Employment Agency Fraud
From The World Journal
June 22, 2004

A series of frauds involving numerous employment agencies in Chinatown have been brought to the attention of the Department of Consumer Affairs as many job seekers accused the agencies of taking advantage of their illegal status and cheating them out of their money.

The department is calling on those deceived by unlawful employment agencies to come forward to the authority, and assures them that they will not be asked to reveal their immigration status.

An illegal immigrant from Fujian, who paid $70,000 to illegally enter the United States two months ago and requested anonymity, said he paid a fee to an employment agency on East Broadway but did not get a job. After failing to get a refund, he did not report to the authority fearing deportation. He is among the many recently arrived illegal immigrants deceived by employment agencies. Many said that fraud has becoming a common practice.

According to consumer protection regulations, employment agencies are required to give a refund to job seekers whose job offers were cancelled before they started working, or they should secure another job offer for their clients.

Ms. Gao, another recent immigrant who received a job offer through an employment agency, was informed that the offer was cancelled only 10 minutes after it was made. When she attempted to get a refund, she was barred from entering the agency. After learning the new policy, she immediately reported to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Community leaders, including Shi Chung-yi of the American Fujianese Association and Zhang Junjian of the American Fujian Center, all expressed concerns about the recent frauds.

Zhang called on owners of the employment agencies to exercise self-discipline and have sympathy for their fellow immigrants. Shi said that job seekers should be careful when choosing an employment agency and learn about the procedures in advance.

Chen Jingrui, an immigrant from Langchi, Fujian, said job seekers face many difficulties. “It is a good deed for those employment agencies to help people look for jobs,” Chen said. “But now some people are giving them a bad name by cheating other people’s heard-earned money.”

The Department of Consumer Affairs set up a Chinese-language hotline. Those who need assistance can call (212) 487-4488 or 311.

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Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.

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