Hong Kong recently amended part 12 of the Employment Ordinance (Cap 57) dealing with Employment Agencies and the Employment Agency Regulations (Cap 57A) to provide job-seekers with greater protection. The amendment came into force on 9 February 2018.
The main changes are as follows:
a) To increase the maximum penalty for unlicensed operation of an employment agency and overcharging commission to job-seekers from a fine of HK$50,000 to HK$350,000 and to imprisonment for three years;
b) To increase the time limit for lodging a complaint in respect of the two offences stated above in (a) to 12 months;
c) To broaden the scope of the offence of overcharging job-seekers to include not only the licensee, but also the recruitment agency’s associates (which includes director, manager, secretary and employee of a licensee); and
d) To provide new grounds for the Commissioner for Labour to refuse to issue/renew or revoke a licence, including non-compliance of the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies.