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.

What you need to know

Can an employer who hires a foreign domestic helper this month enjoy levy suspension?

Yes. The relief measure granting a two-year levy suspension became effective in August this year. The latest proposal has no effect on the measure.

Wednesday, 12 November, 2008, 12:00am

Homes with foreign help could get 7 levy-free years

Employers of foreign domestic helpers may have a seven-year levy holiday now that the government has proposed extending the two-year levy suspension to cover contracts signed in 2013, in recognition of the challenges posed by the economic downturn.

12 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Maid levy opponents warn off minister

Leave Basic Law out of debate: Regina Ip

The labour chief was warned yesterday not to 'drop constitutional bombs' over the maid levy just so the government could have its way.

7 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Regina Ip gets legal backing in her bid to scrap the maid levy

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has won legal backing in her attempt to scrap the controversial levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers.

The Legislative Council subcommittee discussing a government amendment to suspend the HK$400-a-month levy for two years will hold final discussions tomorrow, and Mrs Ip has to submit her proposed amendment by November 17.

5 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Mixed views on levy

Seven associations yesterday urged the government to scrap the HK$400 a month levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers, calling it unfair.

But five other associations said the government should consider the interests of the workforce before giving in to demands to abolish the levy.

2 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Means test makes long-term sense, argues welfare boss

The proposal to introduce a means test for old age allowance applicants was a responsible one despite being unpopular, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said yesterday.

18 Oct 2008 - 12:00am

Wheelchair staff plan protest over pay row

More than 100 local aviation workers have vowed to stage a protest at Hong Kong International Airport over a wage cut which has coincided with the Paralympic Games.

Staff at Worldwide Flight Services, a concierge service provider at Chek Lap Kok airport, said their employer has cut their piece-rate wages and violated the Employment Ordinance.

3 Sep 2008 - 12:00am

Many maids abuse privileges they enjoy in Hong Kong

I refer to Elsie Tu's letter ('Some foreign domestic helpers in HK are treated like slaves', August 28).

3 Sep 2008 - 12:00am

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.

30 Aug 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