the office and asked to be refunded. “After pleading for half-an-hour, they gave me Dh200, saying that Dh100 was a penalty.”
No receipt was handed over this time either.
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 the ministerial order 52, 1989 edition, Article 6.”
All reputed agencies that this website spoke with confirmed that they don’t charge the candidates any kind of fees.
Posing as a candidate, when Emirates 24|7 called the jobs agency that is allegedly charging the candidates, they gave a completely different picture.
The fees went up from Dh300 to Dh500, and the job offers went from Dh4,000 to Dh5,000.
And it didn’t matter if the candidate was a fresh graduate with no work experience.
The agent, however, claimed the one-time payment of Dh500 was fully refundable if the agency couldn’t secure them any interviews.
“But if the candidate attends two interviews and doesn’t succeed, we’ll give back 50 per cent of the amount, and if he attends three unsuccessful interviews, then no refunds [will be offered],” he informed.
When he was prodded to disclose the names of some companies that his agency offered their service to, the man didn’t have any answer. “I don’t know all that. You come and submit your form. Depending on your qualification you will be sent for interviews,” he added.
Another resident, who was earlier cheated in a similar job scam, explained that such agencies even go to the extent of setting up bogus interviews, and when candidates don’t receive any offer letters after three interviews, they ‘justifiably’ retain the initial amount.
A few days later, when Emirates 24|7 called the job agency, SAJ, and quizzed the manager who said his name was Ali, about these allegations, we got yet another version to the story.
“Yes, we do offer jobs. We charge Dh300 for training the candidates for interviews, and Dh200 for sending them for job interviews,” he explained.
He was, of course, unable to divulge any details of the training his agency was offering to the candidates.
When asked if they were able to secure any jobs for their candidates in the last month, he said he could not share any such details as the matter was “confidential”.
Even the list of companies, who they claimed to secure jobs for, was not disclosed. “How can I give you the names? It’s confidential information,” was the staple response.
‘Ali’ did not have a clear answer for why no receipts were handed out when the candidates made the payment. “We give a card and that’s enough,” he said.
Upon further quizzing, the manager said he couldn’t give any more answers. “If you are not happy, then don’t come to us.”
That’s an advice that we will be giving to our readers as well – if you’re not comfortable with the jobs agency you’re dealing with, or if they ask you for a ‘registration fee’ or ‘admin charges’, simply walk way.


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