Some Chinese citizens are apparently upset over the news of China making it legal for Filipino household workers to offer services in five cities. This is a sigh of relief for several Filipino maids who are already working in the country illegally.
Chinese embassy officials recently visited the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment to discuss the possibility of making it possible for Filipino household service workers to work in China. Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say told The Philippine Star the proposed trial measure would start in five cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, and the maids would be paid a monthly salary of around 13,000 yuan ($1,930).
“We talked about the possibility of hiring Filipino workers in China,” said the undersecretary.
He also mentioned a delegation from China was soon going to visit the Philippines for further negotiations.
Filipino maids are generally known for being really professional, thus they are highly paid around the world. However, in China these overseas workers are banned. The fact that Chinese citizens who want to opt for Filipino household service workers but aren’t allowed to, has opened doors for a black market.
Agents help bring Filipino maids to mainland China, usually through Hong Kong on business visas, and then they connect them with wealthy families. The wealthy families want to hire these workers not just because of their skill craft but also because it is reportedly a status symbol to hire a Filipina.
Many of the workers are also proficient in English, so some Chinese people want to hire them to improve their children's English.
However for some Chinese citizens, this is a matter of concern.
“Why can domestic workers from the Philippines obtain such a high salary while we normal Chinese only earn little per month?” one netizen wrote on Weibo.
“Isn’t the country supposed to raise salaries for its citizens first and then import foreign workers?” asked another one.
But a number of people believe the government lifting restrictions for Filipinos to work in mainland China won’t matter as such because those workers would chose Hong Kong, as the city protects household workers through established mechanisms.
“But even though the wages are better, it has been difficult to recruit domestic workers to work on the mainland. There is an established system in place in Hong Kong in terms of recruitment, but not across the border. Besides this, domestic workers find it difficult to make friends there,” explained Teresa Liu Tsui-lan, managing director of Technic Employment Service Centre in Hong Kong.
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