The International Trade Union Confederation and Migrant Forum in Asia are working together in promoting fair recruitment for migrant workers and collecting cases of migrant rights violation in the recruitment process. Here are the most common reports documented in Hamsa complaint mechanism. Hamsa as an online complaints mechanism aims to reach out to migrant communities who have experienced abuse in the recruitment process and migrant rights organisations together with unions providing rapid response and assistance when your rights have been violated.
You can report your complaint here.


BROKEN PROMISES AND BROKEN BODIES - OUR MIGRANT WORKER JOURNEY

We were informed by a recruitment agent in our village that work was available overseas with a salary of US$400 a month. They told us the job was in a paper factory and we would work for eight hours a day, six days a week. The agent informed us that there would be no recruitment fee, as it would be deducted from the salaries.

A week prior to our departure, we travelled to the capital for our pre-departure orientation. We asked the agent about our contract but were told not to worry about it now and that we would get it before departure. 

At the airport, on the day of our departure, we were asked to sign a contract. The contract was not what the agent promised us. The salary in the contract was only US$200. We were also given a receipt for US$100 for payment of the recruitment fee that we now owed.

Imagine our shock. But there was nothing we could do as we were at the airport and ready to go. Our families had such hope that we would be able to support them with our new jobs.

After a long flight, when we arrived at our new jobs, we were told to sign another contract and were informed that the new contract would be submitted to the authorities.

This contract said that we would be working for a pipe manufacturing company with a salary of US$200 per month. We were not given a copy of this contract, and the employer took our passports.

Work at the pipe manufacturing company was backbreaking, and our health suffered. We worked 10-12 hours without overtime pay. For the first six months, all our salary went to paying back the recruitment fees.

The first pay cheque we got came after seven months of work, but it was only for US$100. We asked our employer why we had only received half of the salary in our contract. It was only then that we were told that accommodations and food expenses were deducted from the salaries.

We were powerless – we asked for changes, and we were threatened with deportation if we didn’t show up for work.

Finally, we contacted and asked our families at home to request a migrant organization to assist us. The organisation supported us to file a case with the Ministry of Labour. Through their support we were able to get the salary indicated.  

IF WE HAD USED RECRUITMENT ADVISOR, WE COULD HAVE FOUND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AGENT AND THE EMPLOYER AND HOW THEY HAVE TREATED WORKERS. 

OTHER WORKERS SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT WE DID.

USE MIGRANT RECRUITMENT ADVISOR TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS.

The case was reported to a Migrant Forum in Asia member and documented through the Hamsa complaint mechanism. Hamsa allows migrant workers to report migrant rights violations and abuse in the recruitment process. The complaint filed by migrant workers will be referred to and addressed by members of Migrant Forum in Asia and unions. The names and details have been modified to protect the worker, but the facts remain the same.

The International Trade Union Confederation and Migrant Forum in Asia are promoting fair recruitment for migrant workers. These stories will help people looking to work overseas learn from the experiences of workers who have gone before them.

  • Share you experiences on recruitment advisor.
  • Rate your agent.
  • Know your rights.
  • Find out where to get help
Migrant workers reporting their case to migrant rights organisation to seek foe help
Migrant workers reporting their case to migrant rights organisation to seek for help
 

 

 

 

LOCKED UP WITH NO FOOD

DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID – CHECK RECRUITMENT ADVISOR TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AGENT OR PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER.

I wanted to work abroad to earn the money I needed to support my family.

There are very few jobs where I live, and most of the families in my village have a relative working abroad and supporting them.

A neighbour told me about a chance to work abroad as a gardener for US$300 per month. I was told the work was not hard and it would give me enough money to send to my family.

I paid an agent US$600 for the promise of this work.

One month before I was due to leave, I asked the agent about my contract and work permit, and I asked if coronavirus would affect my job. I’d heard about coronavirus in the news. The agent said there was no coronavirus in the country I was going to and I would sign the contract just before my departure.

On the day of my departure, I was asked to sign a contract, but it said that my salary would be US$200 per month.

I did not want to sign it, but I felt I had to because I had already paid US$600 to the agent. Also, I asked the agent for a receipt for the recruitment fee and got a receipt for US$100, which is the maximum fee allowed in my country.

When I arrived at my destination, I was met by another agent and asked to sign a new contract. But I was not given a copy of the contract, and my passport was taken by my employer.

