'Families fighting over helpers due to travel ban' - RTHK
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'Families fighting over helpers due to travel ban'

2021-04-20 HKT 11:10
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  • Thomas Chan says he expects wages of foreign domestic helpers to go up further if the travel ban remains in place. File photo: RTHK
    Thomas Chan says he expects wages of foreign domestic helpers to go up further if the travel ban remains in place. File photo: RTHK
Families trying to find foreign domestic helpers amid a ban on arrivals from the Philippines are bumping up wage offers, the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies said on Tuesday.

The union’s chairman Thomas Chan told an RTHK programme that the two-week travel ban will affect around 1,800 helpers due to come to the SAR.

He said some employers are instead looking for foreign domestic helpers who are already in Hong Kong.

He said some of them are willing to pay around HK$5,500 a month – 20 percent above the legal minimum salary – due to a shortage of helpers.

The government has banned flights from the Philippines, Pakistan and India for 14 days to try to prevent the spread of mutated coronavirus strains in the SAR. Some experts have called for the ban to be extended.

Chan said he expected wages to go up further if the travel ban remains in place.

“The fight over foreign domestic helpers is going to be more intense. Some employers are willing to pay thousands of dollars extra as long as they can hire a suitable foreign domestic helper,” he said.

Betty Yung from the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association said some SAR residents who have lost their jobs during the economic downturn would also like to work as domestic helpers.

She said the Labour Department could provide employment support and match them with families who can't find a foreign domestic helper.