2 recruitment agencies lose licenses over collection of placement fees

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08:25 AM April 26th, 2013

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By: Tina G. Santos, April 26th, 2013 08:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines—For allegedly violating the rule on placement fee, two recruitment agencies engaged in the recruitment and placement of household service workers to Hong Kong have been stripped of their licenses to operate by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

According to the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP), an association of Hong Kong deploying agencies, the POEA issued the orders of cancellation against All Pro Staffing & Constructing Services and ABC Manpower Agency Inc. with offices, respectively, at Cubao, Quezon City and San Isidro, Makati.

The two agencies belong to the top 10 agencies deploying household service workers to Hong Kong, said SHARP.

The cancellation came on the heels of the moratorium on deployment of household workers to Hong Kong staged by SHARP member associations.

SHARP initiated the moratorium on Feb. 27 to convince the Hong Kong employers and its counterpart Hong Kong employment agencies to pay the costs of recruitment instead of passing them on to the household service workers in the form of excessive placement fee.  It was lifted after a month as a substantial number of Hong Kong employment agencies agreed to the new terms of recruitment based on no placement fee.

“The cancellation, I believe, is part of the pro-active position undertaken by the POEA with respect to the pronounced goal of the moratorium, which is to attain a hiring system of absolutely no placement fee for the recruitment and placement of household service workers to Hong Kong,” said Alfredo Palmiery, SHARP president.

Corollary actions

“We were informed that to stop the recruitment malpractice of charging and collecting placement fees from the household service workers bound for Hong Kong, the POEA will undertake corollary actions like salvo inspections at the offices of agencies who are reported to be violating the rules, random interviews of household service workers attending the pre-departure orientation seminars, and strict screening at the airport prior to their boarding and departure,” he explained.

Palmiery added that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong would also take similar actions like requiring the Hong Kong recruitment agencies to submit affidavits of undertaking that they would fully comply with the “no placement fee” policy and that they would not collect any amount from the worker except those allowed under the Hong Kong laws. The accreditation of those who could not submit affidavits will be revoked, which will disqualify them from hiring Filipino household service workers.

The POLO will also conduct random interviews of newly arrived workers during the post-arrival seminar to find out if they were made to pay placement fees.

“We have recommended to the POEA Governing Board to require the revalidation of accreditation of all Hong Kong recruitment agencies hiring household service workers,” Palmiery said.

He also announced that to establish a new system for the recruitment and hiring of household service workers to Hong Kong, SHARP is coming out with a list of Philippine agencies that have entered into new agreements with their counterparts in Hong Kong not to charge and collect placement fees.

“We will publicize the list certified by our associations so that the applicants can know which agencies to go to for job applications in Hong Kong,” Palmiery said.

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