A group representing recruitment agencies for foreign domestic helpers on Sunday asked the government to provide centralised quarantine facilities for thousands of new hires expected to arrive in the city in the coming months.
The Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies noted authorities had estimated that some 8,000 to 10,000 helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia will soon come to Hong Kong, as their governments and local agencies resume processing their applications.
Hiring has been put on hold for months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group’s chairman, Thomas Chan, said most employers they polled do not have enough space at home, and they cannot afford the cost of a hotel room to meet the mandatory quarantine requirement.
“According to the Labour Department and Health Department’s basic requirement, the quarantine arrangement… there should be an independent room and washroom for workers. It's quite impossible for 85 percent of employers to provide such facilities,” Chan told RTHK’s Jimmy Choi.
The union’s asked each member agency to interview 20-30 employers, and more than 90 percent say they are reluctant to stay in the same flat with helpers who are under quarantine.
The employers say they are willing to pay for the food, but they hope the government could provide subsidy for the accommodation, because a hotel room could cost up to HK$5,000 for the two-week quarantine.
Chan said helpers could stay at holiday resorts in the countryside, and this could also reduce their contact with others and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.