Finding a job is a two-way street. While there is a lot of talent in the market, matching the candidate to the job profile is no easy feat.
That’s where a recruitment agency steps in and performs the crucial role of finding the ideal candidate from the talent pool to meet the client’s requirements.
According to the Employment Ordinance, which governs various employment conditions in Hong Kong, a recruitment agency refers to “an establishment or person who aims to obtain employment for another person, or supply personnel to an employer.”
In other words, a recruitment agency acts as the intermediary to source suitable candidates.
Recruitment agencies are an integral part of Hong Kong’s economy.
As of May 2020, there are 3,148 licensed employment agencies that are registered with the Labour Department in Hong Kong.
If you are keen on setting up one, here’s a handy guide addressing all your queries:
Unless your business pertains to any of the exempted categories, you need a license for operating a recruitment agency in Hong Kong.
Exempted categories need to apply to the Labour Department to obtain a Certificate of Exemption.
The following recruitment agencies are exempted:
Starting a recruitment agency without obtaining a license from the authorities is a punishable offense.
It can attract a penalty of HKD 350,000 and imprisonment for three years.
Prior to sending any license application for processing, you need to incorporate and register a Hong Kong Company.
A person should be appointed as the nominee of the company, designated as the nominated operator.
Such a person is responsible for the routine operations and management of the agency.
In case the recruitment agency assists overseas domestic workers to find opportunities in Hong Kong, they must comply with the relevant regulations for the same.
Such a person should either be a citizen of Hong Kong or a Permanent Resident or hold an employment visa.
The person can be the director or an officer of the recruitment company.
Additionally, the nominee should not have been declared bankrupt or charged with any offense in the last five years when the license application is made.
The first step involves submitting a name for the recruitment agency for approval by the Labour Department.
In case the name infringes on a trademark, or sounds similar or identical to the name of an existing recruitment agency, or is offensive to the public interest, the department can reject the application.
Once the Labour Department approves the name, the following documents must be submitted:
The director or the nominated operator must submit these documents.
Typically, there’s a short in-person interview after the documents are submitted.
Usually, you can expect to hear from the Labour Department within 3-4 weeks from submitting all the documents.
To receive the license, you also need to pay a license fee which is currently HKD 2000.
The validity of the Employment Agency License in Hong Kong is 12 months.
That’s why you need to start the recruitment agency within that period.
It must be displayed prominently on the office premises at all times.
Failure to do that is an offense and attracts a maximum penalty of HKD 10,000.
To renew the license for your recruitment agency, submit the renewal application at least two months prior to the expiry date of the license.
The renewal fee of HKD 2000 and the following documents must be submitted to the Labour Department:
The best way is to file an appeal with the Administrative Appeal Board of the Labour Department.
However, you must file the appeal within 28 days of receiving the rejection.
The Commissioner for Labour has issued the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies for promoting professionalism and better service in the industry.
Recruitment agencies should comply with the terms of the same.
Irregularities or non-compliance can result in the issuance of warning letters from the Commissioner of Labour.
If you are keen to set up a recruitment agency of your own but feeling overwhelmed by the procedure, there’s no reason to worry!
Register your recruitment agency with Air Corporate today, and you’ll get
Focus on your business. We take care of the rest.
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