|A job center in Hanoi’s Tu Liem District which has been the target of numerous complaints from students|
The year-end holiday season is a time when some people start looking for work, particularly students who are looking to meet part of their tuition and daily expenses.
In major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, living expenses are high and students at universities need all the extra income they can get.
However, this season for temporary jobs is also a favorable time for fraudsters to cheat students out of their meager funds.
After looking for information from leaflets posted on walls and electric poles around the university, Thuy Anh, a student of Hanoi-based University of Labor and Social Affairs, decided to apply for a job as a telephone receptionist with a salary of VND1.2 million (US$70) per month.
In mid-October, Anh came to the Viet Hoa Joint-Stock Company in Cau Giay District to hand in documents as instructed in leaflets.
After paying a fee of VND390,000 ($22.7), she was instructed to work with an air ticket agent in Tu Liem District.
There, Anh had to pay an additional VND100,000 ($5.8) as a fee for “making an employee card” and was given a 50-page document bundle to study in 10 days for the job.
In the first interview, she was rejected for no specific reason.
Returning to the Viet Hoa company, Anh was promised other part time jobs instead of the 50 percent of the $22.7 fee that she was entitled to if she did not get a job as promised.
Eventually, following several more appointments, Anh had to give up the fee as she could not take on jobs which were hard work for very little money.
Early last month, another student from the university, Hoang Thi Lien, called on the Tuyet Mai Investment and Development Joint-Stock Company, another employment agency in Dong Da District, looking for a part time job.
Lien had to pay VND350,000 ($20.4) in fees for registering, training and making employee cards, as demanded by the company. However, after more than a month, she had not been offered a single job.
On December 5, two students unhappily walked out of a job center at 233 Tran Quoc Hoan Street in Cau Giay District.
They told reporters they had lost their VND350,000 deposit when applying for a job at the center as well as a month’s salary of several hundred thousand dong for distributing leaflets.
When they arrived at the center to get their wages, they were informed that the recruiter had moved to an unknown place.
Many job-hunting centers in Hanoi, which mostly attract students and laborers from provinces, advertise that job seekers will find jobs immediately in prestigious workplaces, get their wages at the end of every day, and so forth.
However, after collecting the fees from applicants, they almost never deliver on the kind of jobs they promised in the first place.
Under a typical contract, if they fail to offer jobs to seekers, they have to return at least 50 percent of the fees paid by the applicants, depending on specific cases.
But most centers refuse to pay by telling their clients to go from place to place until they have to give up their fees.
In many cases, students have had to accept very tough, even menial jobs if they did not want to make a complete loss.
Many students are also cheated when recruiters evade payment of salaries after the students have worked for a month.
Some students have been threatened by the job centers of violence if they informed local authorities about the fraud.
Do Thi Xuan Phuong, deputy head of the Hanoi Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said one of the criteria for businesses to get a permit for a job seeking center is that they have to pay a deposit of VND300 million (more than $17,400) to the department.
As this was high, many job centers were operating without licenses, she said.
Phuong said that in 2007, the department granted permits to only nine businesses, two of whom returned the permit after suffering losses.
Hanoi currently has only seven legal job centers, she said.
The department will conduct inspections into those firms working without permits and propose that they are shut down, she added.
Earlier proposals sent by the department to local authorities to probe job centers in their areas have been ignored, Phuong said.
She also advised job seekers to be careful of centers advertising jobs with high salaries but not demanding commensurate qualifications and experience.
Students can access the website vieclamhanoi.net and other reliable centers including the Hanoi Job Center and the Hanoi Youth Job Center which offer free services, she added.
Reported by Thanh Nien staff
Update from: http://www.thanhniennews.com/education/?catid=4&newsid=44913