Recruitment scams targeting people seeking a better life abroad are common, especially in labor-exporting countries like Egypt and India as well as Bangladesh, Jordan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and other countries.
Kuwait Times was recently informed about one such scam taking place in India. According to a source close to the issue, 41 candidates were recruited without any selection process. The recruitment agency allegedly demanded 280,000 to 300,000 rupees (KD 1,250 to 1,350) from each candidate and it’s unclear if they will in fact be hired or have a job if and when they arrive in Kuwait.
Recruitment scams often cost low-income workers thousands of dinars in illicit bribes, only to find upon arrival in Kuwait that no job awaits them.
Sibi U S, Second Secretary at the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, told Kuwait Times that this year the embassy has received 14 complaints regarding recruitment scams. “Many people and companies have contacted the embassy to complain about fake recruitment, where many people came to Kuwait to find themselves jobless or in different jobs other than the ones they signed up for in the contract,” he said.
Sibi affirmed the embassy is taking this issue seriously. “There are two procedures that the embassy follows – contacting the sponsors and asking them to give back the passport and letting the worker go back to India, or we send an employee from the embassy with the worker to the ministry of social affairs and labor to translate for both sides and explain the Kuwaiti law to the worker, because many have difficulties communicating,” he explained.
“In 2018, the embassy received 1,327 complaints from workers holding article 18 visas. We also had 67 complains about illegal residents holding article 14 visas (family visit visas). In 2017, we received 1,415 work visa and 53 visit visa complaints,” he added.
There are nearly a million Indian workers in Kuwait. Visa traders and human traffickers target populations in labor exporting countries in the region as well as elsewhere in Asia. Sibi said some unscrupulous businesspeople create small businesses just to allow them to sell visas and bring people from outside, and this is a problem for many.
He noted that people must check the visa, company and the contract. “The Kuwaiti system asks for contracts in Arabic; the only thing written in English is the name. Fake recruitment agencies use this to scam people in India. We received an email from a person in India who wanted to check his contract. The contract was written in random Arabic alphabets that made no sense – just to scam the person, as he could only understand his name that was written in English, and as a non-Arabic speaker, did not understand the rest,” Sibi said.
In view of the large number of complaints being received by the embassy, the mission suggested some procedures to be followed to safeguard Indian citizens seeking employment in Kuwait and the welfare of Indian workers in Kuwait. The person must be sure of the recruiting agent. Ask them to show the original registration certificate issued by the Protector General of Emigrants, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Do not deal with them unless they are registered and make sure the registration is valid and not suspended or canceled.
Ask the recruiting agent to show to you the demand letter and power of attorney from the foreign employer and the agreement between the sponsor and recruiting agent. Also, carefully go through the employment contract detailing the salary and other service conditions. Women below the age of 30 (Emigration Check Required category) may not be granted emigrant clearance for employment as a housemaid, domestic worker, hairdresser, beautician, dancer, stage artist, general worker, etc.
In case of any doubts about the genuineness of the visa sent to you, check with the Embassy of India to Kuwait (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
By Faten Omar