How can you recognise a reputable placement agency?
There is no general office or authority that inspects placement agencies. However, there is a seal of quality for placement agencies in the care sector: “Faire Anwerbung Pflege Deutschland” (Fair recruitment for care in Germany). Companies that have this seal are ones with good working conditions, including for foreign skilled workers.
But you can also protect yourself from dubious agencies by keeping these things in mind:
- Always read the contract very carefully.
- The contract must clearly state which services the agency has to provide. It should be clear what will really be done. The obligations of the placement agencies are often formulated in very general and non-binding terms. For example, it often doesn’t say that the placement agency will provide you with a flat, but that the placement agency will only support you in looking for a flat. This could mean simply showing you a list of flat adverts.
The risks should also be clearly explained in the contract: For example, what happens if you terminate your employment or fail a language test. In most cases, the placement contract contains services that you have to provide. Such as regular participation in a language course, including passing the final exam; the translation of all documents (which are necessary for recognising the profession); timely application for the VISA to start work in the company. It is often absolutely mandatory to adhere to the contract duration.
There is a risk that you will not be able to meet all obligations. The agency can then demand a penalty payment. But only if this penalty is also stated in the contract.
- The contract may stipulate that the employee is bound to an employment relationship. This may be agreed if the employer pays for further training for you and releases you from work for this time. It is also possible that the placement agency pays for the training for you and wants the money from you later.
- You are responsible for official fees, for example for a visa or a notice of recognition (you are liable for the fees). If the placement agency has promised to pay your fees but doesn’t, you will have to pay these fees yourself.
- Sometimes accommodation is linked to the contracts. The rent for the official accommodation might be deducted from your salary and you might have to pay a very high rent. If the contract is terminated, you may lose your accommodation very quickly.
You should not only receive the placement contract in German, but also in your native language or in English.
Please note: the placement agency is not allowed to keep your passport or original work documents. If the agency tries to keep these documents or demands them, then directly contact your advice centre and the police.