FIRMS are preying on jobless mainland immigrants, persuading them to spend money on useless products and speculative investments. Workers in insurance, direct sales, financial investment and modelling companies are infiltrating events held by volunteer agencies to reach their targets. The International Social Service, a government-appointed immigrant agency, has warned new arrivals to beware of jobs which offer high pay but require no qualifications. They were also cautioned against job advertisements for 'female public relations personnel', karaoke singers and masseuses, which might lead to prostitution. Lee Lai-man, a social worker with the service, said some victims has reported their cases to police, but there were no statistics on how many immigrants had been cheated. 'There are certainly a lot of them who seek help from us. That's why we have to warn them in each of our talks,' she said. Ms Lee said unethical companies recruited a large number of immigrants to be sales or investment consultants although most did not know anyone apart from their relatives. However, they were told to buy a product, invest in it themselves and persuade their families to follow. When they could not bring in orders, they would be fired without the return of their initial investment. There have also been complaints that model agencies have approached immigrants in the street and asked them to pay for training courses for job assignments. Ms Lee said the immigrants were mostly northerners who did not speak Cantonese. 'They were exploited by these companies because they are desperate to get a job but very often lack the qualifications,' she said. The Government is prepared to spend $178 million to help new arrivals in the next financial year. The Education Department will use an estimated $1 million to provide more places in adult education courses. And the Labour Department will deploy resources amounting to $1.66 million to help immigrants find jobs.