The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) recently published a report which indicates that South Africans are being increasingly targeted on the internet with false job offers and empty promises of overseas dream jobs. According to the FIC, young people with good qualifications are especially targeted. It even goes as far as these false agencies conducting telephonic or Skype interviews to make it appear realistic. These traps lead applicants to then give out their personal information such as banking details, identity number and credit card information before the process can be completed.

According to South African applications for jobs abroad have sky-rocketed, but fake agencies also started to pop up around every corner. How to you ensure that you are not being deceived?

Avoid traps in these ways:

  • Find out from the embassy what the work requirements are in the particular country where you are applying.
  • Look at various sources on the internet so that you know what the expected salary, working hours and visa requirements are for the position you are applying for.
  • Search the internet for the email address, telephone number and website details of the agency that you are talking to, as well as of the employer who is approaching you. Note that false agencies even imitate websites. If you suspect anything, try to phone the company and make sure that the contact person works there.
  • Avoid making any payments to agencies before you move.
  • Ask the agent you are dealing with whether they are a registered immigration consultant, attorney or notary. If they are, ask them for the registration number and at which body they are registered. The particular regulatory body will be able to confirm the registration number for you. For New Zealand, Canada and Australia the consultant advising you has to be a registered consultant.
  • Search social media for posts where the particular agency’s name is mentioned. You will quickly notice if someone else has ever been misled. On social media you will also quickly realise whether they have many followers, post regularly and if there are people who provide feedback on their experiences. Do they have photos, interviews with clients and posts that are not generic?
  • Use online rating agencies to see what others’ experience was. com and are examples of websites where you can see how the various agencies are rated.

It is well-known that many South Africans are looking for opportunities abroad, and if the process looks too simple then it is too good to be true. Whether you want to permanently emigrate or just give English lessons in China for a year, rely on references from people you know. It is difficult to distinguish between a trap and a true opportunity, but an agency that has been in business for decades will look different from someone trying to portray themselves as experts. To work around the world is exciting, and if you remain patient and don’t look for shortcuts, it will be a once in a lifetime experience!

This post is also available in: Afrikaans


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