It is fairly common for migrant workers to be charged a fee by a recruiter to be matched with a job in the United States. But some migrants have reported paying the fee for a promised job that does not really exist. In other scams, a job is real, but the work is very different than the initial job description.
Rachel Micah-Jones, founder and executive director of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. poke Dec. 6 on a panel at the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services “Justice for Immigrants” conference held in Arlington, Va.
While similar bills have been proposed in California and New Jersey, Micah-Jones highlighted the importance of this legislation for the Old Line State. Maryland is “a big destination state” for international workers, she explained, and has “the full alphabet soup” of visa holders who work in industries across the state.
“This bill is really important because it would prohibit the charging of fees for workers who are recruited to work in the state of Maryland,” she said. These recruitment fees make migrant workers more vulnerable to abuse, as they are indebted to their employer. Other times, these workers may be discouraged or afraid to speak out about abuse on the job due to fear of losing their visa.
“Many workers are recruited for jobs that oftentimes that don’t exist, (even) after paying for those jobs,” she added.