Three Filipino domestic workers have filed complaints at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office against two Hong Kong employment agencies for alleged overcharging fees.
The two unnamed agencies were the Hong Kong counterparts of the Manila-based Spear International Manpower, sunwebhk.com reported, citing Esther C Bangcawayan, an officer with the Mission for Migrant Workers who helped out with the complainants.
Labor Attaché Nida Romulo said two of the workers complained about one agency and a third about another. They had arranged a meeting at POLO for the agency owners and the complainants to sort out the disputes.
In previous cases, the labour office ordered the offending agencies to refund the workers’ money and also suspended their accreditation.
There were several cases of local employment agencies which had reportedly overcharged domestic workers in collusion with their partners in the Philippines.
After investigations, all the cases showed a pattern with the Hong Kong agencies charging recruits high fees then telling them to pay it back through personal loans from designated lending firms.
Domestic workers were then asked to pay the loans in monthly installments while the amount could be more than half their monthly salaries for up to four months.
Recent cases showed that if the workers failed to pay loan installments on time, they were harassed by phone, leading them to seek help from the NGO and the labor office.
Meanwhile, an initial investigation revealed that the workers’ contracts had been stamped by an accredited agency although they were recruited by sub-agents, in violation of their undertaking with POLO.