Pinay caregivers earn $5,000 to $7,000 in HK

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The caregiver training program graduates

AROUND 100 foreign domestic workers graduated recently from a caregiver training program in Kennedy Town as the demand for caregivers in Hong Kong continues to grow due to the city’s ageing population.

Active Global Specialized Caregivers held the graduation ceremony of its training program at the Bayanihan Centre in Kennedy Town on December 2.

Active Global launched the training program to help domestic workers who are already taking care of elderly persons or those who want to upgrade their skills.

“I’d like to congratulate all of you for having this aspiration to become better caregivers by undergoing this training course of Active Global,” Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said during the graduation ceremony.

“This is a very welcome opportunity for you because, as you know, the Hong Kong government may soon, in fact they have already announced it last year, accept caregivers to Hong Kong,” he said.

“Take care of the old people of Hong Kong. Your salaries will be much higher than domestic helpers. All over the world, societies are ageing so your services will be very much in demand. It’s very timely for you and I congratulate you,” he added.

Active Global has recruited around 200 caregivers from the Philippines to work here in Hong Kong although they still fall under the category of foreign domestic workers.

“Basically, we don’t collect any placement fee from the workers. They will not do the household chores in the house (and) only take care of the old and the sick,” said Alfredo Palmiery, a recruitment industry leader in the Philippines and Active Global’s partner.

He said those who want to work in Hong Kong should either be nursing graduates or those with an NC II (National Certificate II) for caregiving from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“The idea behind is, of course if they are not well prepared, this is not an easy job. The salary, of course, is much higher,” Palmiery said.

He said they would work to have TESDA conduct more exams here in HK so that the graduates would get their NC IIs.

Steven Chiu, Active Global HK Branch Manager, said their caregivers can earn from $5,000 to “almost $7,000.”

But this could go higher to $8,000 if the caregiver has additional skills, long years of experience, or knows Mandarin or Cantonese.

“We mainly do recruitment in the Philippines. But here in Hong Kong, it’s the training that we do. We started this as a corporate social responsibility program to train the domestic workers in Hong Kong because a lot of them are already taking care of the elderly,” Chiu said in an interview.

The training is conducted at the Bayanihan every weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lasts for around 5 months.

“We are renting the place in Bayanihan. They are very supportive because they see us contributing

to the Filipino community, Chiu said.

He said the demand for caregivers was increasing although Hong Kong has yet to decide whether to allow the recruitment of caregivers with their own professional visa, separate from foreign domestic workers.

“I think it’s definitely rising. We started with Indians and Sri Lankans but now we are having more Filipinos,” Chiu said.

“The ageing population is only going to go up and it will peak in 20 to 30 years,” he added.

Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chikwong said in November 2017 that Hong Kong would need a total 600,000 domestic helpers in the next 30 years due to the city’s ageing population.

“Today, we have 360,000 foreign domestic helpers. Because of an ageing population, 30 years down the road, that demand will grow to 600,000,” Law said.

“That means an additional 240,000 foreign domestic helpers just looking after the elderly,” he added.

Chiu said it was “very expensive” to send old people to homes for the elderly or nursing homes in HK. He said this could cost from $8,000 to $20,000 a month.

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