Migrant domestic workers contribute nearly $100B to HK economy

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Filipino domestic workers in Central

Migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Hong Kong  contribute nearly $100 billion to the city’s economy, according to a research study released on Wednesday (March 6).

Hong Kong-based charity Enrich and leading global information services company Experian jointly presented ‘The Value of Care: Key Contributions of Migrant Domestic Workers to Economic Growth and Family Well-being in Asia” which showed that MDWs contributed an estimated $98.9 billiion to HK’s economy, or 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product.

The figure was reached by calculating their personal spending, the real value of the work they do, and the value of freed-up time for local women wereable to join the labor force because they have an MDW.

“MDWs enable dual incomes in each household by freeing more women to join the workforce. Employing MDWs has a direct effect upon increased female labour force participation, effectively enabling other women to further their careers,” the report said.

In Hong Kong, only 49 percent of women (at the prime working age of 25-54) with children would be able to join the labour force if they did not employ a MDW.

However, if they do employ a MDW, this labour force participation increases to 78 percent, the report said.

By enabling more women to join the labour force, MDWs indirectly add USD$2.6 billion (HKD$20.1 billion) to Hong Kong’s economy, USD$2.6 billion (SGD$3.5 billion) to Singapore’s economy and USD $0.23 billion (MYR929 million) to Malaysia, it said.

This has an additional contribution to family well-being, the report added.

With rapidly ageing populations, lower fertility rates, and little or no affordable care services, over 21 million MDWs currently fill the care gap in Asia and the Pacific, in response to an increasing demand for paid domestic work.

This demand is only set to grow in the future; in Hong Kong the government has projected a total need of 600,000 MDWs by 2047.

“As more doors open for migrant domestic workers across Asia, the future of care in Hong Kong depends on ensuring that it remains an attractive city to work in,” the report said.

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