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Tab on job con

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, August 03, 2014

PEOPLE chasing dreams of jobs abroad have been warned to double-check the agencies they deal with to avoid fraudsters who are cashing in.

Labour Minister Jone Usamate said they were aware of some agencies illegally recruiting people for a fee for promises of work in the US.

Mr Usamate said some employment agencies were operating from Nausori and were moving into other parts of Viti Levu. He said these employment agencies, group or individuals were not authorised by the ministry, which was not associated with any of them.

"I strongly urge members of the public to seek clarifications from the Ministry of Labour first before deciding to apply or make any payments to the company claiming to operate under either the Ministry or Minister for Labour's name.

"I request people to demand for the certificate of authorisation issued by the ministry," he said.

The ministry has two employment agencies authorised to enlist, recruit and deploy Fijian workers for overseas employment — the Thrive International Employment Agency, and ACE and ACE Enterprises Ltd.

Mr Usamate confirmed that under Section 37 of the ERP 2007, any employment agency operating without authorisation from the permanent secretary for Labour is liable on conviction to a fine of $20,000 or to a term of imprisonment of four years or both.

He urged the public to come forward to the ministry if they had such complaints.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Timoci Lolohea was investigated for a recruitment drive in which thousands of people paid a fee for overseas jobs they never got.

Police investigated the matter, however only the Labour Ministry charged Mr Lolohea.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said police would investigate illegal recruiting agencies.

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