Labour Dept Warns Against Unlicensed Job Agencies
Posted on July 30, 2012, Monday
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Since the full implementation of the Employment Agency Order 2004 on January 1, 2012, a total number of 82 employment agencies have been licensed by the Department of Labour, Borneo Bulletin reported.
The Department has strongly advised employers and the general public to make full use of these licensed agencies for their recruitment services of foreign workers. The updated list of these agencies can be found on the department’s website (www.labour.gov.bn) and can also be obtained from the Employment Agency Unit of the Labour Department, a press release from the department stated. The requirement to have a licence is in accordance to the Employment Agency Order 2004, whereby those who engage in foreign workers’ recruitment services must acquire Employment Agencies Licence from the Department of Labour.
The introduction of this order is aimed at working towards the protection of both employer and employees particularly for the recruitment processes, as well as prevention of fraud by irresponsible individuals and unscrupulous employment agencies. It is also aimed at protecting the country’s interest and image in terms of proper recruitment of foreign workers and their welfare.
In addition, it will also act as an assurance and a form of mechanism towards ensuring that all foreign workers are provided with secure jobs and will receive their wages accordingly. This in turn will avoid them from becoming a burden to society and the nation, and more importantly, to avoid the country from being perceived as a harbour for labour/human trafficking.
Thus it is not in the best interest of the country to allow the recruitment of foreign workers (which includes domestic workers) by individuals or companies without going through licensed employment agencies, an issue which has been raised by some of the public and published by the media.
In this regard, the Department of Labour has received a number of reports on unscrupulous employment agencies through the media, anonymous tips or through word of mouth, regarding employers being cheated or duped by employment agencies, which include excessive charges for services rendered, failure to deliver as promised, and also falsification of documents. The department is also made to understand that there exist individuals and companies conducting employment agency activities without a licence, but still manage to continue operating through the use of other employment agencies which have been licensed. This irresponsible act is illegal and must stop.
The department would like to take this opportunity to remind all employment agencies, as well as the public, that any agencies operating without agency licence granted by the Department of Labour, is against Section 6 (1) of the Order which states, «No person shall canyon an employment agency unless he is the holder of a licence granted by the Commissioner>> and as stated in Section 6 (2), «Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with subsection (1) (6(1)) is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both..››.
The department would also like to remind licensed employment agencies that under the Employment Agency Order 2004, it is an offence to lend. transfer or assign their licence to another and if found guilty of the offence will be liable to a fine not exceeding S5.000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both (Section 31 (f)). It is also an offence under Section 32 (a) if a person not being the licencee uses the employment agency licence and if found guilty will be liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000 for the first offence and a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both for the subsequent offence.
The Labour Department will not hesitate to take appropriate actions including prosecuting in court any individuals or companies who contravene the Employment Agency Order 2004. As for the licensed employment agencies who are found guilty of misusing the employment agency licence, stern action will be taken which includes revocation of their licence.
Therefore, the Department of Labour would like to urge the public to make a formal report or complaint should they encounter issues concerning the activities of employment agencies (such as being cheated or duped) to the Employment Agency Unit, Labour Standards and Employment Agency Section, Department of Labour, located at level 4, Department of Immigrations and National Registration Building, Jalan Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, Important documents related to the reports or complaints such as contract agreements, job orders, payment receipts, and other relevant documents must be brought along All complaints will be addressed and appropriate actions will be taken accordingly.