MANGALURU: Taking advantage of the severe dearth of jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic and
people’s desperation to get employed, illegal and fake overseas recruiters have flourished in the state, duping hundreds of people.
But the Protector of Emigrants (PoEs) office, situated in Bengaluru, is keeping an eye on these illegal recruiters and is likely to crack down on them soon. Recently, it shared a list of legal overseas recruitment agencies with all city police commissionerates and district police in the State. The police, with the help of various licensing and other government agencies, has been gathering information about such illegal agencies to bring them to book.
Some time ago, the Mangaluru city police made public the list of authorised overseas recruiters operating in its jurisdiction. Soon after, they started getting complaints from several victims of illegal recruitment agencies. Based on these complaints, the police have so far arrested two persons and dispatched a team to Tamil Nadu to arrest the third one. The gang, after promising nursing jobs in Australia and Lithuania, had cheated over 20 people of Rs 3 lakh each.
A senior police officer said illegal agents use middlemen and will have no direct contact with their victims. The middlemen collect the money, keep their commission and give the rest to main agents. Covid has come as an advantage for them as they keep telling the victims that the job offer letters have been delayed because of the pandemic and the departure would take time with a ban on international flights, he added.
Santosh Poojary of Skyway Recruiters, an overseas recruiting agency operating from Mangaluru, said that almost all illegal recruitment agencies operating in the city shut down after the PoE office was set up in Bengaluru two years ago. But they continue to cheat people even without offices. The victims are mostly overambitious and do not check the background of such fake recruiters, he added.
“People want to make quick money and fall for tall promises and lose money. If an office boy is promised a manager’s job, he should be able to see through the lie,” he advised. He said the overseas job market is down by 90 per cent and even those who get hired find it difficult to travel due to big expenses involved for mandatory quarantine in neighbouring countries before entering their destination country.
Sources said that absence of frequent checks on fake agencies has allowed them to flourish. The MEA website states that every month, a list of illegal agents reported to the government from the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK) is sent to respective State governments for launching investigation and prosecution to reduce illegal recruitment. But such exercises do not take place frequently, the sources added.