Some 4,500 Filipino domestic helpers to benefit from Hong Kong policy: agent

An estimated 4,000 to 4,500 Filipino domestic helpers can come work in Hong Kong after the SAR starts accepting vaccinated workers from August 30.

The Hong Kong government will begin approving the entry of Filipino domestic helpers who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines from next Monday, subject to the presentation of a vaccination certificate issued by the Philippine authorities.

Thomas Chan Tung-fung, the chairman of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies, said in a radio program that Philippine authorities are expecting about 3,000 Filipinos to benefit from the change. However, the domestic helper industry estimates that between 4,000 to 4,500 will come. He said he expects newcomers to bring fresh blood to the local market.

The SAR government will require the vaccination proof to contain the worker’s name, age, ID number, as well as the specific vaccine received. “The current template provided by the Philippines authorities should be able to meet the relevant requirements. It may take one to two months for individuals to apply for the certificate, but it ensures it is not easy for them to forge a certificate,” Chan said.

Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, the chairperson of the Support Group for HK Employers with Foreign Domestic Workers, said that local families are hesitant about the policy.

She said that some employers are worried vaccinated workers may become infected during the quarantine period and that they may bring the virus into their homes.

She said the number of domestic workers arriving in Hong Kong has fallen from 400,000 to 370,000 last year, and urged the government to consider the survival of domestic helper agencies in its policies.

The co-chairman of the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, Tsang Kay-yan, said that under the existing quarantine measures, the health risk is minimal.

Tsang said that the risk to the local community is believed to be minimal if the helpers have been fully vaccinated and ahve undergone quarantine and multiple Covic-19 testing in compliance with current procedures upon arrival.

He also said that the quarantine hotels should maintain proper hygiene, including ventilation and filtration systems, as well as making sure the staffers are fully vaccinated.

“The initial phase of reallowing foreign domestic workers to come to Hong Kong should be gradual – otherwise, relaxing it would overload the quarantine hotels,” Tsang said.

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