EURES Estonia - forming partnerships to protect the rights of jobseekers

23.11.2010

EURES Estonia and NGO MTÜ Living for Tomorrow have partnered up to protect mobile jobseekers against fraudulent and abusive employers. The work of EURES Advisers goes far beyond facilitating job matching and promoting labour mobility. They also work to ensure that advertised employment offers are real, safe, and not in violation of workers’ rights. The established partnership between EURES Estonia and the local non-governmental organisation (NGO) MTÜ Living for Tomorrow is a perfect example.

It is unfortunately sometimes the case that fraudulent vacancies are posted by illegitimate employers, promising appealing positions around Europe. When jobseekers apply for the jobs and are offered a contract, they are often asked to make payments to the employer before departure. Once they arrive, however, they soon realise that the promised job never existed. MTÜ Living for Tomorrow, which has been working to prevent human trafficking since 2004, reports, ‘Jobseekers can be desperate to find employment and often do not realise that what they are being offered might be false’, says Sirle Blumberg, Director of MTÜ.

The NGO’s cooperation with EURES started six years ago, aimed at preventing such fraud. Together, EURES and MTÜ work to identify the companies advertising false job offers, blacklist them and report the cases to the relevant authorities. In turn, this ensures that companies publishing their vacancies on the EURES portal are regularly checked, and therefore that all job offers advertised via the portal are real and safe. It is reassuring to know that the vacancies advertised on the EURES portal are validated and genuine; likewise, it is reassuring to know that EURES Advisers rely on expert professionals such as MTÜ, to safeguard the rights of those interested in moving abroad for work.

The cooperation between the two organisations is a two-way process. When jobseekers who have been victims of abuse make a report to MTÜ, MTÜ immediately sends the employers’ details to EURES Estonia. EURES Advisers then ensure the employer is prevented from using any of EURES’ services. Likewise, Estonian EURES Advisers often direct jobseekers who receive an employment offer to MTÜ, where they receive a free consultation with a lawyer. This is to ensure that all contracts are properly analysed and understood before signing. Additionally, MTÜ can support jobseekers with filling in applications to the relevant police and public authorities in the case of dubious job offers. EURES Estonia also asks MTÜ to check whether companies are officially registered at the Ministry of Labour, and, whether they own branches in the countries where they advertise open positions.

‘I think we, in cooperation with EURES Estonia, have now developed a certain expertise in the sector. Working with EURES Advisers is very positive for us. They take their responsibilities very seriously and this makes our cooperation so much easier. Ultimately, we both have the same goal; ensuring that workers’ rights are not violated. We advise our clients to turn to EURES to look for employment abroad, because we know it is safe’, explains Sirle.

The partnership between EURES Estonia and MTÜ not only aims to fight against abuse, but also to tackle fraudulent offers before they can turn into abusive situations. For EURES Estonia, prevention starts with raising the awareness of jobseekers and informing them about the support services available to them; this is why Estonian EURES Advisers are sure to invite MTÜ representatives to many of their events.

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