Filipino FDW population in HK dips below 200,000

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Foreign domestic workers in Central.

The local Filipino domestic worker population fell below the 200,000 mark at the end of August, Immigration data showed, as helpers struggle in their attempts to enter Hong Kong amid stringent anti-epidemic measures in place.

Figures sent to Hong Kong News showed there are 354,776 migrant household service workers in the city, or 5,058 fewer FDWs than the tally by the end of July.

Immigration officials found there were 2,800 fewer Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong last month compared to July data, or 198,625 helpers from the Philippines overall.

There were also 147,971 Indonesian workers recorded in August, with the population declining by 2,098.

Hong Kong sources most of its FDWs from the Philippines and Indonesia, but passenger flights from the two countries have been barred from landing in Hong Kong since April and June respectively due to their domestic Covid-19 situation.

Vaccinated FDWs were allowed entry on Aug. 26, but two airlines were ordered from operating Manila-Hong Kong flights after Covid-19 cases were detected among passengers on board.

Thomas Chan, chairperson of Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies, said recruitment companies are worried that the city will ban flights from the Philippines anew.

“Given the infected case among new arrivals, we are worried the door might [be] closed again soon,” he told Hong Kong News.

Chan hopes that the Philippine government will look into and implement their proposal to suspend institutions with “careless” Covid-19 tests, as Hong Kong requires negative test results upon arrival.

“Only by strict and reliable testing, then we can convince [Hong Kong] government to keep allowing people in,” he explained.