Employment agents in mainland China are offering dishwasher jobs in Hong Kong for a high fee

Everyone wants to go to Hong Kong, but not everyone can do so easily, one agent said as a reporter pretended to hesitate about the high fee.

If you don’t want this option, there are plenty of people waiting in line for it.

The two insisted that they could provide the employee with legal work as a dishwasher in Hong Kong.

If employers are happy with you, they will help you get a work visa, one agent said. Otherwise it will be illegal in Hong Kong.

They both did not want to reveal their real names or the names of the companies they worked for.

Recently, more and more job advertisements for dishwashers have appeared on the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu.

They have vague job descriptions and little information about the restaurants where employers will work. Some of the advertisers claimed to be recruitment agents who introduced overseas job opportunities to blue-collar workers from the mainland.

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Several mainland users have left messages in the announcements asking for further information, but the account shows they can only provide details via private messages.

Hong Kong’s Labor Department expanded its labor import program this summer to cover unskilled and low-skilled workers and 26 job categories in industries such as travel, hospitality and wholesale trade under relaxed measures approved by the city’s top decision-making body in a June tender to address staff shortages .

However, the department said there is a strict visa application process for potential mainland workers, which requires approval from labor authorities in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Officials added that employers who want to import workers should contact the department. Once approved, they are required to recruit out-of-town staff through foreign labor service cooperation enterprises approved by mainland authorities.

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Two agents contacted by a Post reporter said dishwashers in Hong Kong can earn between HK$16,000 ($2,045) and HK$20,000 a month with a 48-hour work week. They added that workers will also receive food, accommodation, medical insurance and 15 days of annual leave.

Lawmaker Doreen Kong Yuk-foon said that while the agents were not necessarily illegal, they could not guarantee a successful visa application.

Agents often exaggerate their hopes of success, but in reality, hiring an agent will not increase your chances of success. She clarified that it was based solely on the merits of the applicants.

I strongly suggest that applicants carefully read the visa application requirements set out by the Department of Immigration. They should be quite simple. Applicants can actually apply themselves.

Kong added that if job seekers want to hire an agent to help them, they should choose them carefully based on their reputation.

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Earlier this month, the Department of Immigration busted a criminal syndicate offering cleaning services without work visas to a client network of around 50 restaurants.

The department said 927 undocumented workers, excluding sex workers, were arrested in the first nine months of the year, up from 886 detained in all of 2022.

Of the illegal workers arrested from January to September, 368 (40%) were from the mainland. In total, there were 222 of them for the entire last year, and 350 for 2021.

Last month, the department arrested six employees and three employers on charges of illegal labor practices after they raided 17 locations over a four-day period, including restaurants, apartment buildings and a store.

The spokesman said the Department of Immigration was committed to tackling illegal employment to protect the local labor market and ensure employment opportunities for the local workforce.

The department said it has conducted an average of 1,500 operations against undocumented workers per month this year, an increase of more than 10 from the previous two years.

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