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Government website criticised for advertising jobs in Dubai as being within 20 miles of Birkenhead

Launched in 2012, Universal Jobmatch was found to be hosting a number of false jobs

Universal Jobmatch has been slammed after advertisements stating jobs were within 20 miles of Birkenhead were found to be located in Dubai – 4,700 miles away.

Frank Field, Mersey MP, blasted the government’s website following the false advertisements of jobs within 20 miles of his constituency; in addition, temporary Christmas positions were still being advertised in February. This is not the first time the site has come under fire. This left it red-faced, as jobseekers can be sanctioned for not utilising the website.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith defended the site, stating that it was constantly monitored and was receiving around four million searches a day; however, this latest blooper appears to be just one of many, according to the Labour MP’s research.

Field commented that applicants from Birkenhead are being directed to jobs in Bristol, Oxford, Egypt and Dubai when using the site. He added that even if the candidates had access to Concorde, they would not be able to get to work on time if they were travelling to Dubai or Egypt.

The jobs advertised in Dubai were for estate agency positions. The adverts stated that these roles were located within 20 miles of Birkenhead, when in fact they were 4,700 miles away.

Field, who is the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, was among those who raised their concerns about Universal Jobmatch back in 2012. He said that while things are better now, there are still improvements to be made.

He went on to question whether people would be sanctioned in other parts of the country if they failed to apply for temporary Christmas advertised in February and/or jobs paying below the national minimum wage.

The Dubai postings, which were all registered by external firms, were promptly removed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) once its attention was drawn to the matter.

Monster, the recruitment company that controls the website, said that it takes any inappropriately-listed job vacancies and fraudulent adverts very seriously and will remove them as quickly as possible.

Following the previous controversy, the DWP and Monster said that they continually monitor all inappropriate and duplicate listings, as do other internet job sites. Should they have any concerns about the validity of one of the job offers, they will suspend it and look further into its legitimacy. Should an employer be found to be breaching the terms and conditions, their right to advertise will be removed.

Speaking about this latest scandal, a spokesperson for the DWP commented that it continues to monitor and remove any jobs that do not meet its regulations and has a ‘robust’ procedure in place to tackle any abuse.

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