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Demand for FDHs continues to rise in HK despite chaos

22 November 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap
Image may contain: 2 people, crowd
Are employers leaving HK in droves and terminating their helpers?
Not so, according to data from Immigration 

Bucking fears and forecasts, the number of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong has continued to rise, even during the most turbulent months of the anti-government protests.

Latest figures from the Immigration Department show that the demand for FDHs has kept its steady ascent, with the total figure by the end of October reaching 399,505. This is more than 14,000 higher than for the same month last year.

A negligible dip of 243 was recorded at the start of the pro-democracy protests between May and June this year, but this was quickly corrected when the number soared by 1,525 at the end of July, when the protests were at their most raucous.
The next month, August, which saw protesters storming Prince Edward MTR station, registered an even higher month-on-month increase of 1,604.

At the end of September and October when the violence from the clashes between protesters and police intensified even more, the monthly spike hovered at around 1,500.

The numbers also show that Filipinos continue to dominate the domestic workers community, with a total population of 219,496 by end of October. Indonesians numbered 170,579 while Indians and all other nationalities had a total ally of just about 4,000 each group

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The official figures come as a surprise to those who trawl OFW social media sites, as these are replete with comments from Filipino migrant workers who claim that they have lost their jobs because of the protests.

Many employment agency operators have also been reporting of Filipino applicants changing their minds about working in Hong Kong, or of having their recruits’ contracts terminated by employers who decided to move elsewhere to avoid the chaos.

A growing number of FDWs say they have been left on their own as their employers chose to go elsewhere to live, or of being told to take an early vacation while the employers assess whether they should return, or stay away for good.
It now turns out all such reports, if true, have hardly dented the demand for FDWs in Hong Kong.

This is something that the Consulate has been at pains to say amid the din caused by calls to either slow down the processing of work contracts to Hong Kong, or to ban Filipino workers from coming here altogether.

The Consulate has consistently said that the number of contracts being submitted to them for processing has remained steady, and terminations have not occurred at a higher rate than before.

Thus, said Consul General Raly Tejada in a recent TV interview, there is no need to stop Filipino workers from coming to Hong Kong.

“I will dissuade people from encouraging this idea of banning workers from coming to Hong Kong,” he said. “There are jobs here in Hong Kong, and the employees are quite satisfied with their work and employers are still taking in Filipinos…so there is no reason for us to implement a ban.”


 Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs) Population in Hong Kong


As at the end of Month/Year
Philippines
Indonesia
India
Other nationalities
Total number for all nationalities
Jun 2018
206,917
162,257
4,337
4,804
378,315
Jul 2018
207,075
163,405
4,352
4,779
379,611
Aug 2018
208,820
163,370
4,433
4,770
381,393
Sep 2018
210,315
164,291
4,456
4,799
383,861
Oct 2018
210,773
165,077
4,483
4,808
385,141
Nov 2018
211,361
165,655
4,515
4,793
386,324
Dec 2018
210,897
165,907
4,502
4,769
386,075
Jan 2019
213,110
167,480
4,515
4,766
389,871
Feb 2019
214,018
167,623
4,570
4,758
390,969
Mar 2019
214,211
168,060
4,557
4,758
391,586
Apr 2019
214,358
168,377
4,564
4,737
392,036
May 2019
215,586
168,644
4,625
4,732
393,587
Jun 2019
216,052
167,937
4,621
4,734
393,344
Jul 2019
216,375
169,134
4,652
4,708
394,869
Aug 2019
217,961
169,079
4,709
4,724
396,473
Sep 2019
218,883
169,775
4,722
4,727
398,107
Oct 2019
219,496
170,579
4,737
4,693
399,505

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