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Filipino DH population grows to 189,105

16 February 2017

Filipino DH population still growing.


By Vir B. Lumicao

The population of Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong has continued its steady growth, with a total figure of 189,105 being recorded as of Dec 31 last year.

This represents a 4% increase from last year’s overall figure of 181,861, figures from the Immigration Department show.

However, the annual growth was slightly lower than the 5.25% recorded by the end of 2015, when the Filipino DH numbers rose by more than 9,000.

The additional 7,244 who came in last year helped drive up the city’s total foreign domestic helper population to 351,513, from 340,380 a year ago, or a growth rate of 3.3%.

Vice Consul Fatima Quintin welcomed the continuing influx of Filipino domestic workers into Hong Kong.

“As long as we are protected here in Hong Kong and lahat naman ng requirements natin for deployment are met, then it’s OK for the number of Filipino household workers to increase here,” Quintin said.

More Indonesian domestic workers also came to Hong Kong last year, but at a considerably lower number than the Filipinos. The Indonesian population rose by 3,834, for an overall tally of 154,073.
Together, the Filipinos and Indonesians account for about 97% of the total FDH population in Hong Kong.

But fewer Indonesians have been gaining entry into Hong Kong after their government began requiring local employers to pay the cost of its nationals’ medical examination, insurance, and round-trip air ticket starting in May 2012.

For about three years before this, the Indonesian domestic workers had outnumbered their Filipino counterparts.

The growth in the Filipinos’ numbers also indicates that peso weakness and continuing hardships at home make it attractive for women, the most vulnerable segment of the country’s workforce, to seek jobs abroad despite the risks.

Cynthia Tellez, general manager of the Mission for Migrant Workers, says the main reason why more Filipinas come to work in Hong Kong is proximity to home.

“Kung may mangyaring hindi maganda sa bansa, sa pamilya, madali lang umuwi, malapit lang,” she told The SUN. “Hindi rin naman maipagkakaila na dahil mahigpit ang Immigration pati sa kontrata, parang pang-assurance iyon,” she added.

But she said the problems that originate in the application process in Manila, starting with illegal agency fees, are carried over to Hong Kong and continue to hound the worker.

Tellez said the increase is also “very telling” on the Philippine economy.

“Ever since, in our analysis of migration is, it comes from the home country. Kung hindi sila mapo-provide-an ng maayos na trabaho na magbibigay ng disenteng suweldo, hahanap at hahanap ang mga magulang (pati nga ang mga anak) ng paraan para makapamuhay naman nang may kaunting disente. Hindi yung araw-araw ang problema mo ay kung saan kukuha ng makakain. Kaya malaki ang pananagutan ng gobyerno,” Tellez said.

Figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that land-based OFWs in Hong Kong accounted for US$536.32 million of total OFW cash remittances of US$24.34 billion in from January to November last year, down 7.8% year-on-year.

The combined sum of money sent home by both sea-based and land-based OFWs in this city totaled US$694.89 million, dropping 15.7%.

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