Code of Practice for Employment Agencies in Hong Kong Introduced

January 16, 20178:33 am2539 views

Labour Department Hong Kong, announced Code of Practice (CoP) for the Employment Agencies (EAs) in the region to enact professionalism standards and increase quality of service for the industry.

The CoP highlights salient legislative requirements, notably those under the Employment Ordinance (EO) (Cap. 57), the Employment Agency Regulations (Cap. 57A), the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) and the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486), that EA operators must follow.

It also set out to introduce the minimum standards which the Commissioner for Labour expects of EA licensees, some of which are particularly relevant to EAs engaging in the placement of foreign domestic helpers. These include, maintaining transparency in business operations, drawing up service agreements with job seekers and with employers, provision of payment receipts and avoiding involvement in financial affairs of job seekers.

According to a spokesman for the labour department, “The Employment Agencies Administration will closely monitor EAs’ compliance with the CoP and will conduct regular inspections of EAs. It may issue warning letters to EAs for rectification of irregularities detected, including but not limited to failing to meet the statutory requirements and/or standards set out in the CoP.”

Furthermore, EA operators are expected as a mandate to comply with the standards set out in the CoP, which is one of the most important factors that the Commissioner will take into account, especially when assessing if the licensee is a fit and proper person to operate an EA under section 53(1)(c)(v) of the EO.

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Employment Agencies can download the CoP here. You can alternatively collect hard copies of the CoP at the labour department and the Home Affairs Enquiry Centres in the Department of Home Affairs from January 17.

Labour department Hong Kong also launched a dedicated employment agencies portal last week. This would act as a one-stop platform to assist the public, including employers and job seekers, to gain access to relevant information regarding regulation of EAs in Hong Kong.

This portal has a user-friendly search function that allows the public to check if an EA has a valid licence or not. They can also search for EAs using different criteria such as district and placement type.

The spokesman later added, “Before engaging an EA or making any payment to the EAs, employers and job seekers are encouraged to understand their rights and obligations. Operators or staff of EA should also refer to the corresponding parts of the portal for salient legislative requirements that they must follow, as well as the various procedures in relation to making licence applications. The labour department will update the website from time to time to provide the public with the latest information related to EAs.”

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