With Hong Kong’s aging population, the demand for caregivers has been steadily rising in recent years. While there are domestic helpers who are actually doing the jobs of caregivers, they could actually get paid more if they had the skills and experience working in this field.
Starting with contracts signed on September 29, domestic helpers in Hong Kong will receive a minimum allowable wage of $4,520 (Php30,300) per month; this had been increased by 2.5% from the previous rate.
Now, there are already a number of these domestic helpers who are caring for elderly employers but because they lack training and certification as caregivers, they only get the domestic helpers’ salary rate.
But caregivers in Hong Kong are paid an average of HK$7,000 (Php47,000) a month. The salary could even reach to HK$8,000 (Php53,700) for those who know how to speak Cantonese or Mandarin, have additional skills and certifications, and have longer experience as caregiver.
During the graduation ceremony of around 100 domestic helpers from a caregiver training program held by Active Global Specialized Caregivers at the Bayanihan Centre in Kennedy Town last December 2, Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre congratulated the graduates and told them they made the right choice.
“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,” Dela Torre 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.”
The agency trains Filipinos to become caregivers and help them find jobs in Hong Kong.
“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,” explained recruitment industry leader in the Philippines and Active Global’s partner, Alfredo Palmiery.
But only those who are nursing graduates or those holding an NC II (National Certificate II) for caregiving from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are qualified to work as caregivers in Hong Kong.
Thus, he encourages those planning to earn more money as caregivers to undergo the training program and obtain the NC II.
“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 added.
Active Global HK Branch Manager Steven Chiu revealed that families are willing to pay caregivers more than the rates for domestic helpers because they are already getting a ‘huge discount’. Nursing homes in Hong Kong charge as high as HK$20,000 (Php134,200) a month!