When I got to the workplace, I realised the job was in construction, not gardening. I had to work up to 12 hours per day for a month and was paid nothing.

I did not have proper accommodation and had to share one room with 15 other workers near the construction site.

After two months of this, we were told that construction would stop because the government had introduced a quarantine to stop the spread of coronavirus.

We were not allowed to leave our accommodation for three weeks, and we became desperate because the company stopped providing us with food.

We could not go out to get food because the police would detain us for breaking the quarantine.

We had to post photos of our situation on Facebook and ask for help.

IF I HAD USED RECRUITMENT ADVISOR, I COULD HAVE FOUND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AGENT AND THE EMPLOYER AND HOW THEY HAVE TREATED WORKERS. 

OTHER WORKERS SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT I DID.

USE MIGRANT RECRUITMENT ADVISOR TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS.

The case was reported to a Migrant Forum in Asia member and documented through the Hamsa complaint mechanism. Hamsa allows migrant workers to report migrant rights violations and abuse in the recruitment process. The complaint filed by migrant workers will be referred to and addressed by members of Migrant Forum in Asia and unions. The names and details have been modified to protect the worker, but the facts remain the same.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Migrant Forum in Asia are promoting fair recruitment for migrant workers. These stories will help people looking to work overseas learn from the experiences of workers who have gone before them.

•          Share you experiences on Recruitment Advisor.

•          Rate your agent.

•          Know your rights.

•          Find out where to get help.

 

Migrant workers from different origin countries about to return home after seeking help for repatriation
Migrant workers from different origin countries about to return home after seeking help for repatriation

 

 

ISOLATED, STARVED AND BEATEN

DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID – CHECK RECRUITMENT ADVISOR TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AGENT OR PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER.

My husband is blind, so I am the only person in my family who can work, and I just could not earn enough to support my family in my home country.

I had been working as a cleaner, going to houses three times a week and doing laundry for two families. I was working long hours, but still my family needed me to earn more.

Then I heard from a neighbour that there was a broker in our village who had helped people in our community find work abroad.

The broker promised me a job with a salary of US$300, enough for me to send money home, but I had to pay a recruitment fee of US$750. The broker said that the fee would pay for my visa, flight, medical checks and training.

To get the money for the fee, we had to mortgage our small family farm.

I paid the fee and was told I would leave in three months. I got a passport and had a medical examination, but there was no training or pre-departure orientation.

Two days before my departure, I travelled to the capital and stayed at the office of the recruitment agency. At the office they asked me to sign a contract, which I could not understand because it was in a language I do not know.

I travelled with ten other women, all domestic workers. When we arrived in the other country, we went straight to the homes where we would work. No training or orientation.

The work I had to do completely exhausted me. I was working in three different homes, for fifteen hours every day, cooking and cleaning for the families. I never got a day off and was not allowed to use a mobile phone to contact my family.

This went on for three months, and to make it even worse, I was not even paid. In my fourth month, I asked the recruiter to transfer me; working in three houses was too much.

Then the physical abuse started. I was transferred to a new employer who would hit me and give me very little food, and I was still working long hours with no days off.

After five months I was finally paid, but I was horrified; I was only given US$150. My employer told me that this is what was agreed with the recruitment agency.

Ten months after arriving, I was desperate and scared, and I made contact with an organisation that helps migrant workers. I could not stand the abuse anymore. I was thin and starving and had bruises all over my arms and back.

IF I HAD USED RECRUITMENT ADVISOR, I COULD HAVE FOUND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AGENT AND THE EMPLOYER AND HOW THEY HAVE TREATED WORKERS. 

OTHER WORKERS SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT I DID.

USE MIGRANT RECRUITMENT ADVISOR TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS.

The case was reported to a Migrant Forum in Asia member and documented through the Hamsa complaint mechanism. Hamsa allows migrant workers to report migrant rights violations and abuse in the recruitment process. The complaint filed by migrant workers will be referred to and addressed by members of Migrant Forum in Asia and unions. The names and details have been modified to protect the worker, but the facts remain the same.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Migrant Forum in Asia are promoting fair recruitment for migrant workers. These stories will help people looking to work overseas learn from the experiences of workers who have gone before them.

•          Share you experiences on Recruitment Advisor.

•          Rate your agent.

•          Know your rights.

•          Find out where to get help.

Woman migrant domestic worker filling in a complaint form
Woman migrant domestic worker filling in a complaint form

 

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