“Agents of Change?” exposes how employment agencies in Hong Kong are failing to comply with the Hong Kong government’s Code of Practice for Employment Agencies leaving migrant domestic workers at risk of abuse and exploitation. The research was conducted by the Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU).

As of April 2018, there were nearly 380,000 migrant domestic workers officially employed in Hong Kong, accounting for 9% of Hong Kong’s total working population. Filipinos and Indonesians make up the vast majority of the migrnat domestic worker population in Hong Kong – in 2016 they totaled 186,282 and 151, 754 respectively.

In January 2017, the Labour Department Introduced the new Code of Practice (COP) which underlines the existing statutory requirements, which employment agencies in Hong Kong must comply with (e.g. under the Employment Ordinance, Employment Agency Regulations, Immigration Ordinance and Personal Data Ordinance). The COP also sets the minimum standards which employment agencies need to meet in relation to the following key areas:

  • Fees that might be charged by employment agencies
  • Adopting fair trade practices
  • Observing immigration laws
  • Not to aid or abet employers to breach the Employment Ordinance on payment of wages
  • Personal documents and property of job-seekers
  • Acting honestly and exercising due diligence
  • Maintaining transparency in business operations
  • Drawing up service agreements with job seekers and with employers
  • Provision of payment receipts
  • Promoting job seekers and employers awareness of their rights and obligations
  • Avoiding involvement in financial affairs of job seekers
  • Job seekers passports or personal identification documents
  • If fully implemented, the COP would help reduce the human and labour rights violations against domestic workers.

The research was undertaken to examine whether employment agencies in Hong Kong are complying with the standards set out in Hong Kong COP and whether the COP has contributed to improved protection of migrant domestic workers rights.

Please click the link below to download the report.

Agents of Change? Assessing Hong Kong employment agencies’ compliance with the Code of Practice


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