Indonesian domestic workers in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times

Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog has received 163 complaints this year about employment agencies handling domestic workers.

The Consumer Council reported that the hiring process was too long, that resumes of potential maids were misleading and that many domestic workers failed to show up, according to HK01.com.

Out of 43 agencies, the Consumer Council found that 29 relied on foreign firms to verify the resumes of domestic workers. One agency even failed to verify any documents provided by maids.

The rest tended to focus on those candidates that had already been working in Hong Kong. A small percentage went through extensive background checks.

In one case, an employer paid HK$9,980 (US$1,278) to an agency to hire an Indonesian domestic worker in January.

But Sing Tao Daily reported that the maid failed to turn up in April and that the agency told the employer that they could not contact her.

The agency also failed to find a replacement and then dragged out the refund process.

In another case received by the Consumer Council, an Indonesian maid was employed after her resume showed she could speak Cantonese and Mandarin after working in Taiwan for six years.

In fact, she could only speak a few words in Mandarin, which she picked up while working on a farm.

A complainant was made to the agency, but it pointed out to the client that it could not verify the authenticity of the information that the maid had provided.

The Consumer Council made it clear that employment agencies have to ensure the accuracy of resumes and not pass on the responsibility to employers.