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23 Feb 2024

Poland: Recruitment agencies using exploitative practices target Filipino workers via social media platforms, incl. in Hong Kong & Qatar; incl. cos responses

Shutterstock (purchased)

In January 2024, Al Jazeera reported on exploitative recruitment practices in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Qatar targeting Filipino workers, advertising jobs in Polish factories.

Workers reported being charged extortionate recruitment fees (up to USD 5,000) to agents for jobs that never materialised. Workers also reported a lack of access to information, including being promised higher salaries in Poland without being informed they would also face significantly higher taxes. Some workers reported experiencing verbal intimidation from agents.

The article emphasises the jobs are advertised both through word of mouth, and via social media. One recruitment agency who a worker connected with via Facebook (part of Meta) charged the worker extortionate fees for a job that did not materialise. The worker has not yet received any remedy for the fees she paid.

The article also outlines 24 complaints from Filipino workers in Hong Kong against the Polish agency CIS Group Manpower. The company is on the Philippines Department of Migrant Workers’ watchlist for employers and has allegedly been inspected by Poland’s Chief Labour Inspectorate. The owner of the agency responded to the journalists, including by denying any wrongdoing.

Al Jazeera says it monitored the social media accounts of several recruiters on Facebook and TikTok, with accounts shut down only to “re-emerge soon after under a different name”.

In February 2024, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Meta and TikTok to respond to the article and to outline how they monitor and remove exploitative content from recruiters targeting Filipino migrant workers, including those that are shut down but simply remerge under a different name. Meta and Tiktok's responses can be read in full below.

Company Responses

Meta (formerly Facebook) View Response
TikTok (part of ByteDance) View Response