Fake Recruitment Firms – A Problem for the European Logistics Industry

Last month, Delfi journalists Anastasia Yefremova and Vītenis Mishkinis uncovered the tragic case of Indian aspirants who had been defrauded by fake recruitment firms. These men were promised well-paying jobs and residence permits, for which they were charged hefty prices. After arriving in countries like Latvia and Lithuania, they realised they had paid for a dream but had been delivered a nightmare.

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There has been an increasing demand for overseas workers to fill vacant roles in several European countries, which has created a steady supply chain of workers coming in from Asian and African countries. As is often the case, when a business model takes off, there will be some unethical copycats hoping to net a profit without having to do anything to earn it.

Many of the workers and organisations affected by these fake recruitment firms are in the logistics sector, which has affected both sides of the business negatively. Capable overseas workers hear horror stories of losing monetary investments, being left stuck in a foreign country with no help, and returning home drowning in debt. Meanwhile, European companies find themselves being lied to about workers’ skills and qualifications, and have their workflows disrupted when they have to cut their losses.

With European logistics vacancies on the rise, and skilled manpower ready to fill those roles, rejecting the entire concept of third-party logistics service providers (3PL) doesn’t make sense. Without them, companies would find themselves burdened by the time, resources, legalities, and expenses of overseas recruitment. As a matter of fact, according to a recent report by Technavio, the European logistics market is expected to grow by USD 51.35 billion, accelerating at a CAGR of 3.86% from 2023-2027. Much of that growth will rest on the expertise of 3PL services.

The reason 3PL companies will rise in importance is because they benefit from economies of scale and specialised expertise. They can provide individualised solutions for different corporations, reduce expenses & overhead costs, and help clients improve their overall operational efficiency. Logistics 3PL companies also cover a wide range of services, like transportation, freight forwarding, inventory management, warehousing, and packaging. Connecting with the right 3PL service provider can allow companies to focus on their core strengths and leave the rest to the service provider.


So, can anything be done to stop fake recruitment firms from turning a growing market into a disingenuous cash-grab? Well, no and yes. No, because these firms know how to skirt the law. They’re also slick about shutting down in one place and reopening in another. They’re known to shift ownership repeatedly, so it’s hard to trace the deceit. They camouflage themselves by closely copying the name and branding of large and successful companies. Can they be stopped completely? Probably not.

All hope is not lost, however. There are many ways to spot the signs of deception before it’s too late. Fake recruitment firms focus more on flash than substance, which means that while their social media pages might look decent, their websites and blogs are usually sub-par. They’re usually not transparent with clients from the start, reducing the amount of time the client has to get to know the candidate. They don’t have a long and established reputation. They’re cagey about meeting clients face-to-face. They will pretend that issues like language barriers and cultural differences don’t matter or are minor bumps in the road, which means they are not putting any time and effort into training their candidates to meet European standards. They don’t offer support in cases of attrition, which shows that they don’t care about establishing long-lasting connections with their clients.

While the problem of fraudulent recruitment firms isn’t going to be an easy one to resolve, we can do our bit by creating awareness, reporting con artists, and pushing our governments to address legal loopholes that allow them to flourish. Lithuania has already started addressing these issues, and if we all get on the right track, we can ensure an easier path ahead for both candidates and clients. European firms willing to go a step further can help candidates get in touch with established recruitment agencies that might be able to help them get out of their predicament.

Here at Novalife, we’re doing our best to keep both clients and candidates informed, and to educate them about the tricks these fake agencies use. We’ve also helped many candidates and clients who were scammed by these tricksters. We’ve pledged to provide only legal and skilled immigrant workers to companies after fully understanding their requirements. We anticipate more of these fraudulent firms cropping up over the next few years, and we’re staying committed to helping undo some of the harm they cause.

Issued in public interest by Novalife Global Recruiters