Skip to Main Content
Back to top

Labour Department

Employment Agencies Portal

Woman convicted of operating unlicensed employment agency


The Labour Department (LD) today (March 2) reminded members of the public to obtain a licence before operating an employment agency (EA), or else they may face prosecution.

The reminder was made after a woman was convicted of operating an EA without a licence and was fined $20,000 at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today. The court also ordered the woman to refund the service fee of $6,800 to the employer concerned.

In November 2018, the Employment Agencies Administration (EAA) of the LD received a complaint against a woman from an employer hiring a foreign domestic helper. As the investigation revealed sufficient evidence that the woman was operating an unlicensed EA and the complainant was willing to act as prosecution witness, the LD decided to take out prosecution.

All establishments or persons operating a business in Hong Kong for the purpose of obtaining employment for another person or supplying personnel to an employer are governed by Part XII of the Employment Ordinance and the Employment Agency Regulations. Irrespective of the modus operandi or the types of jobs involved, all EAs must obtain a licence issued by the LD before undertaking any relevant activities. Except for the EA licence holder or his/her associates, no one shall operate, manage or assist in the management of an EA. Offenders may face prosecution.

The LD reminds EAs to operate in full compliance with the law as well as the Code of Practice for EAs at all times. Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and/or revocation of licence. The maximum penalty for unlicensed operation of an EA or overcharging of job-seekers' commissions is a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years.

For enquiries about matters related to EAs or complaints about malpractices, please call the EAA of the LD at 2115 3667, or visit its office at Unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon.

Ends/Thursday, March 2, 2023

I am ...

An existing or a potential

employment agency operator or staff



I am ...

Looking for a licensed

employment agency



I am ...

A foreign domestic helper