Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Your country needs you: Filipino professionals working as helpers in Hong Kong answer call to return home

108 qualified teachers have left their jobs in the city since last year to seek work back in the Philippines

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2016, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 9:39pm

The debate around the operations of domestic workers’ agencies comes as the Philippines tries to attract qualified professionals home from Hong Kong.

More than 100 Filipino teachers working as helpers in the city joined a return migration programme in the past year.

Out of the total 150 overseas Filipino workers who qualified last year to join the programme, 51 were based in Hong Kong, according to Roel B. Martin, chief of the Workers Reintegration and Technical Support Division at the National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers.

This year, among 198 applicants to date, 57 teachers also came from Hong Kong.

“We were in Hong Kong two years ago, encouraging domestic workers who are teachers by profession to return home to teach in public schools … there are more than 100 of them who are currently holding teacher positions,” Martin said.

But we have overseas Filipinos who were earning much but decided also to come home for good, simply to be with their loved ones
Roel B. Martin, National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers

Members of the National Reintegration Center are planning to return to Hong Kong by the third quarter of this year to promote the initiative. The aim, said Martin, is to attract not only teachers but also other professionals.

The centre, which was set up in 2010, targets qualified Filipino workers who live overseas, for instance, engineers, teachers, nurses and doctors, helping them to fill up positions in their country of origin.

The consulate in Hong Kong held a meeting this month with registered nurses and midwives to discuss employment options back in the Philippines, according to The Sun, a Filipino newspaper in Hong Kong.

“A comparable if not higher salary is a big consideration for them to avail the programme,” Martin said. “But we have overseas Filipinos who were earning much but decided also to come home for good, simply to be with their loved ones. At the end of the day, it’s their decision whether to come home or not.”

There were 1,832,668 Filipinos living overseas in 2014, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, with over 140,000 based in Hong Kong.

The move comes after Indonesia announced earlier this month that it would start phasing out the hiring of domestic worker to work in foreign countries from next year.