Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Treat Hong Kong’s home helpers well, they are the backbone of an ageing city

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 2:31pm

I refer to the article, “Elderly care is skilled work, and Hong Kong’s migrant domestic helpers should be recognised for their skills” (July 18).

We know that Hong Kong’s population is ageing rapidly, so much so that we are said to be facing a silver tsunami. The number of those aged 65 or older is expected to be more than a quarter of the population by 2036, and by 2064 will grow to 2.58 million, or around 36 per cent of the population. This will naturally increase the demand of goods and services, including the need for carers, for this large elderly population, with many expected to turn infirm and dependent on help for everyday activities. As the writer put it, the care industry is a crucial sector for sustainable development.

While the government is said to be considering subsidising the cost of hiring a foreign domestic helper for elderly people living alone, it is true that this may be seen as increasing the financial pressure on the employed.

I was wrong: Hong Kong does need helpers for elderly care

It is undeniable is that domestic workers represent our hopes of filling the care gap in our city. However, they are not all treated well in Hong Kong: it is not rare to hear of abuse or unfair treatment.

Given our increasing need for domestic carers, we should care more about our overseas image as employers. With other cities in Asia, such as Singapore and in mainland China, offering more comfortable conditions and sometimes better pay, helpers may choose those places over Hong Kong. I hope that we can treat our helpers better, and give them better working conditions so that they are drawn to work here.

Jason Ng, Tseung Kwan O