4th HK recruitment agency fined for overcharging
HONG KONG – The licensee of an employment agency at the center of at least 5 illegal recruitment complaints referred by the Philippine consulate to the Hong Kong Labor Department earlier this year has been fined for overcharging a foreign domestic helper.
The advisory posted on the Government Information Service website on July 9 said Joyce Agency's license has also been revoked but did not indicate when this happened.
Joyce's registered owner, Fe Cheung, was reportedly fined HK$8,000 (US$1,032) in Tsuen Wan magistracy and ordered to pay through the court the excessive fee she collected from the worker.
Joyce was the fourth recruitment agency to be prosecuted by the HK Labor Department this year for overcharging.
Just 3 days earlier, Vicks Maid Consultant Company was also found guilty of overcharging job applicants, and ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 (US$1,290) at Eastern Court.
On top of this, the company was fined $4,000 (US$516) for operating a recruitment agency without a license. It was found that the agency did not display its license when it moved to Shatin from its former address in Causeway Bay.
Earlier this year, Bagus Employment Agency in Central and Satisfactory Employment & Travel Centre Limited in Tai Wai were also found guilty of charging jobseekers far higher fees than the legal rate of 10% of the worker's first monthly salary.
At least 3 of the agencies Joyce, Vicks Maid and Satisfactory have been linked by migrant support organizations to numerous complaints of overcharging foreign domestic workers,
Satisfactory, which was the subject of complaints from about two dozen Filipino migrant workers who claimed to have been forced to pay $21,000 ($2,709) in fees payable in the first 7 months of their employment, has also shut down.
It was meted a relatively light penalty of $8,400 ($1,083) in Shatin Magistracy on March 8 for overcharging 4 workers.
This came after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, acting on a complaint endorsed by the consulate, cancelled the license of Satisfactory's counterpart agency in Manila, Findstaff Placement Services Inc.
In February, the consulate, through Consul Charles Macaspac, also referred 5 illegal recruitment complaints against Joyce Agency to the HK Labor Department.
Several Filipino workers sought the consulate's help after finding out that the agency's shop in Lik Sang Plaza in Tsuen Wan had closed and its owner, Cheung, could not be located. It later turned out that the agency had moved to Kwai Chung.
Most of the complainants against Joyce agency said they were made to pay $20,000 (US$2,580) in fees for jobs in Canada which turned out to be non-existent.
Vicks Maid, on the other hand, was reportedly the subject of at least 35 complaints filed with the Mission for Migrant Workers, a church-based support organization
A Mission staff said some of the claimants were offered a refund of $10,000 ($1,290) each so they wouldn't pursue their complaints.
The cases have all reportedly been referred to the police and investigations are ongoing. – Rappler.com
This story is republished with permission from The Sun-HK, a content partner of Rappler. Minor style edits were made on the original story.