What is an Employment Agency in Hong Kong?
An employment agency in Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Employment Ordinance, is “an establishment or person who aims to obtain employment for another person, or supply personnel to an employer”. Therefore, recruitment agencies, placement agencies, manpower agencies, and staffing agencies all fall under the employment agency category.
An employment agency in Hong Kong is essentially the middle person. They help to connect employers to potential employers who might be suitable for certain roles within the company. Also, employment agencies in Hong Kong have the authority to assist both local and foreign employees. This ranges from junior position levels to senior management levels.
How to Apply for An Employment Agency License
Before starting an employment agency in Hong Kong, you must apply for an Employment Agency License. Further, the Hong Kong Labour Department issues this license. This must be done before you can commence business operations or undertake any job placement related activities.
You do not need an Employment Agency License if your business falls within the following categories:
- It is operating under the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Ordinance
- Operating on behalf of the Hong Kong Government
- Run by employers who are hiring employees only for their business
- Run by educational institutions solely for the employment of its graduates and students
- Works for any contractor or sub-contractor for employing manual labour related to building work on behalf of an employer
- It is operated by proprietors of publications for non-profit purposes
If you do not require an Employment Agency License in Hong Kong, then you will be required to apply for a Certificate of Exemption of License from the Hong Kong Labour Department.
Before lodging your application for an Employment Agency License in Hong Kong, you must meet the following pre-requisites:
- Complete your Hong Kong company registration process and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation from the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
- You must have a nominated operator who is a real person as your employment agency operator. This nominated operator will be responsible for the daily management and operation of your employment agency in Hong Kong. They must be a Hong Kong citizen, Hong Kong permanent resident or Employment Visa holder.
- Your employment agency staff must be active in the placement of overseas domestic workers and comply with regulations concerning the employment of domestic helpers from abroad.
Procedures in Applying for a Hong Kong Employment Agency License
First, you will need to go through a two-step process to get your Hong Kong Employment Agency License:
- Secure the proposed company name
- You will need to submit your document to the Hong Kong Labour Department for approval
- Your proposed company name must not infringe on trademarks
- The name must not be offensive or contrary to the interests of the public
- Your proposed name must not be similar to the name of another employment agency
- Submit the following documents to the Labour Department of Hong Kong:
- Employment Agency License application and Supplementary Form
- A certified true copy of your Hong Kong ID cards or travel documents (for each director and nominated operator).
- Certified true copies of Business Registration Certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Articles of Association
- Certified true copies of notification of first secretary and directors
- Notification of changes of secretary and directors (if applicable)
- Certified true copies of documents confirming the appointment of the nominated operator
Complete applications will be successfully processed within 3-4 weeks after submission of your documents to the Labour Department of Hong Kong. After the issuance of the license, you need to pay HK$2,000 for the license fee. Further, you will get the license to start an Employment Agency in Hong Kong within a period of 12-months.
If your application has been rejected for some reason, then you can lodge an appeal with the Labour Department’s Administrative Appeal Board within 28-days after receiving your notice of rejection.
How to Renew Your Employment Agency License in Hong Kong
Once you have started your employment agency in Hong Kong, you must renew your Hong Kong Employment Agency License before it expires. In line with this, the renewal period is at least 2- months before your existing license is about to expire.
There is a renewal fee of HK$2,000 when submitting your renewal documentation. Moreover, the documents you will be required to submit to the Labour Department of Hong Kong are:
- Completed prescribed Renewal of License application form
- A Declaration Form declaring that you have not been undischarged bankrupt
- An authorisation document to conduct a criminal record check
- A certified true copy of your valid Business Registration Certificate