HK has no plan to import mainland domestic helpers: Law Chi-kwong

21-Jan-2022 Intellasia | Thestandard | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s lawmakers on Thursday passed a non-binding motion calling on the government to study the import of mainland domestic helpers, but the labour minister said the government has no plan to do so.

Paul Tse Wai-chun from the election committee constituency moved the motion in the Legislative Council meeting today and said the manpower supply of domestic helpers should be like Hong Kong’s “colorful” political spectrum.

He added that employers may think hiring a foreign domestic helper who can speak English is advantageous. But improving the language skills of Putonghua is a more politically correct direction, and the import of mainland domestic helpers is a means that fits the current political atmosphere and actual needs.

The motion was then passed as the majority of lawmakers voted in favour of it.

However, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the immigration arrangements of the import of domestic helpers do not apply to residents in the mainland, Macau, and Taiwan due to concerns in immigration, security, and society.

The government has no plan on changing the arrangements so far, Law added.

On another note, many lawmakers expressed worries about the illegal operation of certain employment agencies, including encouraging helpers to jump ship for more agent fees and overcharging employers.

Eunice Yung Hoi-yan from New People’s Party slammed the Labour Department for not asking employment agencies to submit a license issued by the country of the foreign domestic helper when handling their registration in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Alice Mak Mei-kuen from Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions said she heard of a case where an employer dared not to fire the helper even the helper fed the kid dust because of the limited manpower in the market.

Law said both the Labour Department and the Immigration Department are highly concerned about the helpers’ ship jumping situation. The Labour Department has sent letters to agencies to remind them not to encourage or teach helpers to jump ship.

The labour minister also cited figures and said the department has canceled the license or denied the renewal application of 44 employment agencies in the past five years. Among them, 41 saw their operators convicted for overcharging helpers for agent fees and not complying with the code of practice.


Category: Hong Kong

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