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.

Freeze of maid levy spells profits for illegal queue touts

The government's suspension of the levy on foreign domestic helpers is providing lucrative business to a 'queuing syndicate' that charges up to HK$120 for applicants rushing to apply for permits or travel documents outside the Immigration Department's Yau Ma Tei branch.

Saturday, 30 August, 2008, 12:00am


What do you think of the maid levy suspension?

The suspension of the levy appeared at first to be a good idea for those employers who would benefit from it. However, the planning process was inadequate.

A lot of maids suffered as a result and their contracts were terminated prematurely.

29 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

Maid employers told not to rush contracts

Foreign domestic helpers' recruitment agencies are rushing to complete contract renewals for their customers who want to take full advantage of the levy suspension relief measure introduced a month ago.

But Joseph Law, chairman of the Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said employers should not hurry to renew contracts.

26 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

Maids demand direct renewal of contracts

About 150 Indonesian domestic helpers joined a rally yesterday demanding their consulate handle the renewal of contracts brought about by the levy suspension directly with migrant workers instead of involving recruitment agencies. They complained that agencies charged up to HK$500.

25 Aug 2008 - 12:00am


What do you think of the maid levy suspension?

On both equity and efficiency grounds, I cannot see anything to commend the new arrangements regarding the suspension of the maid levy.

8 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

Tripping point

When the chief executive announced his proposal to suspend the levy on foreign domestic helpers last month, he could not have anticipated the overwhelmingly negative reaction that followed. In the end, the original two-year levy suspension was extended to a maximum of 47 months and the cost to the public purse was almost doubled, from HK$2.2 billion to an estimated HK$4 billion.

6 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

Walking smack into the maid levy fiasco

Somehow, the Hong Kong government often finds itself in a hole of its own digging. The current contretemps over the suspension of a levy paid by employers of foreign domestic helpers is a classic example.

5 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

HK needs better leadership, Mr Tsang

One day before Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was to announce a set of economic relief measures at the Legislative Council on July 16, he gave a briefing to the Executive Council. It took less than 10 minutes.

3 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

Suspension of unfair levy has been badly handled by officials

The letter by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung ('Levy plays key role in retraining', July 30) was unconvincing.

2 Aug 2008 - 12:00am

4 years off maid levy for some

Exco suspends helper fee, lets you gain twice

Employers of foreign domestic helpers can avoid paying the levy on their contracts for up to 47 months by renewing them early, the government acknowledged yesterday.

31 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

Levy breaks could lead to mass layoffs in two years, say maids

Groups representing domestic workers have expressed concern about the possibility of a massive layoff near the end of the two-year suspension of the employers' levy, as the Executive Council was poised to discuss the proposed relief measure today.

30 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

The levy has burst

The controversy surrounding the suspension of the maids' levy for two years has not only exposed the ugly face of many employers of foreign domestic helpers, but also the worst side of our government bureaucracy. The proposal, and the whole inflation relief package, was made with the best intentions. As inflation soars, pressure is piling up on both low-income groups and the middle class.

26 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

Tsang shows again how to rule with a ham fist

Clearly, it was not intended this way, but the plan for a two-year suspension of the levy on overseas domestic helpers' employment provides an almost perfect example of government dysfunction and arrogance.

25 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

Suspension of maids levy brought forward a month to August 1

The two-year suspension of the levy on foreign maids will start next month, a month earlier than planned, after the government heeded calls from employers' and workers' groups who said an earlier date was necessary to avoid confusion.

22 Jul 2008 - 12:00am

7 maids sacked since levy decision

Employers wait for freezing of payment

At least seven foreign domestic helpers have been sacked since the government decided last week to suspend the maids' levy from September, a migrant workers' centre said.

Sari Canete, a project organiser at the Asian Migrant Worker Centre, said those workers had been fired as a result of the levy suspension.

21 Jul 2008 - 12:00am