Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post
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  • Feb 27, 2015
  • Updated: 1:57pm
Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers make up around 3 per cent of the Hong Kong population. In 2013, there were some 320,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, of which 50 per cent were from the Philippines, 47 per cent from Indonesia, and the rest from Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hong Kong law states that such workers must reside with their employers. Their wages are subject to a statutory minimum of HK$4,010 per month from September 30 last year. There have been several high-profile court cases in which domestic workers have alleged torture and abuse at the hands of their employers. According to a 2013 report by Amnesty International, Indonesian migrant domestic workers are at risk of serious human and labour rights violations in Hong Kong.

Myanmese domestic helpers asked to pay high agency fees to work in Hong Kong

Protesters show support for battered Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. Photo: Nora Tam

Domestic helpers coming to Hong Kong from Myanmar will have to pay about HK$16,000 to their home recruitment agency - the highest fee in the region.

Thursday, 6 February, 2014, 9:10am 4 comments

Injured Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih weeps on leaving hospital

Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, is wheeled out of hospital before heading to her family home. Photo: AFP

Doctors discharged injured Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih yesterday after a stay of nearly a month in hospital. Surrounded by relatives, a tearful but smiling Erwiana emerged in a wheelchair from Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital in Sragen, in the eastern part of central Java, to be greeted by an army of well-wishers.

10 Feb 2014 - 3:07pm

Filipinos concerned Hong Kong visa sanctions against officials might affect them

Filipinos in the city are fearing more sanctions. Photo: Nora Tam

The government last week announced that official and diplomatic Philippine passport holders - up to 800 of them visit the city each year - would no longer be allowed to enjoy a 14-day visa-free arrangement.

3 Feb 2014 - 3:59am 5 comments

Hong Kong must address the social costs of hiring domestic helpers

Hong Kong must address the social costs of hiring domestic helpers

The number of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong has risen since the 1980s, and has coincided with the city's economic growth. According to the Immigration Department, more than 310,000 were in Hong Kong as of May last year, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia. On average, one in eight households now has a maid; the figure is one in three for households with children.

3 Feb 2014 - 3:48am 7 comments

Helper moved to the fore as migrant workers' champion

Illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

When Indonesian domestic worker Sringatin arrived in Hong Kong 12 years ago, she had a simple dream of earning a decent living and helping her family. Little did she realise that in just over a decade, she would be the public face for Hong Kong's foreign domestic helpers.

27 Jan 2014 - 4:30am

Campaign to educate helpers on their rights following alleged Erwiana abuse

Injured domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. Photo: Sam Tsang

Police and labour officials returned to Hong Kong from Indonesia last night after a six-day visit to investigate allegations of abuse against domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

26 Jan 2014 - 5:33am

Review rules to better protect domestic helpers

Demonstrators carry the colors of the Indonesian national flag during a march in support of Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih who was allegedly tortured by her employer in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong's laws are supposed to protect maids against abuse. Consulate-generals are required to help their nationals in times of need. Domestic helper employment agencies should offer an extra layer of support. How, then, could Indonesian Erwiana Sulistyaningsih have been so badly abused, allegedly by her employer? The answer is simple enough: the system failed the 23-year-old woman, who remains in an Indonesian hospital with horrific injuries.

24 Jan 2014 - 3:15am 3 comments

'Torture' employer linked to alleged abuse of five different Hong Kong maids

Suspect Lo Wan-tun is taken back to her Tseung Kwan O flat in a mask yesterday. Photo: Felix Wong

Indonesian President Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed "anger and concern" yesterday over the alleged torture of one of his country's domestic helpers in Hong Kong as new allegations of abuse emerged.

22 Jan 2014 - 11:36am

Indonesia to look into recruitment agencies in light of Erwiana case

Chalief Akbar

Indonesia's top diplomatic representative in Hong Kong said the consulate is exploring ways to better protect the safety of domestic workers in the city, and is reviewing whether recruitment agencies here have complied with its regulations.

22 Jan 2014 - 3:45am

Hong Kong police take statement from Erwiana in Indonesia

Chief inspector Chung Chi-ming (centre, with black suit) arrives at the Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital, Indonesia, to investigate Erwiana's case.  Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong police started interviewing Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih — who alleges she was beaten by her employer — in her hospital back home on Tuesday morning.

They may also take a statement from her Indonesian recruitment agency later in the day, according to a local police source.

21 Jan 2014 - 5:24pm 2 comments

Four in five maid agencies operate without licenses from Indonesia

Protesters shout slogans to support Erwiana Sulistyaningsih during a march on Sunday. Teresa Liu Tsui-lan said most agencies bringing in Indonesian maids did not have a licence from the country. Photo: Nora Tam

Only about 200 of 1,000 foreign domestic helper agencies in Hong Kong have obtained licenses from the Indonesian consulate to bring in maids from the country, an agencies' representative said on Tuesday.

21 Jan 2014 - 4:44pm 5 comments

Indonesian maid Erwiana was 'prisoner' in employer's home, father claims

Erwiana's father Rohmad Saputro (left) and mother (in blue). Photo: Sam Tsang

Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih was forced to break contact with her family for six months and was barred from leaving her employers' flat, her parents have claimed.

22 Jan 2014 - 5:16am

Indonesian maid in abuse case ‘beaten in head for at least 6 months’, doctors say

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih shows some of her injuries at the hospital in Indonesia where she is being treated. Photo: Sam Tsang

Brain injuries have left Erwiana Sulistyaningsih unable to walk and struggling to see, her doctor in Indonesia says, adding that it is too early to tell whether the damage is permanent.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:44am 11 comments

Hong Kong woman accused of abusing, torturing maids detained at airport on way to Thailand

The suspect is taken by officers from the airport police station to Tseung Kwan O and Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (inset) lies in a bed whilst being treated at a hospital in Sragen, Indonesia's Central Java province. Photo: Sam Tsang and Felix Wong

A woman accused of wounding two Indonesian domestic helpers - including one who says she suffered prolonged torture - was in police custody last night after being arrested at the airport.

21 Jan 2014 - 2:06pm

Campaign to push for changes to maid working conditions after Erwiana's case

A screen shot of Hong Kong Helpers Campaign's website. The group, launched on Monday, seeks to change employment rules on foreign domestic workers in the wake of the alleged beatings of Erwiana. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Social activists have launched a campaign to fight for sweeping changes to the treatment of foreign domestic helpers amid anger over torture alleged to have been inflicted on an Indonesian maid by her employer.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:42am 8 comments