With hiring moratorium, HK employers hold on to maids

Hong Kong employers of Filipino maids are holding on to them or renewing their contracts themselves after a Philippine-based recruiters association imposed a moratorium on the deployment of household service workers (HSW) to the Chinese special region.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), however, said it was too early to tell if the moratorium had affected the deployment of workers, even as the Society of Hong Kong-Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines Inc. (Sharp) claimed earlier the moratorium it imposed could deprive some 35,000 Filipinos of HSW jobs in Hong Kong.

“It’s too early to tell, maybe after a monthlong monitoring we would be able to see the effect of the moratorium, particularly in the case of new hires being processed,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in an interview.

“According to our labor officials there, the Hong Kong employers tend to keep their workers, they just renew the contracts,” she said, adding that she saw no problem with this, “as long as the employers are good.”

HSW market Baldoz said that while the labor department respected the decision of the Philippine-based recruitment agencies, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) governing board, which she chairs, had instructed the POEA to study the HSW market and submit its findings and recommendations to the board.

She said the study would include consultations with all the stakeholders, like the Philippine recruitment agencies, Hong Kong placement agencies, nongovernment organizations and the Hong Kong government.

She said that, in the meantime, the POEA in coordination with the Philippine Labor Office in Hong Kong would continue to strictly enforce the Household Reform Package which, among other things, prohibits the charging of placement fees from the workers.

Sharp member agencies earlier cited the prohibitive recruitment cost that workers incur as the primary reason for their decision to stop deploying HSWs to Hong Kong.

Sharp president, Alfredo Palmiery, said that until their counterparts and employers in Hong Kong satisfactorily addressed the issue of high recruitment costs, the moratorium would remain.

By Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

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