job seekersAdvice for third country nationals
Many of the billions who live in poor regions of the world dream of moving to more prosperous and developed countries and economic zones.
There is no shortage of unscrupulous scammers posing as so-called manpower “agents” who eagerly and tirelessly do all they can to lure innocent and unsuspecting victims into the trap they set up with one purpose in mind – trick people into giving them money in exchange for nothing. The dream very often and quickly turns into a nightmare.
From our experience and knowledge, the claim that it is easier to find a needle in a haystack than an honest, reliable and professional manpower agent across Asia is no exaggeration. Scammers outnumber genuine manpower agents at a ratio of at least 10 to 1.
So, what can a jobseeker from a third country do to avoid falling prey to these “get rich quick” scammers?
For starters, ask questions and seek information from reliable sources.
If a manpower agent says he can arrange a work permit that will enable you to emigrate, ask which country, which sector of economic activity, which occupation and with which overseas agent or agency he is partnering with.
If he has a close and trustworthy working relationship with his overseas partner, he will have no objection in putting forward this information.
Then do some research – take advantage of the power provided by internet. Does the overseas agent or agency really exist, does it have a functioning web presence, contact information with a working phone number and identification of the people in charge, is the sector of economic activity facing a shortage of workers, is the occupation considered under pressure and what is the minimum wage for this occupation in the destination country, do the local and overseas agents appear to have a good reputation? If not, why?
Never provide advance payment before signing a written, formal, dated and valid agreement with the manpower agent or agency which clearly states the terms and conditions, rights and responsibilities, obligations and commitments of signatory parties. Read the agreement carefully and ascertain that you understand it point by point. Do not hesitate to seek professional counsel if you feel it´s required before signing – nowhere is anyone required to sign an agreement immediately, on the spot.
The applicant should request a receipt or some proof that an advance payment was made. Global Workers believes that it is acceptable for the manpower agent to demand an advance payment to cover initial expenses and assure that the applicant will not withdraw after a work permit has been issued in his/her name, but the amount requested should not exceed approximately 20% of the total amount of fees to be paid. If the visa application is refused, an honest agent will return the FULL AMOUNT of the advance payment, except any administrative or processing fees he himself is unable to recover.
If a manpower agent says he has already arranged a work permit or equivalent document with your information data, ask to see it and demand a copy. Try to discover if the employer is real and if the work permit is genuine – you can call the embassy or consulate and ask for guidance – most are more than willing to help since they prefer to avoid potentially problematic situations before they actually become a burden to them.
Most, if not all, consular sections require that work visa applications be accompanied by a work permit (or equivalent document) and a Conditional Letter of Employment or Promissory Employment Contract signed by the prospective employer in the destination country. Make efforts to learn if this employer really exists, if his location and contact details can be found on the internet and, if they are authentic or fake. Why not phone the employer or send an email to obtain added assurance?
Ask the manpower agent what will happen if something does not go according to plan or to what was agreed to following arrival in the destination country. Often foreign workers arrive in the destination country only to discover that the job no longer exists or that it has been “terminated upon arrival”. Sometimes, there is no one awaiting at the airport – the “agent” is not to be found or the settlement services are not provided as promised. What are the termination, resignation, and repatriation terms? Will the agent pay the return flight to the worker´s country of departure if no solution is found? Will the worker receive a refund for the services he paid for in his former country and was not provided with after arriving at the destination country?
Think ahead. Most foreign workers have no desire of returning home any time soon following arrival in the destination country. Generally, the intention is to remain for a good number of years after the initial employment contract expires to save up money for a better future and, eventually, sponsor the immigration of family members. What are the rules and under which conditions is a foreign worker from a third country allowed to live and work in a country of which he is not a national? What are his/her rights and obligations? And, how and under which conditions can he sponsor his family members? What is required to obtain and renew a residence permit? Is it possible, how long and what is the path to permanent residence status? Is it possible to eventually obtain citizenship, how long may it take and what are the requirements?
The manpower agent in the country of departure or his partner in the destination country should be able to provide answers to these important questions. These answers can ease or help avoid hardships, conflicts, tension and misunderstandings and impact the decision to accept overseas placement in the first place.
Many nationals of third countries have no concern about how they make it into the most prosperous or developed nations or economic regions of the globe – all that matters is getting in. They will jump at the opportunity to obtain a short stay visa (Schengen zone visa as they are commonly known within the EU) or a tourist visa as they are commonly labeled in countries like Canada, Australia and USA and have no qualms about paying sums between 7 to 25 thousand USD – depending on the destination country for this type of visa. The underground tourist visa business is a huge multi-million dollar industry (maybe even billion dollar) and many people are entitled to a slice of the pie – from local community sub-agents to mid-level and high-level embassy staff. We know, quite well, what we´re talking about.
Job seekers from third countries must, however, be aware that holders of tourist visas undertake considerably dissimilar trajectories and face end-results following departure from their countries of origin that are considerably and consistently different in nature than those issued work visas or residence visas.
Tourist visas are, quite simply, an illusion based on a twisted misconception – that governments in more prosperous nations have lax regulations and are inherently distracted and lenient with regard to enforcement of immigration regulations and norms. Visa-seekers are often convinced that authorities in more developed nations will turn a blind eye and make it easy for foreigners to obtain legal status once they are within their borders.
This is a resoundingly false assumption and people who wheel and deal in the wild, covert and booming tourist visa “business” feed on the ignorance and despair of those in poorer countries desperately seeking a solution for a better life.
So, you obtain a tourist visa and manage to get into a more prosperous nation. Then what? Do you honestly believe that it is easy to convert a tourist visa to a work visa or to obtain authorization to remain and be allowed to work in a country that allowed you in as a short-term visitor?
Of course, it´s not. It´s extremely difficult and usually occurs only under exceptional circumstances. Those desperate to obtain a tourist visa must avoid this trap before they forking out a huge sum of money to a manpower “agent” who has arranged a tourist visa for them. Does anyone really want to lead a life on the run, hiding from authorities, working illegally with no insurance coverage, receiving under the table payments, with no right to education, health care or any other form of social protection and no possibility of sponsoring your family as immigrants? Think hard.
The type of visa you are issued makes all the difference in the world. Work visas and tourist visas are radically distinct in nature. A work visa provides a third country national, from the very start, with opportunities, possibilities and solutions for obtaining long-term legal status in the more prosperous nations that a tourist visa does not. Period.
Please contact us if you have any questions – if we understand the issue or feel confident we can provide the right answer or good advice, we will reply, pro bono, to any queries or concerns you may have.