Victims of illegal recruitment and related cases as well as recruitment violations which are administrative or criminal in nature may file with the Administration a report or complaint in writing and under oath.

Illegal recruiters

Illegal recruiters are persons without licenses or who are not registered employees of licensed agencies. They claim to be recruiting under the "direct hire" system. Often, they are fixers claiming that they can facilitate processing. They provide their victims with fake documents and arrange for them to emigrate illegally. Sometimes they entice their victims through blind advertisements requiring payments to expedite the processing of papers. In the entertainment sector, there are illegal training or promotion companies promising foreign jobs to workers with talent.

Illegal Recruitment

Illegal recruitment is sometimes carried out by agencies whose licenses have expired, or have been cancelled or suspended. Under Republic Act No. 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) the scope of illegal recruitment has been expanded. Any person, whether or not a licensee or holder of authority, who commits a legally prohibited practice is liable to be charged with illegal recruitment.

All recruitment activities as defined under Section 2 Rule I, Book VI of Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment and all prohibited practices under Article 34 of the Code when undertaken by a non-licensee, a suspended or cancelled agency constitute illegal recruitment activities.

Recruitment and placement activities of agents or representatives appointed by a licensee, whose appointments were not previously authorized by the Administration shall likewise constitute illegal recruitment.

Question: Someone is recruiting me to work overseas but I have to leave the country as tourist. Is this a legitimate way to find overseas jobs? What are the other forms and guises of illegal recruitment?

Answer: Leaving the country as a tourist but with the intention of working abroad is illegal both in the Philippines and the host country.

Other forms of illegal recruitment are as follows:
  • Escort services – tourist/workers “escorted” at the country’s airports and seaports.
  • By correspondence – applicants are encouraged by the recruiter to comply with employment requirements and placement through mail.
  • Blind ads – fraudulent and misleading advertisements promising facility of employment
  • Au pair – an inter-cultural program wherein a host family sponsors a person to study language and culture for a monthly allowance in exchange for a home to stay.
  • Backdoor exit – going out of the country through some airports and seaports in the southern part of the Philippines.
  • Camouflaged participation in foreign seminars and sports events – workers leave as participants in seminars or sports events but eventually finding jobs in the host country.
  • Traineeship scheme – HRM students leaving in the guise of a traineeship program for hotels abroad but eventually landing jobs in the training establishment.
Filing your Complaint

The complaint shall state the following, among others:

The name/s and address/es of the complainant/s;

The name/s and address/es of the alleged offender/s. Where the offender is a corporation partnership or association, the officer/s responsible for the act/s as charged shall as far as practicable be individually and specifically named;
The specific act/s and/or omissions complained of as constituting the offense;
The date, place and approximate time when the alleged act/s and/or omission was/were committed;
Amount exacted, if any, and place of payment; and
Relief sought and such other allegations by way of particulars.


All pertinent documents in support of the complaint must be attached thereto, whenever possible. In the regions outside the National Capital Region, complaints and reports involving illegal recruitment may be filed with the appropriate regional office of the Department or with the Center or Regional Extension Unit concerned for the corresponding legal assistance and enforcement measures.

File your complaints at:

Legal Assistance Division
Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch, 4th Floor, POEA Building or the nearest POEA/DOLE regional office; NBI, PNP, Police Authorities in your area

Sample Story

Question: After paying a large sum of money, I found out that the person recruiting me for a job abroad was not authorized by POEA. He promised me that I would be deployed even though he has no license. What shall I do?

Answer: Report the matter immediately to POEA’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch at telephone no. 722-11-92, to the Philippine National Police or NBI. You are not assured of protection once you run into trouble abroad as he has no bonds posted to answer for any eventuality. He may promise you a job but he can only have you deployed by resorting to irregularities that will compromise your welfare. The POEA Legal Assistance Division will help you in filing and prosecuting your case.

Source: Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment

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