Employment agency convicted of overcharging foreign domestic helper
A licensee of an employment agency (EA) was convicted and fined $10,000 at the Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today (January 5) for overcharging a foreign domestic helper (FDH). The Court also ordered the EA to refund the excessive placement fee of $12,000 to the FDH concerned.
In June 2017, the Employment Agencies Administration (EAA) of the Labour Department (LD) received a complaint from a FDH against Quality Consultants Agency (located in Tsim Sha Tsui) for charging her an excessive amount of commission for assisting her to look for a job-placement overseas. With the FDH concerned agreed to assist in the investigation and investigation had revealed sufficient evidence, LD decided to take out prosecution against the agency.
According to the law, EAs are not allowed to collect from job-seekers any fees or charges other than the prescribed commission, which is set at no more than 10 per cent of the latter's first month's salary upon successful placement.
Quality Consultants Agency is the first EA being convicted of overcharging this year. In 2017, two EAs were convicted of overcharging job seekers, namely Java Maid Recruitment Service (located in Causeway Bay) and Chun Hing Agency (located in Sham Shui Po). Three other EAs respectively named Gracefield Employment Service Limited (located in Tsim Sha Tsui), Enoch Employment Agency (located in Wan Chai), Blessings Employment Agency (located in Mong Kok) as well as a person (in Mong Kok) were convicted of unlicensed operation of an employment agency, whereas Ching Ling Employment Agency (located at North Point) was convicted of operating and managing an EA at a place other than the place of business specified in its EA licence in the same year.
The LD reminds EAs to operate in full compliance with the law, as well as the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies at all times. Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and possible revocation of licences.
Noting that the case involves EA referring FDH to work in other places, the LD also reminds FDHs to be careful when choosing EAs and beware of employment traps. To raise awareness of FDHs on the matter, LD has prepared a leaflet about issues they need to pay attention to when using EAs services, which is available at the dedicated portals on employment agencies (www.eaa.labour.gov.hk) and employment of FDHs (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk). LD will also continue to collaborate with relevant Consulates-General on the publicity and educational efforts to raise FDHs’ awareness of their rights and channels for seeking assistance.
For enquiries or complaints about unlicensed operation, on overcharging job-seekers' commission by EAs or concerning the Code, 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.