Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are You One of Them?

I met one lady here. It was her first time to work outside her country of origin. She went here thinking that she will be a private tutor (and earn a lot) as she was a teacher before. However, she ended up as a nanny for a special child. She knows nothing about medications, behaviour and how to take care of children with special needs. But there’s nothing she can do now. Instead of sobbing and thinking about going back home, she courageously decided to stay. Little by little she learned how to do her job and the family she’s working for loved her. There are times though that the child she has to attend to hits and kicks her. She just endured all the aches, pains and loneliness for this little sacrifice will (maybe) reap rewards for her family back home.

The same thing happened to another young lady I met. She was recruited from a small province. The recruiters promised her that she, like the previous story, will become a private tutor. However, in her documents, she agreed that she will fly using a domestic helper’s visa so she can leave the country faster. She signed not knowing she will really end up as a household help for a family of 16. Whew! After only 4 gruelling days of “hard” labor, she wanted so much to go back home. As of this time, my boss is trying his best to find her a better job and/or just sent her back home.

I think these incidents will never happen if only these 2 women (and many others I think) knew better. There are always people who will take advantage of others’ (mis)fortune for their own gain. So here are the things I think one should know and consider before working abroad.

1. Read
Read the Job title and job description. With those, you will know more or less what to expect your work will be. If you think you are qualified, then apply. However, If you think you do not meet the qualifications, never believe that someone can “fix” or make you into someone that you are not so that you will be qualified for the job. Using fake documents will just mess up your application and your reputation.
Read also the salary. Sometimes, ads and recruiters tell you will be given a high salary for an easy job. This is too good to be true. Either you will be given less than what they promise or they will give you more work. Each job has more or less basic pay in each country. Salary will also depend on your qualifications.
Read how long your contract will be. This will help you plan ahead for your future. Knowing this too will help you prepare yourself emotionally, psychologically and physically how long you will be away from your family.
Read also fine prints such as fees, breach of contract, work location, work hours, etc.
Read or search also if the recruiter is legitimate.

2. Ask
Never be too shy to ask questions that bother you or you don’t understand from what you read. Common questions you might want to know are;
• What company will I work for?
• How much is the salary?
• When will I receive my salary? Via ATM or cash?
• Where will I live?
• With whom will I live? Is it free?
• Is the transportation provided by the company/
• Do I have days off in a week?
• Is there vacation leave? Is it a paid vacation?
• Is there sick leave? Is it paid leave?
• How long are my vacations and leaves?
• Will they provide insurances and other benefits?

You can also ask politely, other applicants about what the recruiter tell them. The recruiter should give you the same answers to your queries.

3. Sign
Your signature is very important. Any documents you sign, means that you read and agrees on all that is in that document. Never ever sign without reading (and thinking 100 times) the contents. Sign only if you willingly and totally agree on every single word in that document. It is difficult to take back what you signed if you change your mind later on.

4. Give
Give only photocopies of your documents. Do not give original copies unless absolutely necessary and/or you have a “received copy” form that your documents are in the hands of the recruiter or agency. Also, make soft and hard copies of all of your documents for back up.
Give money only when they give you official receipt. Processing fees would range from 2 thousand -10 thousand pesos depending on what visa or documents the agency/recruiter will process. You can always ask where your money will go. Placement fees are not more than 1 month’s worth of your salary. This can be paid before you leave or via salary deduction. Medical examination fees are sometimes shouldered by your employer.

I think these will be helpful to you if you are thinking of working abroad. If you have other questions, these are some websites that can help you:

Working abroad is not easy. And being in a scam makes it a lot worse. Be wise.

It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion. -Anatole France

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