Date
22 January 2017
Matthew Cheung (left) said the government will look into temporary housing only if a complaint is filed. Helpers protest after a cement slab (inset) fatally injured a maid. Photos: HKEJ, HK Helpers Campaign
Matthew Cheung (left) said the government will look into temporary housing only if a complaint is filed. Helpers protest after a cement slab (inset) fatally injured a maid. Photos: HKEJ, HK Helpers Campaign

No info about boarding houses for foreign maids: Govt

The Hong Kong government does not have information about the boarding houses or bedspaces for foreign domestic helpers provided by employment agencies, the Legislative Council was told Wednesday.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, was replying in a statement to written questions from Labor Party chairman and lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan.

Lee had asked the government whether it had conducted an investigation following the death of an Indonesian domestic helper after a concrete slab fell from a height onto her lower body on March 11.

Elis Kurniasih, 33, who was awaiting a new employment visa, was sleeping at the time under a canvas canopy on the podium outside a temporary dormitory provided by her employment agency.

The Employment Ordinance and Employment Agency Regulations do not provide for the regulation of the boarding houses or other facilities operated by the licensee, Cheung said in his written statement.

“There is no requirement under the prevailing laws for the employment agencies to provide boarding houses to job seekers, including foreign domestic helpers,” he said.

Lee had asked whether the government monitored the provision of temporary hostels for foreign domestic helpers by intermediaries.

Cheung replied that the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA) under the Home Affairs Department, which oversees the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance (HAGAO) and Bedspace Apartments Ordinance (BAO), will investigate when it receives any complaints or reports.

However, the OLA had not received any related complaint or report, he said.

“Whether individual premises fall within the ambit of HAGAO or BAO depends on the mode of operation and the actual circumstances of each case and cannot be generalized,” Cheung said.

[See the written Q&As]

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