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Case Notes

Case Notes

This case related to ID number/ ID copy

Case No.:2024C01

Collection of copies of Hong Kong Identity Card and bank card from a job applicant by an employer prior to the acceptance of employment offer

The Complaint

The complainant applied for and interviewed for a job at a branch of a company. After the interview, the staff of the company requested to make a copy of the complainant’s Hong Kong Identity Card (“HKID Card”) and bank card (“the Documents”) in order to submit the same to the Human Resources Department for contract preparation and job allocation purposes. Thereafter, the complainant asked the company about the outcome of his job application but did not receive any response. The complainant was dissatisfied that the company collected the copies of the Documents prior to confirming his employment offer, and hence lodged a complaint with the PCPD.


The company explained to the PCPD that the complainant had passed the interview at the branch, and the branch manager considered the application successful. In the circumstances, the Documents were copied and passed to the district manager for vetting purposes. However, during the vetting process, the district manager considered that the company had sufficient manpower and the complainant’s application was thus rendered unsuccessful.

Upon PCPD’s intervention, the company revised its guidelines relating to the collection of personal data from job applicants. According to the revised guidelines, the company would only collect copies of the Documents at the time the selected job applicant signs the contract or during the onboarding process.

The PCPD also issued a warning to the company, requesting it to recirculate the revised guideline regularly to ensure that the staff adhered to the relevant requirements regarding the collection of personal data from job applicants.

Lesson learnt

In accordance with the “Code of Practice on the Identity Card Number and other Personal Identifiers” (“the Code”) issued by the PCPD, employers are permitted to collect a copy of an HKID card in order to provide proof of compliance on the part of the employer with section 17J of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap.115), which provides that the employer shall inspect the HKID Card of a prospective employee before employing him. However, it is also highlighted in the Code that the employer shall not collect any HKID Card copy until the applicant is successfully recruited. In addition, as reiterated in the “Code of Practice on Human Resource Management” issued by the PCPD, an employer should not collect a copy of the HKID Card of a job applicant during the recruitment process unless and until the applicant has accepted an offer of employment.

A HKID Card copy contains important and sensitive personal data. Institutions shall take this case as an example to ensure the recruitment staff shall not collect the HKID Card copy of a job applicant unless and until the job applicant has accepted an offer of employment. Similarly, if a particular applicant has not accepted an offer of employment, it is not necessary to collect the bank account information for payroll purpose.

(Uploaded in February 2024)

Category : Provisions/DPPs/COPs/Guidelines : Topic/Subject Matter :