The Philippine government has warned Filipino migrant workers against illegal recruiters trying to send workers to Malta, a small country in Europe.

In a statement, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced that illegal recruiters were using several schemes in hiring Filipino workers to Malta, including unauthorized recruitment, third-country hiring, and contract substitution, while charging excessive placement fees.

“All Filipinos who are seeking employment opportunities in Malta are reminded to exercise caution and avoid recruitment schemes by unscrupulous individuals and entities, who are undermining both Maltese and Philippine laws to exact money from their victims,” POEA said.

It said all Filipinos bound for Malta must only come directly from the Philippines. The agency does not sanction hiring from outside the country. It also said Filipino workers must register their employment contracts with POEA before they leave the Philippines.

“All are hereby advised to transact only with duly licensed Philippine recruitment agencies with valid and approved job offers,” the agency said.