MANILA, Philippines—Good news for Filipinos planning to work in Hong Kong as household service workers (HSWs), or maids. A group of Philippine-based licensed recruiters has lifted its self-imposed moratorium on the deployment of HSWs to China’s Special Administrative Region, or SAR.
Starting on Wednesday (March 27), the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines, Inc. (Sharp) will resume the processing of employment papers of Hong Kong-bound HSWs.
Sharp lifted the two-month moratorium after a majority of its counterpart recruitment firms in the former British colony agreed to the “no placement fee” policy of the Philippine government.
On January 27, Sharp unilaterally declared the moratorium to protest the prohibitive recruitment costs that Filipino applicants incurred, in violation of the no placement fee policy being strictly implemented by the labor department-attached Philippine Overseas Employment Agency.
In a statement, Sharp said it had “achieved our goal in staging the moratorium,” lifted effective March 27.
“We have gained the concurrence of a substantial number of Hong Kong agencies that their employers in Hong Kong will pay the costs of recruiting Filipino maids and not to pass these to them. We have convinced them on the matter,” said Sharp vice president Madolyn Uanang.
Sharp’s “most important achievement is that we’re able to show to the Filipino people, especially to OFWs wanting to work in Hong Kong as HSWs, that there’s no need to shell out a big amount of money for a job contract in the SAR.”
Earlier, Alfredo Palmiery, Sharp president, said that the moratorium would remain until such time that their counterparts and their employers in Hong Kong have satisfactorily addressed the issue of high recruitment costs.
In 2011, more than 130,000 new hires and rehires from the Philippines were deployed by private recruitment firms to Hong Kong.
Some 40,000 of these new hires were processed by Sharp members.
Hong Kong is the fourth largest labor market for Filipino migrant workers and also the largest destination for OFWs in the household service sector.
Foreign maids in Hong Kong are paid a monthly wage of HK$3,740 (about P20,000), in addition to a one-day off per week and a paid sick leave.
Aside from the Philippines, the 160,000-plus other domestic workers in Hong Kong come from Thailand, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.