MANILA (Mabuhay) – Filipinos in Hong Kong may have to be wary of so-called employment traps and carefully choose their employment agencies.
The advice came from the Philippine consulate general there, which cited tips from Hong Kong’s Labor Department.
“Only solicit the placement service of employment agencies licensed by the Labor Department. Check online for the list of employment agencies holding a valid license: http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/eaee/ea_list.pdf, or you can call 2852-3535 during office hours for inquiry,” it said.
Filipinos visiting an employment agency were also advised to look for a valid license displayed. This is required by Hong Kong law.
“Do NOT make any payment if the employment agency looks suspicious, or you are asked to conduct an interview outside the place of business of the employment agency,” it said.
Filipinos who suspect something is wrong can report to the Labor Department through its 24-hour hotline 2-71-71-771.
Also, Filipinos were advised to check if a job vacancy offered by employment agencies is genuine.
If needed, they can consult the Consulate General of the destination country for the visa requirements.
Another piece of advice was for Filipinos to request a receipt for any payment made to an employment agency.
“It is better if you deposit the payment directly at employment agency’s bank account so that you can have the payment record. Do NOT deposit the money into the personal account of, or pay by cash directly to, the staff of your employment agency, particularly if they refuse to provide you a receipt,” it said.
They were also advised not to sign any documents “which you do not fully understand or agree.”
Citing the Hong Kong Labor Department’s information, the Philippine consulate general said Hong Kong employment agencies cannot charge more than 10 percent of one’s first month’s salary as commission.
“It is illegal for an employment agency to receive from you, in connection with obtaining employment for you, no matter for a job located in Hong Kong or overseas, any reward or payment in respect of expenses or otherwise, except the prescribed commission,” it said.
Also, it advised Filipinos not to pay employment agencies by borrowing money from any loan company, even upon request of the employment agency.
Filipinos may report irregularities to the Labor Department through its 24-hour hotline 2-71-71-771 soonest.
But Hong Kong also said prosecution has to be taken out within the statutory bar time of six months. “Report your case to the authorities immediately to avoid delay,” Filipinos were advised. (MNS)