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What is a recruitment agency?

Recruitment agencies are individuals or corporations authorised to recruit and hire for employment in other countries. In Pakistan, they are called overseas employment promoters. To be accredited, they should have a valid license.

Make sure that you apply only through recruitment agencies registered and licensed by the government. BEOE usually publishes online the current status of recruitment agencies, or whether they are suspended and with pending cases or complaints. Read more about BEOE on their website

In Pakistan, the Overseas Employment Corporation is a company limited by shares incorporated under the Companies Act 1913 as a private limited concern. Its equity is owed entirely by the Government of Pakistan.  OEC assists the employers in conducting tests and interviews of candidates. Those selected for employment abroad are assisted with their travel arrangements. Apart from meeting the specific and exacting standards of foreign employers, the Corporation also acts as a protector of emigrants to ensure the welfare of emigrant personnel and to promote harmonious working relationship between the employers and the employees.

 The objectives of OEC are:

  • To promote emigration of Pakistani manpower for employment abroad
  • To provide competent, reliable and cost-effective human resource to International Labour Market
  • To assist foreign recruiters in recruitment of Pakistani Manpower against specific demands
  • To facilitate Pakistani job seekers in employment abroad by providing exploitation free environment
  • To arrange pre-departure training of manpower against specific demand, where necessary
  • To ensure smooth and swift travel arrangements for selectees.

Read more about OEC on their website

When choosing an agency, you need to keep in mind that you’ll depend on them for a number of services, including visas or other residence documents, transport, accommodation, and information about the nature of the work. So, you need all the support and guidance you can get when choosing the right recruitment agency.

Unfortunately, unethical recruitment agencies exist, and here are some indicators of bad recruiting practice, which, when known, will help you spot and avoid them. Read as well several ways to improve your chances of engaging with the right agency:

  • Ask the agency representative questions, such as How long have you been in business? If he/she does not respond or is offering an ambiguous answer it can sometimes be a red flag.
  • Ask the agency to provide references. This should include contact information so that you can call and ask additional questions if you choose. Do not trust any agency which recruits in malls, parks, restaurants, houses, and in other places, which are not its official or registered address.
  • If your recruitment agency attempts to charge you a fee higher than that established by law, warning bells should sound immediately. Go elsewhere when the agency does not issue any receipt or invoice; or if released, it is a generic one and does not contain details such as an address, tax identification number, license or registration number, etc.
  • If an agency’s consultant doesn’t appear to be knowledgeable about a specific position he’s offering to you, it can indicate that the recruitment agency has no foreign demand. Be alert when the agency does not disclose or explain in detail the recruitment process or the employment, and when they are evasive in their answers or information.
  • If an agency’s consultant says it is fine to lie on your CV about your professional history, leave the agency. This can cause you many problems in the workplace. Moreover, it is unethical and, in some cases, can be a criminal offence. In the same time, be careful when the agency does not ask you questions and does not check your background or your skills or competencies and accepts all types of applicants as long as they pay.
  • Accept to work in a field/job/occupation that you find interesting and fulfilling. Be clear in your own mind at the outset about the minimum conditions you’re prepared to accept. Don’t be persuaded to go below your bottom line. If they offering you a job that is below this line do, don’t feel under any obligation to take it.
  • Being overconfident to the point that they guarantee you the job or claiming that they are connected to a high-ranking official or persons with authority is a sure sign that much of their business approach is unethical. Look for agencies that are honest from the start. You should always feel that you share a good relationship with your agency and that they are working in your best interest at all times.
  • Do not trust any agency or person who advises you not to go through an authorised government agency and deal with them exclusively or promise you to fast track the process for employment application using tourist or visit visa.

If you need clarification about any of the above, you may contact the MRCs anytime through email, FB, or hotline number.