Migrant groups says helpers charged HK$27,000 for jobs

Local | 11 May 2017 12:10 pm

More than 70 percent of domestic helper recruitment agencies in Hong Kong are charging excessive fees, according to a study by University of Hong Kong students. 

The investigation found that local agencies are also withholding helpers’ passports to coerce them into paying the debts they are forced to take on.

A concern group which helps foreign domestic workers, the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body, said the study shows the government needs to do more to protect the rights of overseas workers in Hong Kong. 

The group’s spokesman, Eman Villanueva, said migrant workers are often badly exploited by employment agencies and the problem is both serious and widespread.

"In the case of Indonesian domestic workers, some of them are charged between HK$21,000 to HK$27,000. It is spread into several months of instalments and so basically, Indonesian workers are working like slaves because they have to repay their agency”, he said. "In the case of the Filipinos, it is nearly the same. Probably just a little bit less, but also ranging from HK$15,000 to about HK$21,000”.

On Wednesday, the Mission For Migrant Workers highlighted how one in five domestic helpers in Hong Kong suffer from poor living conditions, with some even forced to sleep in kitchens, toilets and cupboards.-RTHK

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