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Hong Kong Shocked by Rising Fees for Domestic Workers from Indonesia

Currently Hong Kong is in an uproar regarding the rising cost of hiring domestic workers (PRT) from Indonesia. An uproar broke out among employers who objected and also among Indonesian migrant workers (PMI) who were concerned about the negative response of their employers at home after paying more to employ them.

RTHK reported that the Asian Migrant Placement Company (Aspataki) officials came to Hong Kong to socialize the additional costs that would be charged to employers if they took domestic workers from Indonesia. “An Indonesian recruiters union on Wednesday (2/8/2023) said the cost of hiring Indonesian domestic workers to work in Hong Kong would increase by around HK$5,000 after the government in Jakarta established new rules,” wrote RTHK.

"Under the new rules, employers must pay local agency fees, which are equivalent to a month's salary for a maid," wrote RTHK.

The rule went into effect last year, but Aspataki's Secretary General, Filius Yandono, said employers in Hong Kong only started complying with it this year. “That's why we wanted to come to Hong Kong to discuss this regulation. We hope that all employers… [will work] together to protect migrant workers,” Filius said, as quoted by RTHK.

McLean Ng, who runs a domestic worker agency in Hong Kong, said the Concrete Affairs Department of Labor should explain the regulations clearly to employers. As a result of the Indonesian Government's new policy, he noted that many employers are now looking for domestic workers from other countries, such as the Philippines.

However, Ng said domestic workers from Indonesia still had an advantage. Because, many of them are able to speak Cantonese and can communicate with their parents.

“In Hong Kong, most people hire Indonesian [domestic workers] because they need to take care of their parents. Because most elderly people in Hong Kong don't speak English very well, they may have difficulty communicating with domestic workers on a daily basis,” he said.

The Ministry of Manpower said that it had contacted the Indonesian Consulate General in Hong Kong regarding this matter. It was also said that officials had previously made it clear to the Indonesian Government representative in Hong Kong that any adjustments to the policy on sending Indonesian domestic workers should avoid significantly increasing their recruitment costs. If not, it could impact on their reduced job opportunities in Hong Kong.

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