Migrant workers warn job-hopping claim gives HK bad image
The group claims HK’s discriminatory policies make it less attractive to migrant workers

 A coalition of foreign domestic workers
organizations has called for an end to allegations of job-hopping, saying it
has tarnished Hong Kong’s image and makes it a less desirable destination for migrant
workers.

At a press conference held Thursday, Asian Migrants
Coordinating Body spokesperson Sringatin said, “If Hong Kong continues to impose
more restrictions on foreign domestic workers, I think people will leave Hong
Kong, this is reality.”

“It has to stop its anti-migrant policies because it
will only stop migrant domestic workers coming to Hong Kong, it also gives Hong
Kong a bad image.”

Sringatin added that there are many other countries
competing for the services of migrant workers like Singapore and Canada, so
Hong Kong should stop imposing restrictions that could turn them away.

The AMCB called the press briefing to denounce
renewed allegations of so-called job hopping by foreign domestic workers by an
employers’ group led by Betty Yung.

In recent interviews, Yung claimed that many FDWs
are terminating their contracts prematurely so they can move to employers who
give them better pay and do not make them do as much work.

Again, the migrant leaders slammed this as a myth,
saying it is ridiculous to suggest that FDWs would quit their jobs on a whim because
of Hong Kong’s policy forbidding them from switching employers when the
contract is prematurely terminated. 

FDWs whose contracts are terminated before the two-year
period is up are made to go home within 14 days, regardless of whether they
quit, or were sacked.

Sheila Tebia of Gabriela Hong Kong said most FDWs
are already mired in debt before they could even reach the city because of the
high fees charged by employment agencies so they would not give up on their jobs
so easily. When they do quit, it is usually because of the harsh or abusive working
condition in their employer’s household.

Tebia cited a 2023 report by the Mission for Migrant
Workers that showed that one out of three FDWs do not have a room in which to
rest, seven out of 10 reported working long hours, with many working more than
10 hours each day, or working even on their rest days; and more than one in ten
are made to do dangerous window-cleaning.

She also said that while it is true that many jobs
were lost in the aftermath of the pandemic in 2022, FDWs were among those who
bore the most brunt.

“If our situation is good, if our employer treat us
well, we will not leave,” said Tebia, citing the big number of FDWs who have
been working with the same employer for years.

Dolores Balladares of United Filipinos in Hong Kong
and also an AMCB spokesperson, said the 14-day rule for terminated FDWs alone is
enough to deter them from job switching, as they know they will have to go back
to their home countries and wait a long time before they can come back to work.

“This condition alone is enough to scare migrant
domestic workers,” said Balladares. “No MDW in her right mind would quit unless
it’s for a valid and urgent reason.”

Sringatin added that once a FDW is tagged as a
job-hopper there is also now the added fear that she or he won’t be allowed to
return to Hong Kong for work.

 

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