Binay: Recruiters face raps for confiscating OFWs' passports
Binay: Recruiters face raps for confiscating OFWs' passports
- Jose Rodel Clapano () - May 25, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The practice of licensed recruitment agencies of confiscating the passport of job applicants and demanding payments for its release is illegal, Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

Binay, presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) concerns, said licensed recruitment agencies could face charges once they confiscate passports of job applicants and demand payment from them for its release to prevent them from changing their minds and switching to other recruitment agencies.

He issued the warning after his office received complaints from overseas job applicants about the practice of some licensed recruitment agencies of demanding payments in exchange for the release of their passports.

“This is a clear violation of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 which states that the Philippine passport remains the property of the government and cannot be surrendered to any person or entity other than the government or its representative,” Binay said.

Binay said overseas job applicants whose passports are being held hostage by licensed agencies to keep them from withdrawing their applications must immediately lodge a complaint with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

“I have raised this issue with Administrator Carlos Cao and he promised to act on such complaints since this also constitutes illegal recruitment,” Binay said.

Binay said that job applicants are entitled to get back their passport and other key documents when deployment does not take place.

“A recruitment agency cannot hold on to a job applicant’s passport and use it as a leverage for profit or to keep a worker waiting for months for work visas or job orders to be issued,” he said.

ADMINISTRATOR CARLOS CAO AGENCIES APPLICANTS BINAY JOB LICENSED PASSPORT PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION PHILIPPINE PASSPORT ACT RECRUITMENT VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY
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