Agency loses license for multiple recruitment violations

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the cancellation of the license of LAM Healthcare Staffing Corporation which was found liable in separate recruitment violation cases filed against the recruitment agency. Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said the recruitment agency violated several provisions of the POEA rules and regulations including illegal charging of placement fee, multiple cases of misrepresentation and deploying an underage worker. LAM Healthcare was held answerable for deploying an underage domestic worker to Oman which the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Muscat reported to the POEA as a probable case of trafficking in person. The HSW was deployed to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates on February 1, 2013 but was later transferred to an Omani sponsor who brought her to the Sultanate. Complaining of overwork, she escaped from her employer’s home on May 23, 2013 and took shelter at the OWWA Center in Muscat. During the interview with the welfare officer, the HSW admitted that she was only 21 years old when she was deployed having been born on October 16, 1991. She claimed that her recruiter brought her to Cotabato to secure a fake birth certificate prior to her passport application at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila. POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 6, Series of 2006, as amended, prescribes the minimum age of HSW applicants at 23 years old. In another case, the POEA found LAM Healthcare liable for excessive collection of placement fee when it charged Php30,000.00 from the worker whose monthly salary was only Php12,318.75 as irrigation laborer in Saudi Arabia. Under the Rules, a land-based recruitment agency may charge and collect from its hired workers a placement fee in an amount equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation costs. The recruitment agency was also held responsible for misrepresentation when it deployed the worker as a laborer but whose actual work was delivery service crew. The worker was eventually repatriated because of the discrepancy in the position stated in his Iqama and his actual job. LAM Healthcare was previously penalized for submitting fake OWWA-CPDEP Training Certificates for processing of its hired household service workers at the POEA’s Land-based Center. “We have consistently ruled that misrepresentation cannot only be committed to the applicant-worker but also to the POEA itself. In this case, the agency is liable for leading us to believe that the training certificates were authentic,’ Cacdac said. Under the POEA rules on recruitment violation cases, deploying underage workers and excessive collection of fees on the first offense, and misrepresentation on the third and subsequent offenses, carry the penalty of cancellation of license.