MANILA, Philippines–A self-imposed moratorium by a group of Philippine-based licensed recruiters might deprive some 35,000 Filipinos wanting to work as household service workers (HSWs) in Hong Kong.
The Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines Inc. (Sharp), an association of Philippine licensed overseas employment providers, earlier announced it will stop deploying HSWs for employers in the former British colony as it cited sky-high recruitment costs imposed on workers.
Alfredo Palmiery, president of Sharp, said that until such time that their counterparts and their employers in Hong Kong have satisfactorily addressed the issue of high recruitment costs, the moratorium they imposed would remain.
In 2011, over 130,000 new and re-hires were deployed by private recruitment agencies to Hong Kong. Some 40,000 of these new hires, were processed by members of Sharp, said Palmiery.
The Hong Kong labor market is the fourth largest labor market for overseas Filipino workers. It is also the largest destination for OFWs in the household service sector.
The moratorium on the hiring and placement of Filipino household service workers to Hong Kong will have its consequences, Palmiery admitted.
“Financially, the (cost) of abandoning and losing a major labor market is huge. A moratorium may also have socio-economic effects and could affect friendly bilateral relations between Hong Kong and the Philippines. However, our primordial consideration here is the interest and welfare of our HSWs who are groaning under the heavy weight of high recruitment costs at the Hong Kong end of the recruitment cycle,” he said.
Sharp members, Palmiery said, have started renegotiating their recruitment terms and conditions with their counterpart Hong Kong agencies, to address the problem of high recruitment costs, and have received positive responses.
Once a greater majority agrees to the no-placement fee arrangement, Palmiery said they will immediately lift the moratorium and resume hiring and placement of HSWs to Hong Kong, he added.