Monday, 10 September 2012 9:46 AM

Warning Over Fake Recruitment Agents

Australia and Solomon Islands are on the look out for bogus recruitment agencies trying to cash in on the Seasonal Workers Scheme.

Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati have been part of the Seasonal Workers Program since 2009.

The scheme underwent a major expansion last month to include East Timor, Nauru, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands.

Mark Roddam, from Australia's Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat they are aware of at least one bogus agent in Solomon Islands.

"There's been a case in the Solomons of a group claiming to be part of the seasonal worker program, and they are not one of our approved workers under the scheme," he said.

"We have around 25-30 approved employers under the scheme...and they've gone through a process to get approval from the Australian Government to participate in the program."

Mr Roddam, who manages the department's migration branch, says some people have lost money.

"The information we have from the Solomon Islands that there are many workers that have paid fees," he said.

"That is obviously of considerable concern to us and we have been working with the Solomon Islands Government to make sure that the right information is out there for people in the Solomons who would like to one day participate in the program."

Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati have been part of the program since 2009.

The department is directing potential new workers to the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit, which will direct them to one of the approved recruitment agencies.

Mr Roddam says the main focus is around accurate communication in both Australia and the workers' home countries.

"In terms of Solomon Islands, they've got their four approved agents, so...for people in the Solomons it's ensuring that you're dealing with only one of those agents," he said.

"From the Australia side, it's ensuring that our countries have up to date information on who our employers are, and as more employers become approved, we let all of the countries know.

"So it's ensuring that everyone has up to date information and clear information on who the people who participate in the program - who the approved ones are."

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