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HK and PHL recruiters join forces to fend off problems

23 June 2016

Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre joins AHKMA chairwoman Teresa Liu Tsui Lam.and SHARP president Alfredo Palmeiry  in the launching ceremonies.

By Vir B. Lumicao

A group of Hong Kong employment agencies licensed and its counterpart in the Philippines have agreed to work together to address problems confronting the local market for domestic workers.
The two groups – the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies Ltd. and the Manila-based Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines – signed a memorandum of understanding in a ceremony on May 25 attended by Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre.
AHKMA chairwoman Teresa Liu Tsui Lam and SHARP president Alfredo Palmeiry signed the document for their respective groups.
The two sides also resolved to formulate and implement joint plans and programs that foster harmonious relationships between their members and enhance the protection and welfare of the workers.
The agreement came in the wake of the Hong Kong government’s release of a draft Code of Conduct for employment agencies which tightens regulations, and identifies for the first time existing laws that could be used to crack down on erring recruiters.
De la Torre said that under the MOU, members of the Hong Kong group would be trained by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office on ethical recruitment practices while the SHARP agencies would be trained by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
There are 60 AHKMA members, while SHARP has 53 or 54, the labor attaché said.
“They are engaging Marie Apostol, the most widely recognized expert on ethical recruitment,” De la Torre said.
The agencies would establish during the training how to define ethical recruitment and how willing they are to open their books to inspection by a third-party auditor. “If they pass, we will give them a seal of approval,” De la Torre said.
Under the 10-point agreement, the two groups will regularly update each other on the market situation in Hong Kong and on new government policies toward FDHs “to ensure expectations are met and minimize disputes among agencies”.
They will also set up standards on the selection of employers and helpers to minimize problems that usually lead to terminations and resignations, and upgrade training for the workers.
Both agency groups will formulate a Code of Ethics and Discipline for their members to ensure they comply fully with existing rules and regulations, avoid cut-throat competition and promote ethical practices and standards.

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