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3 DHs among 10 arrested by Immigration for illegal work

14 June 2022

 

Some of the suspected illegal workers arrested during the operation.

Three foreign domestic helpers– who are prohibited from working outside the homes of their employers -- and one former FDH who has overstayed her visa, were among 10 people arrested today for illegal work in raids conducted by the Immigration Department.

Arrested with them for working illegally were three persons who were holders of recognizance forms, which prohibit them from taking up employment in Hong Kong.

Another two women and one man, aged 23 to 69, were also arrested for employing these workers for various jobs, including dishwashing and food processing.

Immigration said the arrested were made during a territory-wide anti-illegal worker operation codenamed "Swordfish.

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It said investigators raided over 10 target locations including restaurants, retail shops, employment agencies, industrial buildings and financial companies

In a statement, Immigration emphasized that an FDH should only perform domestic duties for the employer specified in their contract. An FDH should not take up any other employment, including part-time domestic duties, with any other person. The employer should not require or allow the FDH to carry out any work for any other person.

Immigration said, "Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him or her shall be guilty of an offence. Also, visitors are not allowed to take employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years' imprisonment. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties."

 It also warned: "As stipulated in section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance, an illegal immigrant, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order, an overstayer or a person who was refused permission to land is prohibited from taking any employment, whether paid or unpaid, or establishing or joining in any business. Offenders are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment."

Immigration said it is a serious offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable.

“Under the Immigration Ordinance, the maximum penalty for an employer employing a person who is not lawfully employable, i.e. an illegal immigrant, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order, an overstayer or a person who was refused permission to land, has been significantly increased from a fine of $350,000 and three years' imprisonment to a fine of $500,000 and 10 years' imprisonment to reflect the gravity of such offences. The director, manager, secretary, partner, etc, of the company concerned may also bear criminal liability.”

It said employers must take all steps to determine whether a person is lawfully employable. Apart from inspecting a prospective employee's identity card, the employer must make enquiries to remove any doubt that the person can be legally employed.

“The court will not accept failure to do so as a defense in proceedings,” Immigration said. “It is also an offense if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker's valid travel document if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card.”

According to the High Court sentencing guidelines, offenders are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of $150,000 and to imprisonment for one year.

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