Employing a person not lawfully employable
Employers should be careful when hiring a new employee because you may be committing a serious offence for employers in Hong Kong to employ a person who is not lawfully employable contrary to s.17 I of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) (IO).
Even McDonald’s, which is a very large company employing a large number of employee, has once violated the law in Hong Kong. In HKSAR v McDonald’s Restaurant (Hong Kong) Ltd  HKCU 2218, McDonald’s was accused of hiring two Indoneisan females who entered Hong Kong as domestic helpers. McDonald’s hired them negligently when they should have been apparent on their appearances along to be non-Hong Kong residents. The court said the Manger who inspected the identity cards of these two employees should have been alerted then and check their passports to see if they were employable in Hong Kong.
In the McDonald’s case, the company did not show any intention of employing unemployable workers. However, in some instances employers may be alleged to employ them with an intention to violate the law. It is nevertheless a serious offence where offenders shall be liable to a fine of HK$350,000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.
Therefore, it is important for employers to inspect identity cards and passports to ensure that employees are employable under the laws of Hong Kong.
If necessary, you can also apply for legal aid. Ms. Ngan is a member of the lawyers at the Legal Aid Department for Criminal, Divorce/Family Law, Employees’ Compensation, Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, and Land Disputes. If legal aid is approved, the aided person has the right to choose a lawyer to represent.