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Crackdown Planned on Exploitation of Migrants
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The city plans to crack down on fly-by-night employment agencies that try to cheat the hoards of migrant workers expected to come to the city looking for work after the Spring Festival.

The Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau also issued the first employment warning of the year yesterday, reminding migrant job seekers to be careful of possible scams that unlicensed job agents might take.

"With the annual influx of migrant workers after the Lunar New Year, we see cases every year of illegal agents exploiting job seekers' anxious mood to cheat them," said Lu Tingfei of the Shanghai Labor Inspection Team.

The team is trying to warn migrants about some of the more popular scams to help them protect themselves.

He said many illegal agents charge each job applicant 300 yuan (US$37) each time they set up an interview. Some will also arrange a vehicle for the applicants and charge a transportation fee.

However, the agents often organize hundreds of applicants even if the employer only wants to hire 20 workers. Requests for a refund are almost always denied, Lu said.

Another common scam involves offering migrants a steady stream of information about job openings for three months in return for a membership fee, which is usually several hundred yuan.

The jobs they provide information about, however, are so low paying or involve such unbearable work that no one would accept them.

The bureau says it has also found job agencies claiming to be licensed, but in fact they weren't.

Labor officials warned migrant workers yesterday to protect their own rights by checking the job agencies' license, signing working contracts with employers as well as asking about social insurance payments before accepting any job.

(Shanghai Daily February 14, 2006)

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