Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing has invited Philippine and Indonesian officials to visit Hong Kong in September, hoping that they can meet officials from the labor and immigration departments to establish a joint task force that will work to safeguard foreign maids’ rights.
Lau also said she hopes the task force will help guarantee sufficient training for maids before they start working in Hong Kong, public broadcaster RTHK reported Wednesday.
More than 330,000 domestic helpers are currently working in Hong Kong. Some 1,000 employment agencies are operating in the city.
The legislator also called for a comprehensive policy against employment agencies that overcharge domestic helpers.
It’s common practice for recruiters to impose excessive and unreasonable fees on maids, she said.
Lau noted that the two-week period given by the Immigration Department for maids to look for a new employer is too short to be of any use to those who have suffered from abusive employers.
If domestic helpers file a complaint against their employer, they have to bear the consequences of losing their current job, she said.
If they look for a new employer, they have to shoulder all the costs and complete the process within the two weeks granted by the immigration officer, Lau added.
Lau and representatives of the Domestic Worker Round Table, a non-governmental organization, met with government officials of the Philippines on Aug. 2–5 and officials of Indonesia on Aug. 10–13.
Officials of the two countries agreed to help in improving the employment systems for domestic helpers they send to Hong Kong.
Emily Lau to visit Jakarta to fight for better rights for maids (Aug 7, 2015)
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