It is not a requirement by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government that employers must recruit FDHs through, or FDHs to obtain employment from, employment agencies (EAs). Yet, it is a very common channel through which Hong Kong people employ FDHs.
Respective home country of FDH may also have such requirement and they vary across countries. FDHs and employers are encouraged to read the information in this section when using the service of EAs.
Under the laws of Hong Kong, all EAs are required to apply for licenses from the Employment Agencies Administration (EAA) before undertaking any job placement business.
Before using the service of an EA, employers should check if it holds a valid licence first. You can use the search engine provided in this website for identifying EA(s) with valid licence in Hong Kong. Please contact EAA if you have any queries.
If you suspect an EA is operating without a valid licence, please report to EAA. Any person who operates an EA without a licence or certificate of exemption issued by the Commissioner for Labour shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum penalty of $350,000 and imprisonment for 3 years.
Apart from making sure the EA has a valid licence, you are also encouraged to check the reputation of the EA, from websites, discussion groups, or word of mouth of your friends and relatives.
To protect your interests, you are advised to clarify and agree with EA the details of the service, including the coverage, itemized fees, date of reporting duty of the FDH, refund or exchange policy etc, before making any payment. Ask for a receipt after payment. The agreed terms should be written down in a service agreement signed by both parties. Should the EA failed to honour any of the agreed terms, or it is suspected of contravening the Trade Description Ordinance, you should seek assistance from the Consumer Council or the Customs and Excise Department.
According to the law, EAs cannot charge you any fees or expenses, be it directly or indirectly, in relation to the job-placement other than the prescribed commission (which is currently set at 10% of your first-month salary after successful placement). To protect yourselves, you should obtain a receipt from the EAs after you have paid the commission. Any job-seeker who is suspected of being overcharged by an EA should report to EAA as soon as possible.
Before engaging an EA, employers and job-seekers are encouraged to refer to the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies to understand their rights and obligations.
Upon receipt of complaint against an EA which is suspected of contravening the Employment Ordinance and/or the Employment Agency Regulations, EAA will follow-up immediately. It may approach the complainant for an interview to obtain more details during the investigation process; or when it is decided that prosecution will be instituted against an EA for its suspected breach of law, EAA may invite the complainant to act as prosecution witness as and when necessary.