Guam – It’s an old story that continues to play out here on Guam, despite the publicity about it. Filipino applicants for H-2 jobs on island continue to pay an un-required and illegal manpower fee to body brokers in the PI in order to come here to work.
The problem has once again become serious enough for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs to post a notice issued by the Philippine Consulate on Guam advising US-bound Filipino workers to beware of unscrupulous labor recruiters. Guam is the focus of the warning.
[The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs website actually refers to the Philippine Embassy on Guam, which is incorrect. There is no Philippine embassy on Guam. Guam is a U.S. Territory and Philippine interests here are represented by a consular office]
The warning on the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs website refers to a notice issued by Guam’s “Philippine Embassy” [sic Consulate] which “continues to receive reports that Filipino applicants paid manpower agencies substantial amounts for placement or recruitment fees” even though the U.S. has a “no recruitment fee” policy for workers with H-2B visas.
According to the website posting, U.S. State Department Acting Fraud Prevention Manager Clay Allen recently met with Philippine Consul General Bayani S. Mercado to discuss joint measures to inform the general public about the U.S. “no recruitment policy” for workers under the H2-B classification.
At that meeting, according to the website report, Allen reiterated that his office continues to process applicants bound for Guam who admit that they are paying manpower agencies placement or recruitment fees.
The posting states that Allen told the Philippine officials about one particular manpower agency that has been ripping off Guam bound workers. The name of that company is “Topline Manpower Services.”
Allen told the Philippines officials that “Topline” has already been cited for violating the recruiting procedures, yet it continues to operate as a labor recruitment agency, despite the fact that the U.S. Embassy in Manila has notified the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration of “Topline’s” continued violations.
The Philippine Foreign Affairs website does not mention what, if any action, has been taken against “Topline”, or why “Topline” has been allowed to continue to charge placement fees to Guam bound H-2 workers, despite being cited for violations in the past.
Nor is it clear why the U.S. State Department continues to approve H2-B applications knowing that the worker has paid a recruitment fee.
According to the posting, the U.S. Embassy’s Anti-Fraud division has been working closely with the Guam Department of Labor and other federal agencies on Guam to ensure that workers coming from the Philippines are employed in the jobs they were hired for, and at the salary scales stated in their applications.