Fair recruitment

Philippines, Hong Kong agencies ink fair recruitment code

Two of the biggest employment agencies in Hong Kong and the Philippines signed a Code of Conduct to promote fair recruitment of domestic workers. The Code, based on the International Labour Organization’s guidelines, is a milestone agreement as the world marks the International Domestic Workers’ Day on 16 June.

Press release | Hong Kong | 14 June 2019
MANILA (ILO News) - Members of the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies (AHKMA) and the Society of Hong Kong-Accredited Recruiters in the Philippines (SHARP) signed a Code of Conduct to ensure fair recruitment of domestic workers.

The Code of Conduct aims to provide quality service aligned with the International Labour Organization (ILO) General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment.

Under the Code, agency associations and their members have committed to uphold highest principles of integrity, professionalism, fair and ethical business practices in the Philippines and Hong Kong recruitment corridor.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong and the ILO facilitated the dialogue and consultation over a year ago.

“The code went through a long, consultative process of drafting. The signing is only the beginning. What is crucial is implementing the Code and ensuring that compliance monitoring is built into a system to demonstrate good practice,” said Mr Jalilo Dela Torre, Philippine Labor Attache in Hong Kong.

The ILO’s Fair Project commissioned a team of experts from The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI) to train member agencies of AHKMA and SHARP on ethical recruitment and to facilitate the process of developing the text of the Code based on aspirational principles and commitments that recruitment associations ascribe to. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

“We are committed to explore new ideas that could help reduce deceptive and abusive recruitment practices. Non-binding bilateral instruments such as this Code of Conduct is another step to promote and ensure fair and ethical recruitment of all workers, including migrant domestic workers,” explained Gaela Roudy-Fraser, Programme Manager of the ILO Fair Project who witnessed the signing in Hong Kong held on 2 June 2019.

While the Code of Conduct prohibits the collection of placement fees unless authorized by law, it endorses aspirational principles on adherence to law; respect for workers’ rights, health and safety; transparency to contract terms and conditions; access to grievance mechanism and remedy; protection from discrimination; and compliance to the Code.

“The Code aims to enhance business operations, to maintain the reputable brands of AHKMA and SHARP as key industry players, and to optimize benefits to both employer and domestic worker toward a successful recruitment and employment outcome,” as Teresa Liu Tsui Lan, AHKMA Chairperson explained.

The Code thus provides a foundation to promote excellence and accountability in the recruitment industry, particularly when recruiting Filipino domestic workers.

“Recruitment should take place in a way that respects, protects and fulfills internationally recognized human rights. Workers should have access to free, comprehensive and accurate information. Agencies should take affirmative steps to ensure that workers are employed under contracts that respect their rights,” said Alfredo Palmiery, President of SHARP.

This milestone initiative contributes to the ILO’s work on promoting decent work for all and leaving no one behind. Migrant domestic workers will celebrate the International Domestic Worker’s Day on June 16.

The Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Union (FADWU), its affiliates of workers’ organizations from more than nine origin countries and the Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers from the Philippines, welcome the signing of this Code of Conduct to celebrate migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

For further information please contact:

Hussein Macarambon
National Project Coordinator
ILO Fair Project - Manila

Minette Rimando
Media and Public Information
ILO Country Office for the Philippines