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Consultation launched on review of Code of Practice for Employment Agencies
     The Labour Department (LD) today (March 21) launched a public consultation on the review of the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies (CoP). The consultation period will end on May 15.
     The LD promulgated the CoP in 2017 by administrative measures to regulate employment agencies (EAs) with a view to promoting the professionalism and service quality of the industry. The CoP highlights the salient legislative requirements that EA operators must follow and sets out the minimum standards which the Commissioner for Labour expects from EAs. The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 provides a legal basis for the CoP. In tandem, the LD issued the prevailing CoP pursuant to section 62A(1) of the Employment Ordinance.
     A spokesman for the LD said, "The CoP has largely been operating smoothly since its promulgation. After reviewing the implementation of the CoP, the LD puts forth preliminary proposals with a view to further improving the relevant requirements. The major proposals include, among others, requiring EAs to set out in the service agreement the amount of fees charged for each category of services to enhance transparency and protect consumers; explaining clearly to foreign domestic helper (FDH) job seekers that under the prevailing policy, an application for change of an employer in Hong Kong within the two-year contract period will normally not be approved save for the exceptional circumstances, such that FDHs would understand the consequence of 'job hopping'; and EAs should not provide monetary incentives to FDHs in employment to induce the latter to terminate their contracts prematurely.
     "We also propose that when submitting applications for licences, EAs should provide information on whether they have association with and are sharing the same premises with any financial institutions, so as to prevent EAs from colluding with financial institutions to arrange FDHs to take out loans. In addition, in light of the recommendations made by the Office of The Ombudsman, we propose to require EAs to provide basic information on boarding facilities for their FDH job seekers. EAs are required to confirm compliance with relevant legislation and regulations. The LD will revise the CoP after consulting the views of stakeholders."
     The consultation paper is available on the EA Portal at www.eaa.labour.gov.hk. Members of the public may send in their views on the proposals by email (eaa-consultation@labour.gov.hk), by facsimile (2115 3756) or by post (Employment Agencies Administration of Labour Department, Unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon) on or before May 15, 2023. For more information, please visit the EA Portal or call the Employment Agencies Administration's hotline at 2115 3665.
Ends/Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:00
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