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.


Plastic bag tax must be extended

I refer to the government's study claiming that the plastic bag levy has not been as successful as expected ('Levy fails to halt shopping bags' disposal', May 13).

Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am

Philippine workers' law needs prompt revision

Overseas workers are the lifeblood of the Philippine economy, so it makes sense that a law has gone into force ensuring that a comprehensive insurance policy accompanies each new employment contract. Recruitment agencies had long been pushing the idea to protect against liability, but it became a political issue during the last election campaign and was quickly turned into legislation.

15 Nov 2010 - 12:00am

Helpers' visas now easier to renew

It will be easier for the city's 250,000 foreign domestic helpers to renew their visas from next week, with online, mail and drop-in applications offered as alternatives to standing in long queues in the Immigration Department.

6 Jul 2010 - 12:00am

A wage that's affordable, and affords a decent life

Hong Kong is wealthy. On a global ranking of average per capita income, it stands seventh out of 181 economies, beside Switzerland, a notch below the US, and above Ireland, Canada, Australia and Britain. With such riches, all residents should be able to live decently with dignity.

8 Apr 2010 - 12:00am


No country practises real democracy

I agree with Stephen Chan ('Democracy offers the best route to change', March 10), but with the proviso that we are speaking of real, and not just formal, democracy.

15 Mar 2010 - 12:00am

Mainland maids: a minefield in the making?

Hong Kong's economic miracle was created by China's economic reform and open-door policy in the 1970s. This dramatic shift of our economy saw the rise of a new middle class, providing opportunities for both parents to work. The new trend gave rise to the need for domestic helpers to take care of young children and elderly grandparents at home.

30 Sep 2009 - 12:00am

No timetable on mainland maids, says think-tank chief

The head of a top government think tank has said that it has no timetable or policy on bringing domestic helpers in from the mainland, despite the fact that it is conducting a feasibility study into the issue.

29 Sep 2009 - 12:00am

Two-week rule for helpers could be exacerbating cases of abuse

I refer to the report 'UN calls for rule on helpers to be scrapped', (August 29). I would like to ask the chief executive for a public explanation of the rule 'that requires domestic helpers to leave the city within two weeks upon termination of their contract'. I suspect it is being abused by a few employers.

4 Sep 2009 - 12:00am

Helpers' food allowance doubled

The government's decision to freeze the minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers but raise their food allowance has received praise from employers but criticism from some workers.

The government announced yesterday that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would remain at HK$3,580 per month.

3 Sep 2009 - 12:00am

Domestic helpers may be worse off under minimum wage legislation

It is no surprise foreign domestic helpers excluded from the proposed minimum wage law have threatened legal action, claiming racial discrimination. But is there really a racial dimension or has the fundamental basis of overseas contract recruitment been forgotten?

19 Jul 2009 - 12:00am

Domestic helpers contribute to their employers' prosperity

I agree with Jane Ma's comments ('Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality', May 19) on Helen Seeh's negative views on domestic helpers in Hong Kong ('Foreign domestic helpers have very good deal in Hong Kong', May 9).

The laws and regulations are there but it tends to be the employers who bend the rules rather than the helpers.

25 May 2009 - 12:00am

It is employers of domestic helpers who need protection

Maybe Jane Ma has not tried to employ a Filipino domestic helper recently ('Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality', May 19). Well I have and believe me it is more like the domestic helpers comes to your house to give you an interview and not the other way around.

23 May 2009 - 12:00am

Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality

Helen Seeh states that, given the legal protection in place for foreign domestic workers, she cannot see how employers can take advantage of helpers ('Foreign domestic helpers have very good deal in Hong Kong', May 9).

19 May 2009 - 12:00am

Many employers in HK still take advantage of domestic helpers

I feel compelled to respond to the letter by Cynthia Sze ('Helper's treated well by most employers', April 18).

2 May 2009 - 12:00am

Plight of many foreign domestic helpers goes largely unnoticed

It is clear from Cynthia Sze's letter ('Helpers treated well by most employers', April 18) that Elsie Tu ('Domestic helper policies are institutionalised discrimination', April 13) raises sensitive issues.

25 Apr 2009 - 12:00am