Employment agency convicted of unlicensed operation

     The Labour Department (LD) has reminded persons who wish to operate employment agencies (EAs) to be properly licensed before operation or they may face prosecution.
     The reminder came after a person was convicted and fined $5,000 for operating an EA (under the business name Enoch Employment Agency in Wan Chai) without a valid licence at Eastern Magistrates' Courts today (March 10).
     In June 2016, the Employment Agencies Administration (EAA) of the LD received a complaint against the person concerned from an employer seeking to engage a foreign domestic helper. With the complainant agreeing to assist in the investigation, which revealed sufficient evidence that the operator had operated an EA without a licence, the LD then took out prosecution against the operator.
     According to the law, any establishment or person operating a business in Hong Kong for the purpose of obtaining employment for another person or supplying personnel to an employer is subject to the regulation of Part XII of the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the Employment Agency Regulations. Irrespective of the modus operandi or the job types involved, all EAs must obtain a licence issued by the LD before undertaking any EA activities.

     This is the second conviction under Part XII of the EO relating to unlicensed operation this year, and is also the second conviction against the same person for operating an EA without a licence. In addition to Enoch Employment Agency, another EA named Gracefield Employment Service Limited (located in Tsim Sha Tsui) was also convicted of unlicensed operation of an EA earlier this year. In 2016, eight EAs were convicted of overcharging job seekers or unlicensed operation, namely Marks Domestic Helper Agency Limited (located in Tsuen Wan), Ka Ying Employment Agency (located in Cheung Sha Wan), Enoch Employment Agency (located in Wan Chai), Gold Union Employment Agency (located in Fanling), Jen's Employment Agency Limited (located in Tsuen Wan) (convicted twice), Ursula Advanced Employment Center (located in Causeway Bay), Tamas Employment Agency (located in Tai Wai) and a person operating an EA without a licence in Fanling.

     The LD reminds EAs to operate in full compliance with the law at all times. Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and possible revocation of licences.

     EAs are also reminded to comply with the Code of Practice for EAs, which was promulgated on January 13. The Code sets out the salient legislative requirements which EA operators must observe in their businesses, as well as the minimum standards which the Commissioner for Labour expects of EA licensees. The EAA will conduct regular and surprise inspections at EAs and issue warning letters on EAs' contraventions of the Code for rectification of irregularities detected. The commissioner may exercise his power under section 53(1)(c)(v) of the EO, if satisfied that the licensee concerned is not a fit and proper person to operate an EA, to refuse to issue or to renew, or even to revoke, an EA's licence.

     For enquiries or complaints about unlicensed operation, on overcharging job seekers' commission by EAs or concerning the Code, please call the EAA of the LD at 2115 3667, or visit its office at unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon.

Ends/Friday, March 10, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:06