Recruitment agency found guilty of overcharging domestic helpers

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A recruitment agency which has been previously suspended in 2016 has been found guilty of demanding excessive fees from domestic helpers.

The Eastern Magistrates’ Courts convicted a licensee of the Fernandez Employment Service agency as well as one of its associates on Dec.16 for overcharging two foreign domestic helpers.

Located at Northpoint, Fernandez Employment Service has been recruiting male and female domestic helpers from the Philippines since 1993.

The said agency asked for an additional payment of $6,659 from one of the domestic helpers as part of the placement fee.

The court ruled, however that the payment went beyond the amount allowed under the law, which is a commission of not more than 10 percent of the first month’s salary of the domestic helper.

In Hong Kong, a foreign domestic helper is entitled to a minimum allowable wage of $4,630 per month.

The licensee and his associate were fined $24,000 and were asked to return the $6,659 payment to the domestic helper.

The two domestic helpers filed a case against the recruitment firm at the Employment Agencies Administration (EEA) of the Labour Department in May.  The department found reasonable grounds to pursue a case against the company for excessive commission.

Under the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance of 2018, recruiters found to be charging domestic helpers with exorbitant fees could be fined $350,000 at most and could also be imprisoned for three years.

For domestic helpers which have been asked to pay more than the allowable fees, you can call the EEA at 2115 3667 or file a complaint at their office at Unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon.