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Advice on using an agency for direct hire

  1. #1
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    Advice on using an agency for direct hire

    We are hiring a helper who was released from her contract with the previous employer who was relocating to Singapore.

    We thought it would be easier to use the same agency that her previous employer used but am getting a bit confused with the costs involved.

    As it was a direct hire, at first the cost was around $3200 - but that did not include medical so we paid another $500. Signed the contract at the agency and they were to process. But then the agency woman refused to do any follow up (eg we needed a termination letter from the former employer) and said WE were responsible for getting all the completed paperwork to her and the fee would only cover her handing it in!

    We ended up paying her the full fee in order to get her to follow up properly. (It was $4500 which is what she charges for "introducing the helper to us" and would include a replacement within 2 yrs if it didn't work out with the current one (but still does not include plane ticket!).

    NOW she is saying that we need to pay her (or rather she is charging the helper - but we said we would pay it if needed) a "service fee" of $300 to handle the OWWA fee ($200) as there is a new rule that helpers can't do this themselves but must go through an agent. But my helper says the agent for her friend (who is being hired in the same way) is including the handling of the OWWA fee without any additional charge! I am prepared to pay the extra $500 if needed - but just a bit annoyed and confused by all the add-ons. Several years ago, when I processed my last helper (also direct hire) with a different agency, their charges seemed more reasonable and inclusive!

    Would love to hear from what others' experiences have been when going through an agency for a direct hire. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    If the helper is already in HK and you use an agency to process her papers, the cost should be around $2000. She shouldn't have to exit HK as she was released because her employer is relocating. The medical should be around $500-700.
    Has your helper returned to the Phillipines? Does the cost also include her air ticket?
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  3. #3
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Rani. My helper is still in Hong Kong. Her previous employer relocated to Singapore and she was officially released on Oct 1. As we signed a new contract with her, she is allowed to stay here - and does not need to go back home right away.

    I also expected costs to be around $3000 mark, so am already a bit frustrated that we are now paying $4500!

    Now the agent wants to charge my helper $300 as a service fee to process the OWWA fee ($200 which we had expected to pay). While I am prepared to pay it for her if needed, I just wanted to know if this was normal - as my helper tells me her friend's agency included it in their processing fee (which incidentally was only $3K plus.)

  4. #4
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    rani is offline Administrator
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    I only paid the agency $2K and it included everything but Medical. I assume the agency paid the OWWA. There shouldn't be a service fee to apply for OWWA, it's a simple process at the consulate. The helper can do it herself.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  5. #5
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I'm hiring a helper whose employer relocated and we are processing by ourselves. From my very vague calculations, we have to pay around $500 for the consulate (300+200), and then only about $165(?) for the visa, and that's it. Medical is extra. It sounds to me like you're getting ripped off!!

    One note is that if employers were terminated for relocation, they also need to go to immigration to get an ID522 form. This was a bit confusing to me, but my new helper went to do that today. Apparently, I need to sign the form so I will meet with her tomorrow and see exactly what that form is then. The ID522 form needs to be done BEFORE the consulate - and before their visa expires. You don't want them to overstay their visa!!
    rani likes this.

  6. #6
    deduja is offline Registered User
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    I think you don't need to use an agency in this case. Only ones who were terminated need an agency service. Not ones whose employer relocated. My helper has done it by herself.

  7. #7
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    I know, we should have processed ourselves! I thought going through the agency that her previous employer used would make things easier - plus we are in the Midlevels and the previous employer was in Olympic City, so I thought it would be more convenient for the helper to follow up while still with her previous employer.

    But now the agent is charging us another $300 (on top of $4500) to help us hand in the OWWA fee (which is $200). We were prepared to pay $200 but not this additional $300 just to hand in!! But the agent claims that there is a new rule that agents have to hand it in and her package does not include it!

  8. #8
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Honestly, I would be threatening to make a complaint to fair trade or whatever there is over here in HK... that is robbery!! (oops, I just accidentally typed "rubbery" ;) )

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