Date
24 January 2017
A placement agency advertises its employment services (inset). Filipino domestic helpers in the mainland are paid 30 percent more than in Hong Kong but hiring them is illegal. Photo: HKEJ, baidu.com
A placement agency advertises its employment services (inset). Filipino domestic helpers in the mainland are paid 30 percent more than in Hong Kong but hiring them is illegal. Photo: HKEJ, baidu.com

Filipino helpers flocking to high-paying mainland jobs

Illegal hiring of Filipino domestic helpers is rampant in mainland China despite tough punishment for offenders.

More than 100,000 Filipinos work in the mainland, with an undetermined number being domestic workers, according to Apple Daily.

They are mostly drawn to first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai where they are paid significantly more than in Hong Kong.

Chinese law prohibits the hiring of foreign maids for personal services.

But the practice is rampant in major cities and is also beginning to catch on in second-tier municipalities. 

In Sichuan, domestic helpers receive 6,000 yuan (US$938) a month, about 30 percent higher than their average salary in Hong Kong.

Foreign workers convicted of violating the employment ordinance face up to 15 days in jail and a five-year entry ban.

Employers are liable to a fine of up to 100,000 yuan while placement agencies could be fined up to 5,000 yuan for each illegal hiring.

However, lax law enforcement has allowed a growing number Filipino maids to find employment in the mainland.

Some placement agencies openly advertise vacancies, according to an undercover reporter sent by Apple Daily to Shenzhen to investigate the phenomenon.

Filipinos usually overstay their visas, the reporter said, citing an employment agency staffer. 

They are exploiting an immigration loophole that allows them to renew their visa every three months by exiting to Hong Kong.

An employer, surnamed Wei, said she prefers Filipino domestic helpers for their English language skills which they could pass on to their children.

Also, their standard of service is comparable to those in hotels, she said.

Employers pay 20,000 yuan to placement agencies for each hire.

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