Community service for agency staffer who overcharged, asked FDW to work for her

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Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts

A recruitment agency employee was sentenced to 140 hours of community service after overcharging a Kenyan domestic worker and asking her to work in their home.

A statement issued on the government website on Monday said the staffer was also fined HK$8,000 on Monday at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts.

The Labour Department also told Hong Kong News that the court ordered the female agency staffer to refund the placement fee of HK$4,779.49 to the helper.

The Immigration Department and Labour Department were addressing a complaint in 2019 about an employment agency staffer asking an FDW to work at her residence for two weeks while waiting to join the new employer.

After investigation, both departments initiated prosecution against the female staffer. She was then convicted and sentenced on Monday following a trial.

A government spokesperson reminded that FDWs are only allowed to perform domestic duties in the contract as approved by the Director of Immigration. Offenders, as well those who aid and abet FDWs, may be penalised with a fine as high as HK$50,000 and imprisonment for two years upon conviction.

Employment agencies are also not allowed to collect from job seekers any fees or charges other than a commission not exceeding 10% of the job seeker’s first-month salary after placement, the spokesperson also reminded.

“Besides, the EAs should operate in full compliance with the law and the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies at all times. Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and/or revocation of licence,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Those who are found overcharging job seekers may be fined as high as HK$350,000 and may be imprisoned for as long as three years.

This story was updated to include statements from the Labour Department.