By Peter Stevenson
DESPERATE times call for desperate measures with thousands of unemployed showing an interest in paying a one-time fee of €1,220 to a company in Larnaca in order to get a job, sources at the labour ministry have revealed, but it could be illegal.
In the midst of a financial crisis, with unemployment on the rise many people have thrown caution to the wind and are even paying out money if it ensures they find a job.
The sources said that for €1,220, a company in Larnaca promises to find any applicant a job in Lille in France with a monthly salary of €1,500, working 35 hours a week. It includes accommodation and depending on job availability the company could take them elsewhere in Europe.
According to the same sources, applicants must pay €620 once they sign the initial contract with the company, with the rest of the money taken from their next two salaries. The payment is allegedly made as a guarantee.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that the police are investigating the legality of the procedure and have been in contact with the labour ministry’s relevant department.
The company’s status remains unclear according to both the ministry and police as its representatives deny being a recruitment agency. They claim they are undertaking private work in France and that they will be directly employing the applicants to work on their construction sites.
The ministry has been inundated with calls asking about the company, with sources claiming that thousands of people have visited their offices in Larnaca and that the number is increasing day-by-day.
Ministry officials have visited the company’s offices to carry out an inspection but were unable to speak to a manager or owner of the company as they are both abroad.
On Friday the ministry released a statement where it stressed it is against the law for private companies, which act as intermediaries to find jobs for the unemployed, to receive payment from applicants.
“It is forbidden to receive payment from job seekers, directly or indirectly, if they are helping them find permanent employment,” the statement said.
It warned the public to be extremely careful when performing any transactions with those sorts of companies and that making any down payments to intermediaries should be avoided.
By Peter Stevenson