At present, employment agencies (“EAs”) in Hong Kong, including those placing foreign domestic helpers, are regulated under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) (“EO”) and the Employment Agency Regulations (Cap. 57A) (“EAR”). Under the existing regulatory regime, any person who wishes to operate an EA in Hong Kong is required to obtain a Licence or a Certificate of Exemption from the Commissioner for Labour or otherwise he/she may be held liable for an offence.
In view of public expectations and concerns, especially those from employers and job-seekers (in particular those from foreign domestic helpers), on services of EAs the Labour Department published a Draft Code of Practice for Employment Agencies (the “Code”) for public consultation in April 2016. The Code consists of two major parts, namely statutory requirements in relation to operating an EA and minimum standards which the Commissioner for Labour expects from EAs.
The Law Society has prepared a written submission providing comments on the Code. The Law Society welcomes the introduction of the Code in Hong Kong and considers that the Administration should review the Code on a regular basis and embark on legislative amendments to the EO and/or EAR to further tighten regulation of EAs in a more stringent way, when necessary.
The Law Society’s submissions can be found at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/news/submissions/20160620.pdf.