DATE:  February 26, 2002     NO: 02-15

CONTACT: Pam Webb  PHONE: (907) 465-5742 

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

                                                ISSUES WORKERS’ ADVISORY
                           Foreign workers warned of fishing season job scams

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) is warning foreign workers that they are being misled about job opportunities in Alaska and the United States.

"Alaska’s Job Centers and private sector employment offices are being inundated with phone calls, letters and e-mail primarily from people in South Africa. Calls are also coming in from various countries such as Namibia, India, Israel and Eastern Europe," said Labor Commissioner Ed Flanagan. "Unless they are a United States citizen or have a legal right to work here, contacting us is a waste of their time and money."

Pam Webb, DOL employee in charge of foreign labor certification, says foreign job seekers are being charged for a book of names, addresses, and phone numbers of people who are supposedly hiring for the fishing season with the understanding that contacting any one will guarantee them a job in Alaska.

"It’s all public information that wouldn’t necessarily get them a job even if they were residents," says Commissioner Flanagan. "This is information that's lifted from phone books and the Internet. It's a scam. Money is being charged for information that is freely available online." 

The State of Alaska, however, does not assist foreign nationals in obtaining employment in the United States. Flanagan said Alaska Job Centers assist callers to the extent that they can, by referring them to the proper channels. But he warns that staff does not have the resources to answer email and letters from out of the country and encourages people to contact local consulates for assistance before attempting to contact anyone in the United States or Alaska. 

The United States Department of Labor Web Site contains information on how to get a work permit in the United States.

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