Unemployed workers falling for false promises of factory employment

By Le Tuyet   February 11, 2023 | 06:50 am PT
Unemployed workers falling for false promises of factory employment
A worker looks at job postings at the Tan Thuan export processing zone in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet
Many workers looking for jobs after Tet have been swindled millions of dong after falling for false promises of factory employment with good pay and benefits.

Nguyen Xuan Tuyen, from Binh Duong Province that borders Ho Chi Minh City, rushed for a job search once the Tet holiday ended in late January. Having been jobless for months, Tuyen was recommended by a friend to apply for the South Korean firm Hyunjin Vina at the Vsip IIA industrial complex, which was hiring workers with a basic monthly salary at VND6 million ($254.51).

The salary has yet to include overtime pay and support money. He would only need to work on the weekdays as well.

"The salary and the working conditions are too good. So I applied for it immediately," the 30-year-old worker said. However, no interview call came for him even days after he submitted his application.

Tuyen's patience was running out. When he came to the company to ask around, a security guard at the gate told him to contact a Facebook account named Pham Thuy Trang for help. Trang said she is an employee of Hyunjin Vina, adding that she would make sure that Tuyen and two of his relatives would be able to work at the company for a fee of VND1 million each.

Tuyen said he was getting too impatient, so he sent Trang VND3 million. But 10 days had passed and no call for an interview was made. When he contacted the company to see if there's anyone named Pham Thuy Trang, there was none. The Facebook account got locked as well.

"I was miserable enough being unemployed. Now I got swindled as well," Tuyen said.

Ho Huu Dung, who's renting an apartment in HCMC's District 7, said he was swindled VND50 million for falling for a promise of guaranteed employment at a company in the Tan Thuan export processing zone.

After spending months looking for job offers online, he was contacted by a Facebook account, promising him a successful interview for a job with a monthly salary of VND9-13 million a month.

The day before the supposed interview, the account, which called itself an employee of the firm, said he would need to pay a fee upfront for an insurance profile to be made.

"At first it was a few million. Then the numbers kept rising. I don't know why I sent the money," Dung said, adding that after he transferred the money, the account said the company was no longer hiring, before blocking him off.

Pham Thieu, an administrator of the "Tan Thuan export processing zone" Facebook group with over 36,000 members, said that after Tet ended, the group sometimes received dozens of messages from members in a single day, saying they lost their money when they applied for jobs, only to fail. There were people who were swindled dozens of millions of Vietnamese dong.

"In reality, there was no job in the first place; or swindlers would recommend workers jobs that are too tough or pay too little, making workers give up on their own," Thieu said.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, a recruiter for Hyunjin Vina, said she has received multiple calls from workers in the last couple of days, reprimanding her for not giving them jobs despite them having paid fees.

Trang said her company's recruitment profiles all listed her contact as Ms. Trang, so workers might be mistaken when a Facebook or Zalo account with the same name contact them and promise them jobs. But when the company asks workers to come forward and inform the matter to authorities, many refused, saying they don't want all the hassles.

Trang said all claims saying that workers could earn a spot at Huynjin Vina just by paying fees are fake.

Pham Van Tuyen, deputy director of the Binh Duong Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said many companies saw their numbers of orders dropping after Tet, causing workers to be laid off. There is more labor supply than demand right now, so job seekers would find it more difficult to get the job they want.

"Maybe some people took advantage of the situation, masqueraded as human resource personnel and swindled money from job seekers by promising them spots at companies with good pay and benefits," Tuyen said.

The fact that not many people decide to report what happened to the police has helped swindlers thrive, he added.

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