Filipinos warned vs. Iraq online job offers

MANILA— The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday warned Filipinos anew against engaging with recruiters announcing job postings online, saying the deployment ban to Iraq is still in place.

“In some cases, these online announcements claim that the existing ban on deployment to Iraq has been lifted,” the DFA said in a statement.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Governing Board Resolution No. 6, s. 2018, which suspends the deployment of newly-hired workers bound for Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, remains in effect, it said.

Household workers, who are already based in Iraq, are also banned from returning to Iraq should they go on vacation to the Philippines.

Philippine Vice Consul to Iraq Jom Sadie said the number of human trafficking victims from the Philippines to Iraq has increased in 2018, most of whom are from Northern Luzon.

“As of August, we have 51 victims already. At the moment, we have eight at the embassy,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Of the more than 50 victims as of August, four are also incommunicado while the other two are in the Philippine embassy’s shelter in Erbil, he said.

In its statement, the DFA warned that Iraq imposes hefty penalties for persons without the proper visas or with expired visas.

“Filipinos who are temporarily vacationing in Iraq or are residing and working before the deployment ban are advised to take note of their visa validity dates,” it added.

Meanwhile, it reiterated reminders to Filipinos, who receive or encounter job offers abroad, to remain vigilant on the early warning signs of human trafficking, notably, travel offers using a tourist visa or visit visa with recruiters promising to issue a worker’s visa upon arrival in Iraq.

Filipinos are also advised against taking job offers when they are being asked to follow certain “arrangement” when questioned by authorities such as to inform authorities that they are just visiting a particular city, like Dubai, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok; or to choose particular immigration lanes during departure from Clark Airport or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  Joyce Ann L. Rocamora / PNA –