The office of Ha Tinh Consultation and Training JSC in Ha Tinh Province, which has collected $3,000 each from many locals and promised to bring them to lucrative garden job in Canada. PHOTO: A. HUU
A company in central Vietnam is charging locals US$23,000 to send them to work in Canadian orchards, without a permit.
"[Canda] has no labor cooperation with Vietnam," said a Canadian Embassy employee contacted by Thanh Nien via telephone. She added that she had no further comment on the matter.
Nevertheless, more than 50 people from the poverty-stricken provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh have paid deposits of $3,000 to pick fruit there after being promised salaries of $4,000 a month.
Vietnam’s GDP per capita in 2013 was $1,890, according to the state-owned General Statistics Office.
Phan Van Hien from Ha Tinh, who just failed his university entrance exam, said the promised wage is 27 times higher than a construction worker's salary in his neighborhood.
“This is a dream, one day's wage is equal a whole month's in Vietnam.”
The job seekers said they felt confident in the deal given the company’s widespread promotion, at local conferences and on radio ads.
Thanh Nien became aware of the potential scam after one job seeker Phan Huu Tung (also from Ha Tinh) asked the newspaper to look into the issue.
Tung lost grew impatient after two months of waiting for a visa. He was promised ten days.
Tung said he couldn't make $23,000 in a lifetime at home and the promised wages encouraged him to mortgage his house and borrow from relatives to make the deposit.
Tung said the company, Ha Tinh Training and Consultation Company, sent a representative to his commune early this year to announce that they were recruiting.
He signed an agreement with Deputy Director Le Thi Bich, offering a two-year contract in Montréal, with a possible one-year extension.
He'd work six days, or 45 hours, a week.
The attached recruitment contract was written in English and featured the blurred name of the recruiter, which was said to be the Nigerian branch of a UK-based company.
It did not include specific job description.
Dao Cong Hai, deputy head of the Department of Overseas Labor at the labor ministry, said Vietnam has not granted permits for labor exports to Canada.
“It’s a fraud to recruit them at such a huge price,” Hai said.
He said the promises of high wage with no academic requirements makes the whole thing sound like a scam and his department has announced as much through the media.
Some of the company's "applicants" have since come to the company’s office in Ha Tinh's namesake capitol asking for refunds; so far only seven people said they'd two thirds of their deposits back.
They were told the rest of the money has been used to apply for their visas, that six have been issued and the rest will be available later this month.
Bich said she has no plan to scam anyone.
When asked if she is sending them to stay in Canada illegally, she said it worked fine for her husband.
“People are desperate to go, so I thought I’d send them.”
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