The Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila. Photo: Google Maps

A migration consultant has urged the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to investigate the rapid increase in foreign-owned employment agencies that use illegal agents.

Emmanuel Geslani asked Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to probe agencies registered as being owned by Filipinos but controlled by backers from the Middle East, Interaksyon reported.

Geslani said some of the backers were men from the Middle East who married Filipino women to gain permanent residency in the Philippines and to set up their business. Their foreign-owned agencies were using illegal agents to recruit and deploy domestic workers around the world, he said.

Illegal agents could get a fee of US$500 from the backers for each person they referred. Most of the victims of the illegal employment work were women from Mindanao, he said.

One agency was reportedly buying recruits for 20,000 to 30,000 pesos (about US$400 to $600).

The Department of Labor is currently investigating reports of illegal recruitment reports in the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, which caused the suspension of overseas employment certificates issued by the POEA in November.

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