TALLINN - In today's global economic crisis, many people in Estonia are starting to think of looking abroad for better life conditions. People go to search agencies to help them find a job in another country.
However, many people have the fear of being cheated by the employment agency while taking on their services. There are some agencies which remain honest and can still be trusted.
According to head of J.T. Agentuur, Ekaterina Taranenko, an employment agency in Tallinn working since 2001, the agency hasn't been involved in any negative incidents so far; moreover, the agency has retained many permanent clients. "Our aim is to help people, especially in these difficult times when we are facing global economic crisis," said Taranenko to The Baltic Times.
"Our motto is 'You work - We care' and this is really true of us, we really try to take care of our clients and to keep our reputation on a high level, which we have earned during the long years of our work," she says.
According to her, the advantage of using an employment agency is that they work with all the customers individually, taking into consideration each person's own needs and requests. "From my side, I would like to encourage people not to lose their hope and try to find really honest agencies, those who will take responsibility for them, and their safety, as much as possible," she adds.
However, Taranenko goes on to give some practical and universal advice, which is important to know in order not to be cheated by any of the illegal agencies.
"First of all, it is important to check if the agency is registered. The next step to take is to ask for a contract, right on the spot, when you are already offered a job. And it is always good to check the detailed information about the employing company, on the Internet, and to leave your contact information of the employing company with your relatives, or with close friends in case of trouble.
"It is important to understand that nowadays we are having hard times, and that it is hard times for everybody, and we must try to find ways out of this situation. It is important not to go into panic but to try to find solutions to the existing problems," she says.
In fact, Taranenko mentions the fact that most of the people who are leaving the country in search of work abroad are women, quite a surprising thing.
Working in this industry for more than 20 years, they have become experts at the trade and know what clients need and want, and how to help them. According to Taranenko, if one were to make a parallel between Estonians and Russians living in Estonia , there isn't much difference in the percentage of which group uses employment agency services more, when deciding to leave the country and work abroad.
She also says that "the most relevant positions which have demand are in the services sector, positions for cooks, hairdressers, handy craftsmen and so on."
The JT Agentuur company, though in existence since 2001, has experienced greater demand from those looking to work abroad after 2004, when Estonia joined the EU and the situation in the EU was getting better by the day.
"Most of all for the seasonal work we offer our service in countries such as the U.S. and Australia, the reason is that the work is generally for youths who can generally speak English, also that it is mostly young people who will go off for seasonal work," says Taranenko. Unfortunately, most elderly people don't know the different languages.
"We have programs such as Work and Travel, which is considered to be aimed at more for youth, as there is some age limit. For example, the age limit for the program in the U.S. is 28 years old. But if we don't take the age limit into consideration, then mostly people will prefer Ireland and Great Britain, because in comparison with all the other EU countries, the offered jobs in these areas are better paid, and equally important is that there are a lot of employment opportunities for those who are under 30, and the offered jobs are gardening, various kinds of work in factories and so on," explains Taranenko. "There are a lot of students who use our services for working and traveling at the same time," she adds.
According to Ministry of Social Affairs' chief specialist in labor markets, Oie Jogiste, legal entities governed by private law, and sole proprietors, have the right to provide labor market services if they are listed as a provider of labor market services in the register of economic activities.
According to Jogiste, to check on any registered company, its information can be viewed at Web site http://mtr.mkm.ee by clicking on "Otsingud Ã¨ Registreeringu otsing" from the menu on the left-hand side of the front page and then choosing "Tooturuteenuse osutamine" from the 'Tegevusala' menu.
"Private companies are forbidden to charge job-seekers for employment mediation services. If it later transpires that a company charged a person a fee, this will be considered as a provision of false data. On the basis of the Register of Economic Activities Act, individuals would be fined up to 100 fine units for the provision of false data, and legal entities up to 20,000 kroons (1,280 euros).
The Labor Market Services and Benefits Act states that "only employers or other private companies or sole proprietors may be charged fees for employment mediation by legal entities governed by private law," says Jogiste.