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End of quarantine means lower salaries for FDHs, says recruiter

28 September 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


The reported dip in FDH salaries could impact the govt's decision on their new minimum wage

Hong Kong’s decision to scrap the three-day hotel quarantine may result in more foreign domestic helpers coming in, but it has also resulted in an overall drop in salaries, says the head of an employment agency group.

Thomas Chan, head of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies, says almost all of the FDHs coming from the Philippines now have been signed up to receive the minimum wage of $4,630.


“For those (hired) in Hong Kong, most of them – over 90% - receive salaries of from $4,800 to $5,500,” he said. In isolated or rare cases, the worker is paid between $6,500 to $8,000.

The average range now is far lower than before because there is now a steady supply of workers coming in, with the employers paying far less to bring them over.


A three-day stay at a quarantine hotel used to set them back around $5,000 – but had to pay at least double this if they wanted the helper to spend the next four days of medical surveillance in another hotel or hostel.

The supply had dipped considerably when Hong Kong had set the mandatory hotel quarantine to 21 days, gradually reducing it to 14, then seven days.

How? Pindutin ang poster sa itaas.

But it was worse when Hong Kong banned all passenger flights from sending countries twice –last year and early this year – because of a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Chan also said that despite the lifting of the quarantine requirement, about 30% of employers still want their helpers to stay in a hostel or dormitory during their three-day medical surveillance upon arrival.

Latest statistics from the Immigration Department show that there has been a steady decline in the number of FDHs overall, with more than 20,000 jobs being lost over the past year alone. It rermains to be seen if the numbers will pick up with the easing of the travel restrictions.

The current salaries offered to FDHs could have an impact on the ongoing study by the government on what the new minimum allowable wage for them should be. A decision is expected within this week, for implementation next month, in line with the previous practice.

Migrant organizations are calling for the MAW to be set at no less than $6,014, pointing out that their salaries had been kept at the same level for the past two years.

Also, that they were never given financial assistance by the government during the pandemic, when permanent residents and new residents were given cash aid, then spending vouchers in the past three years.


But according to Chan, employers find it “reasonable” to pay the current minimum wage of $4,630 to workers coming from their home countries for the first time. For those with experience working in Hong Kong, he said they will not mind paying from $4,800 to $5,500 a month.

As for his personal view, Chan said he predicts the government will increase the salary to $4,800, which is in line with the 4% percent pay hike given to civil servants recently.


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