A 28-year-old director and salesperson of a domestic helper agency was arrested on Thursday for malpractices in relation to his firm’s work.
The action by Customs officials came after investigations suggested that the agency may have used a forged document in an application to bring in a foreign maid into Hong Kong, as well as allowing such workers to work “part-time” and on a “trial basis” for families in need, hk01.com reports.
Under the Immigration Ordinance and Labour Legislation, a foreign domestic helper should only perform domestic duties for the employer specified in the contract and should not take up any other employment, including part-time domestic duties, with any other person.
Any breach of the contract will render the helper and the abettor liable to criminal prosecution.
According to the Customs and Excise Department, it received a complaint earlier that an agency had made false a claim regarding the progress of an application for a foreign maid.
An official said the agency allegedly charged a family that signed a contract to hire a maid several thousand dollars before delaying the progress of application for a foreign worker.
The family later lodged a complainant, saying the agency has not been truthful.
In another case, the agency introduced a total of four maids for a couple in just two years. But all the four workers did not last long, as they were found to have bad attitude and also came with other problems.
One of the maids, a Filipino, even allegedly used cloth that was meant for toilet purposes to clean bowls, hoping the couple will terminate her contract as early as possible so that she can return to her home country.
As they were forced to change maids frequently, it not only caused a lot of trouble for the couple but also cost them tens of thousands of dollars on agency fees, payment in lieu of notice and the maids’ return flight tickets.
In the same case, the agency was found to have acted against the law by dispatching “part-time” maids to help the couple in urgent need.
Cheung Kit-man, chairman of the Hong Kong Employment Agencies Association, warned it is against the law for employment agencies to introduce part-time and on-trial maids to customers, adding that such maids and their employers also violate the law.
While urging the employment agencies to have professional ethics, Cheung also called on families hiring maids to have a good understanding of related regulations so as to avoid getting into legal troubles.
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