KOCHI: After undergoing the trauma of being stranded in the UAE without a job for nearly two months, nurses from Kerala who were duped by a recruitment agent in Kochi have some hope as a few hospitals in the Gulf country have come forward offering them jobs. “We can’t come back. If we come back, who will repay the money we borrowed for paying the agent for the job? A few hospitals have offered to help us with jobs. We are hoping for the best,” said Reena Rajan, a nurse from Kottarakkara who is currently stranded in the UAE.
Reena said around 300 nurses were in their group and they were all staying in dormitory facilities at three different places in the UAE.It was on March 28 that Reena and a few other nurses were taken by Kochi-based recruitment firm ‘Take Off’ to the UAE promising them jobs at vaccination centres there with good pay and other perks.
The nurses waited for a month for the agency to process the papers for the job. But as nothing happened, the nurses started voicing their concerns to family members back home.
While a majority of the nurses were afraid to speak against the agency, Reena Rajan and her cousin Susan Saji wrote a complaint to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan explaining their plight. “Thankfully, we had a cousin in the UAE who took Reena and Susan to their home from the dormitory accommodation provided by the agency. Many nurses are still staying at the shabby dormitory facilities,” said Denny Mathew, cousin brother of Reena and husband of Susan.
Denny, who is in Kottarakkara, is following up the complaint filed by Reena based on which Kochi North police have registered a case against agency owner Firoz Khan. “The agency collected `2.3 lakh in recruitment fees from each applicant. When we asked for the refund, they threatened us,” Denny added. Meanwhile, the police have started the process to arrest Firoz Khan who is said to be in Bengaluru or Hyderabad.
“We have registered a case based on the letter written by the nurses to the chief minister. We have contacted the relatives of the nurses to collect documents and present the same before the court,” said North Station House Officer Pradeep Kumar S.