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Labour chief allays concern over alleged abuses of imported caregivers

08 June 2023


RCHs are inspected regularly to ensure the rights of imported carers are protected, says Sun
(Caritas photo)

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun has sought to allay fears that imported care workers are being taken advantage of by the residential care homes that hired them.

Legislator Luk Chung-hung raised concerns about the working conditions of the non-local care workers during a question-and-answer question at the Legislative Council yesterday, Wednesday.

Specifically, Luk asked whether the workers who were brought in from the Mainland under the Supplementary Labour Scheme are being made to sign dual contracts so part of their salary is deducted illegally each month, that they are not paid the legal rate for overtime work, that they are not given housing allowance, and that they are given work outside of their scope of  duties, including working as substitute staff on rest days.


The questions are seen to have far-reaching implications, especially as Hong Kong is poised to hire 3,000 more caregivers from overseas, to supplement the nearly 4,000 workers hired from the Mainland that are already in the city.

In his reply, Sun said the government attaches great importance to protecting the rights of imported workers, including those hired under the SLS.

“Imported workers enjoy the same protection as local workers under Hong Kong's labour laws, including the protection on payment of wages and restrictions on deduction of wages under the Employment Ordinance (EO),” said Sun in his reply.


“In addition, imported workers and employers must sign a Standard Employment Contract (SEC) prescribed under the SLS to further protect the employment rights and benefits of imported workers.”

The SEC requires employers to pay wages to each imported worker by auto-pay and get them to attend briefings by the LD so they will fully understand their employment rights and benefits, as well as the channels for seeking redress and making complaints.

Sun said labour officers carry out regular inspections of workplaces and accommodations provided by employers, and have issued written warnings each year to violators. In 2020, 35 such warnings were issued, 48 in 2021 and 50 last year.


Six employers were meted administrative sanctions, including one employer of a care home for the elderly, after being convicted of violating the Immigration Ordinance, Employees’ Compensation Ordinance or the Employment Ordinance.

The sanctions included the withdrawal of valid approvals for the offending employers to import workers, and banning them from participating in the SLS for two years.

During the inspections, some of the imported workers were interviewed directly to check whether there was any violation of their employment rights, and encouraged them to express their views or lodge complaints if they had been treated wrongly.


The inspectors also provided the imported workers with information cards listing down their employment rights, along with the hotlines of the LD, the Immigration Department, the HK Police and the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, which they can call as needed.

Sun also disclosed that a total of 1,601 care workers were imported under the SLS in 2020, 1,699 in 2021, and 3,721 last year, amid a surge in demand because of the pandemic.

“ The LD will continue to adopt a multi-pronged strategy, including inspections, law enforcement, administrative sanction, education and promotion, to protect the rights and benefits of imported workers,” said Sun.

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