23 October 2016
The first batch of Myanmar domestic helpers arrived Hong Kong in February last year. Photo:
The first batch of Myanmar domestic helpers arrived Hong Kong in February last year. Photo:

HK facing shortage of domestic helpers as Myanmar stops supply

Many Hong Kong families are now willing to pay more than the government-mandated wages for foreign domestic helpers amid a supply crunch in the city.

Liu Tsui-lan, managing director of Technic Employment Service Center, a job recruitment agency, said supply of domestics has declined after the Myanmese government stopped granting more quotas to Hong Kong, Apple Daily reported.

This has made helpers with long and solid experience quite in demand in the market, and employers are willing to pay higher wages to get them, Liu said.

She suggested that families who are looking for helpers lower their standards or consider hiring maids from non-traditional sources such as Bangladesh.

While Myanmar and Indonesia appear to be reluctant to send more maids abroad following a few cases of maid abuse in recent years, supply from other traditional maid-exporting countries has also declined because of their improving economic conditions, the report said.

About 98 percent of the 330,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong came from the Philippines or Indonesia, the latest statistics show.

Golden Mind Recruitment, the only recruitment agency in Hong Kong permitted to bring in maids from Myanmar, closed its business on Tuesday.

Managing director Law Yiu-keung said the Myanmese authorities had not given him additional business after his initial quota of 200 maids.

He said his company has incurred a loss of about HK$2.5 million (US$322,424) as a result of the Myanmese government’s decision, adding that he is now facing lawsuits from clients who had paid an introduction fee of about HK$10,000 each but were not able to get a helper.

Law said he may have to declare bankruptcy, although a more serious concern is the welfare of about 170 Myanmese maids he had recruited as he could no longer look after them.

Several operators of labor recruitment agencies plan to meet with officials at the Consulate General of Myanmar to discuss the issue, Liu said.

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