Police warn foreign job aspirants against falling prey to sham recruitment agentsAccording to the Nepal Police, in the first 11 months of the last fiscal year, 577 cases of fraud were filed across the country.
At a time when Covid-19-related uncertainties have already had a major impact on people’s lives, some sham hiring agencies and unscrupulous individuals are making things worse for unemployed youths by defrauding them of millions of rupees with false promises of foreign jobs.
In a recent incident, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police arrested four people for their alleged involvement in duping nearly Rs4 million from foreign job aspirants.
The arrestees have been identified as Suvadra Pariyar, 37, of Makawanpur; Puja Rai, 33, of Ilam, Rajendra Dhakal, 33 of Sindhupalchok and Dipika KC, 21, of Bhaktapur.
According to the Central Investigation Bureau, they got in touch with the victims through Facebook as they had opened a fake account with a Japanese name ‘TANAKAYOKA’.
“After getting connected through Facebook, they lured their victims by posing as Japanese immigration officials who could arrange Japanese work visas for them,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Chandra Kuber Khapung, chief of the Metropolitan Crime Division.
According to Khapung, they are found to have duped nearly 4 million rupees from different people.
“We have sent the arrestees to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range for investigation,” said Khapung.
In a similar instance last week, the Metropolitan Crime Division arrested a person from Tokha, Kathmandu for allegedly swindling foreign job aspirants.
Police identified the arrestee as Lok Bahadur Raut, 34, of Udayapur who has been residing at Tokha in Kathmandu.
Raut was also accused of swindling over Rs1.8 million by promising victims lucrative job opportunities in Panama, said Superintendent Shyam Kumar Mahato, spokesperson for the Central Investigation Bureau.
According to Mahato, their preliminary investigation has found that Raut has duped dozens more victims.
An investigating officer at the bureau told the Post that Raut asked for advance payments up to Rs50,000 from each job aspirant. After showing fake job letters, he would again demand another Rs500,000. Raut then showed his victims fake e-visas and demanded Rs700,000 more, according to the officer.
“Raut swindled at least over Rs1 million from one individual,” said the officer on the condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to talk to the media. Raut took large amounts of money from job aspirants by showing them fake e-visas for Panama.
Raut was sent to the Buddhanagar-based Department of Foreign Employment for further investigations, said Superintendent of Police Mahato.
As the second wave of pandemic has resulted in thousands of job losses, authorities are concerned that vulnerable people might be targeted by fraudsters.
A study commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal last year had found that three in every five employees of both formal and informal sectors including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
The study also showed that the crisis has affected women, especially from lower income groups, differently from men, as women typically work in industries which are comparatively less tele-commutable such as hospitality, wholesale and retail, keeping them out of work.
The survey results indicated that 28 percent of men lost their jobs during the lockdown, compared to 41 percent of women.
In Nepal, fraud cases involving overseas jobs are common. Nepal Police receives hundreds of complaints concerning employment fraud every year.
According to the Nepal Police data, in the first 11 months of the last fiscal year, 577 cases of fraud were filed across the country.
Authorities have urged the general public to apply only through certified recruitment agencies after seeing job advertisements in newspapers and not fall for scammers.
Mahendranath Bhattarai, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment, said job aspirants should pay the agencies and provide passports only after being selected for an interview.
“While it is important to check the credentials of the recruitment agent, job aspirants should also verify the demand letter of the company by inquiring with the embassy concerned,” said Bhattarai.
“The government has also fixed the recruitment fees that job aspirants should pay to the agencies after getting a visa. If the agencies demand more money then the job aspirants can file complaints at the Department of Foreign Employment.”
Bhattarai said people should be more careful while paying money if they are not sure about the credentials of the agency or the agent and demand receipt for the payment.