Dubai: Nearly 500 nurses from Kerala, who were offered jobs at vaccination centres and hospitals in the UAE, were defrauded by a travel agency based in Ernakulam posed to be recruiters. The nurses, all past BSc Nursing and General Nursing are reportedly stuck in the UAE after recruiting agents allegedly conned them into depositing around Rs 2.5 - 3 lakhs.
According to the alleged complaints, the recruitment agency named 'Take Off,' a firm based in Ernakulam, Kaloor, duped the nurses into believing that there were vacancies in the UAE hospitals with a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh. They were told that a work visa will be granted once they reach their destination.
However, after arrival in Dubai, the nurses were all lodged in congested rooms in various buildings in the emirate without proper food. Visas of many have expired as they made entry with visiting visas. Some of them have returned after they got to know they were tricked.
In possession of the nurses' certificates, the agency now asks them to take up jobs in care homes or massage parlours and threatened them to not inform the media. When asked for a refund, the agents offered Dhs 3000 (Rs 60,000). Many had taken hefty loans and some even mortgaged their lands for the job promised.
It is said that one of the stranded nurses had sent a letter to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and contacted Kollam legislator K.B Ganesh Kumar addressing her situation.
'Take off' agency is alleged to be owned by Firoz Khan, who was supposedly jailed for his involvement in another fraud case. Others who are alleged of involved are agents named Sattar, Zaid, Joshi Thomas and Charles.
Meanwhile, Aster DM Healthcare has announced that it will be providing jobs to nurses stranded in Dubai. Founding Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Azad Moopen said that the nurses would soon be appointed in various departments on the basis of qualifications. Those who demonstrate expertise not only in the field of nursing but also in the day-to-day operations of the hospital will be considered for other departments.