Six Indians, including a brother-sister duo, were duped by a bogus recruitment firm in Dubai which took money from them on the pretext of providing jobs, a media report said Monday.
Ishrat Fathima, an HR professional from Tamil Nadu, told Khaleej Times that she persuaded her younger brother, a cousin and three of their friends to pay ₹one lakh (around Dh 5300) to be hired by the same HR consultancy company where she worked.
"I did not know it was a trap as I worked for the company for a month and they paid me my salary on time. Now my family is furious and they are all demanding money from me. But how will I cough up ₹500,000 when I myself lost money and got cheated?" Fathima, 27, said.
The woman said she came on a visit visa to Dubai on April 2018 and stayed with a family member. "I had applied for jobs online and got a call from a company called Great Channel HR consultancy. After the interview, they offered me a job for Dh2,500 plus incentives."
According to Fathima, her harrowing experience began when the company refused to stamp her employment visa and also did not pay her.
"They asked me to pay Dh3,500 as a security deposit for my employment visa. I knew it was against UAE labour law but they insisted it will be reimbursed," said the woman, who has a Business Management degree and five years' experience as an HR professional in India.
"I was sent back to India on the promise that I will receive my employment visa soon. But a month later, the company asked me to come back again on visit. When I questioned them, they said the employment visa can only be stamped on my passport and refused to send a soft copy. I had no choice as I had already paid them Dh3,500."
The ordeal did not end for Fathima as even during her second visit, she was not paid any salary.
"I knew things were fishy. So, finally I took up another job offer from one of their clients, and thought that was the end of all my troubles in the UAE. But I was wrong."
Fathima said she was paid her first months's salary and was awaiting her employment visa to come through.
"One day the Business Development Manager asked me to recommend five people that I know for other job postings. As my brother Ibrahim and cousin Irfan were looking for opportunities in Dubai, I referred them. And they referred three of their close friends - Vinod, Vignesh and Yogesh - all young graduates."
As per the complaint Fathima filed at the Indian embassy, the five young men from Tamil Nadu transferred ₹100,000 each to the company's account.
"A few days after the money was sent, when I turned up for work as usual, I found that the company was closed. The owner has vanished with all our money."
Fathima, who overstayed her visit visa for more than eight months has handed herself over to police, and is awaiting deportation, Indian embassy sources told the daily.
"We are providing her the ticket and sending her home," said a source familiar with the case.
"Last year, close to 90 per cent of the job offers checked by us turned out to be fake," Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Khaleej Times.
"The bogus employment offer racket is different from the visit visa racket for unskilled workers. This one mostly targets white collar professionals in areas like education, healthcare and management.
"We receive hundreds of queries each month from potential jobseekers asking us to confirm the antecedents of the potential employer or recruiter. Using the services of our outsourced agency PBSK, we make the necessary enquiries and advise job seekers accordingly," Suri said.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.