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Managing labour migration: The case of the Filipino and Indonesian domestic helper market in Hong Kong 25

Arrival dates: Trends in the year respondents first arrived in Hong Kong were captured under the working assumption that FDHs are more vulnerable and likely to encounter employment problems during their first contract in-country. The data obtained suggest that Filipinos have been working in-country longer than Indonesians. Fourteen (14) Filipino respondents reported themselves to have arrived in Hong Kong prior to 1995 – in contrast to one Indonesian. Notably, over 75 percent of Indonesians surveyed arrived within the past five years (see Chart 3). This may be a reflection of both the increased demand for Indonesian maids in Hong Kong as well as a selection bias in sampling - shelters were targeted during the administering of this survey in addition to locations frequented by FDHs on their rest days.

Chart 3 25

Trends in FDH Arrival Year in Hong Kong

Number of

15

FDHs

10

20

5

0

Before 1990

1990-

1995-

1994

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Year of First Contract Arrival

Filipinos

Indonesians

Note: n=159; 78 Filipinos and 81 Indonesians

Source: PAE-FDH Survey

6.2 Pre-departure: Required interactions with migration infrastructures

Recruitment and placement: All Indonesian FDHs surveyed secured their employment in Hong Kong through a private recruitment agency. This is in line with current Indonesian legislation which prohibits direct hiring. By contrast, 28 percent (n=74) of Filipinos directly applied or were referred to their employers. Filipinos’ continued enjoyment of the direct hire process may reflect their well-established labor migration networks.

While the survey did not capture sources of direct hire or referrals, two Filipino respondents noted that their mother or sister recommended them for work in Hong Kong –one of which now shares an employer (and room) with her mother. Another

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