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Maids and Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong

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They are commonplace in Hong Kong and most expatriate households employ a maid (Amah) in some capacity. In more recent years, political correctness has led to them being referred to as 'Helpers'. Occasionally, a busy household may employ 2 helpers, typically a husband and wife couple with the husband working as the driver or gardener.

The tradition of household help has been around for hundreds of years in Hong Kong, helped by the fact that the migrant workers, often from the Philippines, will settle for relatively low salaries. They will live with the family that employs them in sometimes rather small rooms.

If you want to employ a domestic helper from overseas, strict immigration criteria have to be met and a formal contract needs to be registered with the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Maids from the Philippines are by far the most numerous, numbering many tens of thousands. To obtain a work visa in Hong Kong, you need some amount of higher education. This means that surprisingly, many Filipino domestic helpers have degrees and an almost perfect command of the English language. They are willing to work as maids to escape poverty back home and although their wages in Hong Kong are low, they can still manage to send some money home to their families.

Your maid will really appreciate it if you give her the day off on Sundays as most Filipino maids will gather in Central to socialise with their friends in parks and squares. Many thousands of Filipino women can be seen every Sunday during the day relaxing just about everywhere you go in Central, where they sing, eat food etc. This has been going on for so long that the 'No Littering' signs in Central are often written in Tagalog (the language of the Philippines) as well as Chinese and English. You should really try to allow your maid to have this time off as meeting other Filipinos will help them to avoid the loneliness they often suffer from being away from home and family.

An online guide for the hiring of foreign domestic helpers is available on the Hong Kong Government website (see links section).

Employing foreign domestic help illegally will get you into serious trouble. Follow the guidelines carefully and you'll have no problems.

See also: How Much To Pay Domestic Helper In Hong Kong

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