Employers wary of hiring PH domestic workers after slew of imported COVID-19 cases, HK agencies say
Hong Kong employers raised concerns over the validity of coronavirus tests taken by domestic workers from the Philippines, prompting agencies to refrain from flying them out.
Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies Chairman Thomas Chan said most recruitment agencies have gotten warnings from employers about hiring workers from Manila.
“They worry too much,” he said in an interview. “They’re always asking, ‘Are those certificates from the Philippines reliable?’ We don’t know how to answer.”
People flying out of the Philippines must test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours before they leave for Hong Kong.
The Centre for Health Protection tallies some Filipino workers testing positive upon landing or within quarantine in the past months.
But as of Sunday, eight people from a group of 13 workers brought in by the same agency on Sept. 9 have returned positive COVID-19 test results, which prompted investigations from Hong Kong and Philippine authorities.
“It’s so impossible, only a group of 13 people but 8 of them confirmed finally,” Chan said. “That’s why it’s really alarming and really surprising to us.”
Chan said while he does not discount the possibility of them getting infection from their agency dormitories in Manila, he has also gotten some reports that the tests might be fake.
“I’m thinking there might be some malpractices there, especially for this case,” Chan said.
Because of this, some employers would also prefer to have their recruited worker stay in a hotel following the test results, Chan added.
Other employers said they would opt to choose among the available domestic workers who are already in the city.
Chan called on the Philippine Consulate to forward the matter to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, as well as the Labor and Health Departments of the Philippines.
Consul-General Raly Tejada earlier said the Hong Kong agencies of those in the infection cluster are FRA Golden Full and FRA Golden Win. The Philippine agencies which flew them in were Placewell International Services and Triple One.