(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Enquiries by Muscat Daily have revealed that lecturers from India seeking to join colleges of technology in Oman sometimes bribe recruitment agencies there to procure jobs. Candidates shortlisted after interviews pay an amount ranging from R200,000 to R300,000 (RO1,300-RO1,948 approx) to ensure that they are recruited. Agencies often term the amount as 'recruitment' or 'service' charge.
While the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has stated that it has no recruitment agents outside the sultanate, an Indian government official has said agents cannot charge more than R20,000 (RO130) as service charge from candidates.
A lecturer who joined the Ibra College of Technology on March 10 this year said that the recruitment agency he went through (Royal Star Human Resources and Travel Consultants Pvt Ltd) asked candidates to pay an amount equivalent to a month's salary they stand to get once hired.
Those who are desperate for a job in Oman, do not mind paying the money. Saying that he was interviewed in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on October 29, 2012, the lecturer added that a few candidates were asked the double of their monthly salary package, and cited 'quick money' as the reason why he himself paid a R247,000 (RO1,600) bribe to the agency. ''Those who can afford, pay it to get here knowing that the money can be recouped soon, unless they lose their jobs,'' he said. According to him, the agency also accepts the money in installments spread over ten days.
''A person asking for a receipt or proof of payment is shown the door. They know where they will be posted only after arriving in the sultanate,'' he said.
Another lecturer, from Shinas College of Technology, who too came to the sultanate in March, said agents (also Royal Star) quoted R300,000. ''The amount was settled at R250,000 (RO1,623) after negotiations, to be paid in cash.''
The same agency held interviews in the Indian cities of New Delhi (venue: the Grand Hotel), Hyderabad (Blu SAS), Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi (Le Meridien) this year.
V G Nair, general manager of Royal Star Human Resources and Travel Consultants Pvt Ltd, confirmed the recent interviews and said, ''All procedures should be completed by the end of August, and selected candidates will likely have to join work around September.'' About the fee, he said, ''It is decided after the interview process is complete, and each aspirant is told of the amount in person. All I can tell you is that the amount is reasonable.''
John (full name withheld), an assistant professor of English in an engineering college in India looking for a job in Oman, was allegedly told by another agency that he would have to pay to get his visa stamped. ''Regency Manpower Consultants and Tour Operators, the agency I approached, told me this during my interview.''
John said that according to the MoM website, the criteria to get recruited is an MA in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate with two years of teaching experience. But agencies put the experience criterion at four years. The e-mail he received from the agency states that service charges are applicable which can be paid to the agency after receiving the visa and flight ticket.
John said that D Jai Shankar, protector of emigrants, Government of India, informed him that agents can only charge a maximum of R20,000, and that receipt should be asked for or the payment should be made by a demand draft or cheque.
An MoM statement says the ministry coordinates with specialised offices within the country and not with employment offices from outside the sultanate. Commenting on a advertisement about vacancies published in an Indian newspaper, it stated, ''The ministry did not coordinate with any office in India for publishing job vacancies. We would like to notify that we recruit expatriates through our agencies in Oman and there is no contract directly with the person nominating them for certain