Finding a domestic helper isn’t so difficult in Hong Kong. There is a complete guideline on the hiring process, thera are dozens of employment agencies who screen applicants and do the paperwork for you, and both employers and helpers are protected by existing laws governing working conditions, terms of payment and others.
There are over 320,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. Most of them come from the Philippines and Indonesia. The rest come from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.
But among these nationalities, there is a reason why Filipina helpers compose just over half of the entire foreign domestic helper population. Besides the steady supply of helpers, nannies and caregivers from the Philippines, there are reasons Hong Kong employers pick them.
They are friendly
It’s a common trait one can describe Filipina domestic helpers. Most of them are genuinely friendly and easily to get along with. Such characteristics originate from where they come from: a tropical country blessed with hospitable and easy-going people. This kind of attitude is a much-needed dose to lift the spirits of people in Hong Kong, known for its high incidence of depression among its young population. So a Filipina nanny might have that instinct to calm a child throwing tantrum or a grumpy granny into smiling with her sense of humor and friendly nature.
They are proactive at work
Even if they are mainly tasked to look after young children, Filipina helpers often don’t think twice to do other household chores without being told to do so. Clean the house, do the laundry, do the grocery and prepare meals. They are often well-organized at home that, once used to their routine, employers don’t need to micromanage their tasks. Their initiative is a big plus to Hong Kong families who often have to contend with complex routines especially during weekends.
They are family-oriented
Coming from homes in the Philippines with extended family members and where many women act as homemakers, these helpers are used to taking care of the elderly as much as their affection for the newborn and toddlers. Sometimes they even overdo their roles that kids get more attached to them, making busy parents feel a bit of guilt and jealous. Their close family ties is evidenced by their spending time on the phone with their families in the Philippines and send them a significant chunk of their wages every month.
They speak good English
One distinct advantage Filipinas enjoy over other domestic helpers is their ability to communicate in good English. This is especially helpful for parents who wish their children grasp the language at young age. Apart from accompanying their wards and picking them up from school, they can also help answer homework, noting that many of these Filipina helpers have obtained college degrees in the Philippines.
They are hardworking
The job as a domestic helper often demands long working hours and many employers can attest to their level of industriousness. You can leave them at home and arrive with tasks done for the day: send the children to school, visit the market, prepare meals, walk the dogs, pick up kids from school, wash the car, do the laundry, iron the clothes, clean the house, and many other tasks employers find unimaginable if they try to do them all by themselves.
They are religious
While such characteristic sounds not so related from their work, the characteristic of being religious transcends beyond the churches they serve every Sunday. The value of honesty, devotion to work and loyalty to employers translates in the values they inculcate to the children as well as influence the whole family.
Of course, not all Filipinas employed as domestic helpers in Hong Kong have lived up to expectations — some were arrested for drug possession, theft or even aborting their babies — but they are more of exception and can be considered as isolated cases.
Filipinas come to Hong Kong with dreams of a better future not only for themselves but for their families. Being employed in Hong Kong which pays higher salaries than many professionals receive in the Philippines is a blessing. But equally, Hong Kong employers also feel blessed to have their Filipina helpers to their aid in getting things done.
Note: Information from this article was sourced from helperchoice.com
Photo credit: J Aaron Farr / Flickr