Hong Kong has recruited migrant workers to be domestic helpers for over three decades and they are known as Foreign Domestic Helpers.
These migrant workers do not have their own residence and are required by law to live with their employers; however, as they are legally allowed to stay in Hong Kong for 14 days after the termination of employment contract, they are left homeless once the employment contract terminates.
Furthermore, circumstances such as wrongful dismissal and abused by employers generally leave the foreign domestic helpers in very delicate situations where they have no shelter and no guarantee of safety. Hence the agencies recruiting foreign domestic helpers generally take the responsibility upon themselves to take care of and to provide shelter for the workers.
The mission of the Association of Hong Kong Agencies for Migrant Workers is to lobby for the redefinition of “Employment Agency” in the Hong Kong legislation so as to create a separate category in the Employment Ordinance for employment agency specialising in the recruitment of migrant domestic workers, and to unite migrant worker agencies to strive for integrity, fairness and professionalism.
There are 2365 Employment Agencies which comprises of 1,000 agencies that provide services specifically for foreign domestic helpers.
It has been suggested that Employment Agency can be renamed as Recruitment Agency as the term is more in alignment with the business nature. Recruitment Agency handles the recruitment process for employers seeking employees. All existing employment agencies will need to acquire the Recruitment Agency license.
For Recruitment Agency specialising in foreign domestic helpers, an additional Placement Agency license will be required. This can accurately reflect the nature of the business for Migrant workers agency as it is the agency's business to find employers for the workers and to take care of those workers whilst they are in Hong Kong.
Placement Agency should take care of the workers in Hong Kong, particulars when their contract with the employers have been terminated.