A recruitment company in the Philippines that charged people thousands of euros to apply for non-existent jobs in Malta has been shut down, Filipino authorities have said.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), a Filipino government agency, said it closed Legal Connect Travel Consultancy’s Manila offices following three complaints from people whose applications were either stalled or ignored after the company collected “exorbitant” placement fees from them.  

While having a presence in the Philippines, Legal Connect is a Dubai-based firm, the DMW said in a statement.  

Two of those who complained were Filipinos based in Dubai, and the third complaint came from the Philippines, the DMW said.  

“Legal Connect, operating without a valid DMW license, lures unsuspecting applicants with promises of agricultural jobs as fruit and vegetable pickers, dairy farm workers as well as caregivers in Italy and hotel crew service jobs in Malta,” a DMW statement published on social media said.  

The recruitment agency offered monthly salaries from just under €1,000 to around €1,600; however, they charged “processing fees” between €4,000 and €6,200.  

Legal Connect also collected “placement fees” between €1300 and €1630.  

“Processing times were deceptively long, with applicants waiting for 6 to 8 months for jobs that never materialized,” DMW said.  

“Officers and personnel of Legal Connect face serious charges of illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate which is punishable by life imprisonment and fines ranging from P2,000,000 (€32,500) to P5,000,000 (€81,000). In addition, the company’s officers and personnel shall be blacklisted from participating in the government’s overseas recruitment program”.  

On Facebook, a company called Legal Connect Consultancy has been promoting jobs in Malta since October 2022. In a post dated November 2022 it promised monthly salaries of €1,800 for work in a chocolate factory. 

A job advert promises salaries of €1,800. Photo: FacebookA job advert promises salaries of €1,800. Photo: Facebook

Founded in 2021, the DMW is tasked with protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers.  

The department also facilitates Filipino employment abroad, according to the department’s LinkedIn page.

This is not the first time the DMW has taken action against those promising jobs in Malta. 

In February 2023, a recruiter offering job placements in Malta was arrested by Filipino authorities following an investigation by the department. 

And in June, the DMW shut down OVM Visa Assistance and Travel Consultancy after investigations showed the company was providing foreign recruitment services without a licence. 

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