Home Hong Kong Hong Kong Immigration Department Cracks Down on Illegal Workers in Intensive Operations

Hong Kong Immigration Department Cracks Down on Illegal Workers in Intensive Operations

Nine persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations v2

In a concerted effort to combat the issue of illegal workers in Hong Kong, the Immigration Department (ImmD) recently carried out a three-day operation with the code names “Twilight” and “Windsand.” The operation, conducted in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force, resulted in the arrest of eight suspected illegal workers and one employer.

The ImmD Task Force officers targeted 21 locations across the territory, including commercial and industrial buildings, residential premises, restaurants, and a retail shop. The arrested individuals, comprising four men and four women aged 30 to 60, were found to be in violation of immigration regulations. Notably, one man was apprehended for suspected possession and use of a forged Hong Kong identity card, while another, aged 34, was arrested for employing the illegal workers.

Hong Kong law stipulates that individuals who contravene conditions of stay or attempt to work without the appropriate permissions face severe penalties. Offenders can be prosecuted and, upon conviction, may be subject to fines up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. Aiders and abettors are also liable for prosecution and penalties.

The ImmD spokesperson emphasized that employing individuals who are not lawfully employable is a serious offense. The maximum penalty for employers engaging illegal immigrants, overstayers, or individuals subject to removal or deportation orders has been significantly increased to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years. The director, manager, secretary, or partner of the company involved may also face criminal liability.

The court has established guidelines whereby employers must take practical steps to verify the lawful employability of individuals before hiring them. Failure to conduct proper inquiries or inspect valid travel documents can lead to fines of up to $150,000 and one year of imprisonment.

Furthermore, the ImmD has implemented measures to identify potential victims of trafficking in persons (TIP) during operations. Vulnerable individuals, including illegal workers, sex workers, and foreign domestic helpers, undergo screening to determine whether they are TIP victims. Identified victims receive comprehensive support such as medical services, counseling, shelter, and other necessary assistance.

The ImmD urges TIP victims to report crimes immediately to the relevant authorities, emphasizing their commitment to combatting such offenses and ensuring the protection of vulnerable individuals.

The recent operations conducted by the ImmD serve as a stern reminder that Hong Kong authorities are actively addressing the issue of illegal workers and employers who flout immigration regulations. By enforcing stricter penalties and providing support to victims, the government aims to maintain the integrity of its immigration system and protect the rights of all individuals residing in Hong Kong.