By Ellie Ng | Hong Kong Free Press
19 January 2017
The Hong Kong government has made plans to strengthen the regulatory regime for employment agencies, which may better protect the labour rights of the city’s migrant domestic workers.
In his final Policy Address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Wednesday that the Labour Department plans to introduce an amendment bill this year to complement a newly promulgated code of practice for employment agencies. If passed, the amendment will provide the legal basis for enforcing the code, which is legally non-binding.
The code was promulgated in response to public concerns, especially those from job seekers and “with particular regard to the situation of foreign domestic helpers,” the department wrote in the draft code released last April.
On Wednesday, Leung specifically mentioned Hong Kong’s large population of foreign domestic workers in his announcement. Many domestic workers rely on employment agencies to find jobs in the city.
The department also plans to impose heavier penalties on employment agencies that overcharge jobseekers or operate without a licence, Leung said.