Recruitment and placement
Any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee, employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.

Private Employment Agency
Any person, partnership or corporation engaged in the recruitment and placement of workers for a fee which is charged, directly or indirectly, from the workers or employees or both.

Private fee-charging employment agency
Any person or entity engaged in recruitment and placement of workers for a fee which is charged, directly or indirectly, from the workers or employers or both.

Principal
Any foreign person, partnership or corporation hiring Filipino workers through an agency.

Placement Fee
The amount charged by a private employment agency from a worker for its services in securing employment. 

A prospective employer can choose a company from the official roster of Philippine licensed recruitment agencies and manning agencies to act as his agent. 

Prospective workers are selected from the pool of applicants who respond to the job advertisements, the agency's own labor supply pool or from walk-in applicants. The placement procedure is, however, affected by the "butterfly" behavior of applicants, who apply to more than one agency and adopt a first come, first served attitude.

Trade testing is an important part of the selection process, and this is undertaken in instances where interviews will not suffice to test qualifications. Selected workers undergo a standard pre-employment medical examination conducted in a duly accredited medical clinic. The employer is obliged to assume the full cost of the worker's transportation to and from the place of work.

Documentary processing commences upon the presentation of the approved recruitment order together with the individual employment contract containing the minimum provisions or standards. The private employment agency collects a placement fee from the worker, as authorized by POEA, upon signature of the employment contract. Before departure for the worksite, newly recruited workers attend the required pre-departure orientation seminar. The agency is obliged to deploy its recruits within 120 days from the date of signature of the employment contract.

Obviously, the private recruitment agencies must have a marketing capability, as the very nature of their business is to seek opportunities and attract clients. Given the reality that these agencies consider profit first, and the protection of the worker only secondarily, the Government has always maintained that the contract between the foreign principal and the local agent constitutes the legal basis for the private employment agency to be liable, jointly and severally, with its principal for all claims filed by the recruited workers which may arise in connection with the implementation of the service agreements or employment contracts.

This policy statement has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a number of cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question1:
I am applying for a foreign job through an agent or recruitment agency. What shall I do to make sure I will not be cheated?
Answer:
Verify to make sure the agent you are dealing with is authorized or licensed by POEA and has the proper job order and the person transacting business with you is legitimately connected with the licensed agency. You should apply only at the registered office of the recruitment agency. If the recruitment is conducted outside the registered office address, verify if it has a provincial recruitment authority issued by POEA or has been allowed to conduct recruitment activity outside their office. Ask for a copy of employment contract and study the terms and conditions. Do not pay the any  fee unless you have been hired and signed the employment contract. Always ask for a receipt corresponding to any payment.

Question2:
My recruitment agency wants me to pay 50 thousand pesos as placement fee.  Is this legal?
Answer:
The legal placement fee to be collected by licensed recruitment agencies from applicants for overseas jobs  must  be equivalent to one month salary of the worker as stipulated in the employment contract. The amount, however, does not include documentation and processing costs  

Question3:
What are included under documentation and processing fees?
Answer:
Documentation costs include fees for passport, NBI/Police clearance, medical examinations, , medicare premium,  trade tests, authentication, birth certificate.
Processing costs include visa, POEA processing fee, and OWWA membership fee to be paid by the employer.

Question4:
I want to withdraw my application from an agency because it has failed to deploy me after so   many months now.  Can I claim for reimbursement of my expenses?
Answer:
Yes, you can claim for reimbursement of placement fee, documentation and processing expenses from the agency if deployment did not take place without your fault. You may file an administrative case against the recruitment agency through  POEA’s Legal Assistance Division.

Other Useful Information
Any person applying with a private fee-charging employment agency for employment assistance shall not be charged any fee until he has obtained employment through its efforts or has actually commenced employment. Such fee shall be always covered with the appropriate receipt clearly showing the amount paid. The Secretary of Labor shall promulgate a schedule of allowable fees.

Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal transaction, enterprise or scheme defined under the first paragraph hereof. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group.

The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P1000,000.00) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage.

Sources:
Regulation of Recruitment and Placement Acitivities
The Labor Code of the Philippines: Presidential Decree No. 442,

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