Expat in trouble for presenting copy of employment visa his friend sent him from India for verification
Abu Dhabi: An Abu Dhabi-based Indian expat who enquired about a friend’s job contract with an investment firm is facing a police investigation after the friend’s employment visa turned out to be fake. The man was handed over to the police by the HR department of the investment company as they suspected him to be part of the fake visa racket.
XPRESS has a copy of the employment visa which even bears the stamp of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs, UAE Ministry of Interior.
The visa was issued from Dubai on March 30 to Leo Padinharemadam Ramabhadran, of Kannur district in the South Indian state of Kerala.
The authenticity of the visa, however, could not be verified.
“I don’t even know the person. A common friend in India e-mailed me the visa and asked me to check the status of employment with the company,” said the man who works with a private hospital in the capital.
“The visa was nearing expiry, and my friend who knows Ramabhadran said he was worried that his ticket had not arrived,” he said, requesting anonymity.
He said the company refused to listen to his explanation and handed him over to the police. The man was later released on bail.
When XPRESS got in touch with Ramabhadran in Kerala, he said he got the visa from a local recruiting agent in Kannur. “His name is Vineet Unnikrishnan and he asked me to email my documents. I also remitted Rs35,000 (about Dh2,100) to a bank account,” he said.
“Now the agent is absconding. We have filed a police case against him,” said Ramabhadra, 20, who quit his job at Panasonic Electronics to go to Abu Dhabi.
“This agent was operating out of a small office in my town, and he had a good reputation. That’s why we trusted him,” said Ramabhadran. According to him, many others have been similarly cheated. “I am not worried about my job or money. But I do not want any trouble for the person who tried to help me,” he added.
When contacted the company did not comment on the specific case. But a spokesperson said, “The company takes all instances of improper use of its name extremely seriously and reports all such matters to the relevant authorities.”
In the past XPRESS has exposed rackets where unsuspecting jobseekers are duped with non-existent employment contracts issued in the name of big corporates and even government companies.
Bogus recruiting agents luring job-seekers from India has been a matter of grave concern for years. Instances abound of women falling victims to the flesh trade after being flown in with fake job offers.
The government of India has launched several awareness campaigns to protect the interests of its citizens who are seeking jobs abroad. The Ministry of Overseas Affairs has published a list of registered recruiting agents who are licensed to recruit people. Job seekers are advised to verify the credentials of agents, and also cross check the genuineness of the job as well as the employer through Indian missions or go to the website www.meaindia.nic.in or www.infia.gov.in.