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Employment agency stripped of license

02 March 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

An employment agency in Tsuen Wan was divested of its license by the Labour Department on Feb 21 following two separate convictions last year for overcharging three Filipina domestic helper applicants.

A Labour spokesman identified the agency as Jen’s Employment Agency Limited, which has been recruiting Filipino helpers both in Manila and Hong Kong for deployment here.

On Sept 1, Jen’s was convicted and fined $24,000 by Tsuen Wan Court for charging a Filipina job applicant nearly 30 times the allowable commission of $411 at the time.

Then on Nov 24, Jen’s was again found guilty by the same court of overcharging two other helpers.
The agency was also fined $26,000.

After the second conviction, the Labour Department said it was in the process of revoking the agency’s license.

The two helpers filed overcharging complaints against Jen’s  in May with the Labour Department’s Employment Agencies Administration.

They said Jen’s charged them excessive placement fees with employers in Hong Kong. Investigators found sufficient evidence against the agency and filed the charges.

Despite the convictions, Jen’s apparently continued to recruit domestic workers in Manila.

On Dec 31 last year, it announced on its Facebook page that its next job interviews in Manila would be held in Ermita on Jan 13.

The Labour spokesman warned agency operators to comply with the law or they would face prosecution and risk having their licenses revoked or not renewed.

“Under the Employment Ordinance, the Commissioner for Labour may refuse to issue or renew or may revoke a license of an EA if the person operating or intending to operate (it) has contravened any provision of Part XII of the Ordinance such as overcharging job-seekers, or if he is considered not a fit and proper person to operate an EA,” he said.

Labour also reminded agencies to comply with the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies, which was promulgated on Jan 13.

The code sets out the salient legislative requirements that agency operators must observe, as well as the minimum standards that the commissioner expected of licensees.

The EAA will conduct regular and surprise inspections of agencies and issue warning letters to those found violating the Code.

The commissioner may exercise his power under the Employment Ordinance to refuse to issue or to renew, or even to revoke an agency’s license if he is satisfied that the licensee concerned is not a fit and proper person to operate an agency.

Enquiries or complaints about unlicensed operation, overcharging job-seekers’ commission by agencies or concerning the Code may be relayed to the EAA at telephone number 2115 3667. You may also visit its office at unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon.

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