While their main priority is to bring food to their families’ tables back home, they do so much more for everyone who lives and works here in Hong Kong.
Household workers, though socially discriminated against in most parts of the world, are often the steady backbone of a country’s economy, as their hard work and presence allow both parents to work while they take care of the home.
Here’s What Hong Kong’s Foreign Domestic Workers Bring in to the Table
Last year, migrant domestic workers have contributed $12 billion to Hong Kong’s economy, in part by making it possible for more women to join the workforce according to a new study, as shared in a report by Asia Times.
Based on the report, the city receives more economic benefit from imported labour than either Singapore or Malaysia.
Based on the report, The Value of Care: Key Contributions of Migrant Domestic Workers to Economic Growth and Family Wellbeing in Asia, the economic gain contributed by foreign workers accounted for 3.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.
Accordingly, the study estimated that there are over 21 million domestic workers in Asia and the Pacific alone.
A quantitative report on the economic statuses of domestic workers were explored in terms of pay (in local rates), the value of the population’s spending, as well as the value of freed up time given to their employers.
Freed up value refers to the benefits from having two sources of income per household, once women are able to rejoin the workforce.
By enabling more women to participate in the workforce, migrant workers indirectly gave an added boost worth $2.6 billion to Hong Kong’s economy.
The Hong Kong government cannot discount the benefits brought by having migrant workers to cover the demands in each household, and has even forecasted that as many as 600,000 domestic workers will be needed in the city by 2047, partly due to an ageing population, as well as a shortage in local care workers.
Despite all the benefits this population brings, the study reveals that a large majority of migrants in Hong Kong (83%) have existing debts here and back home.
This just goes to show that these workers lack the capabilities to manage their finances properly, or are generally not earning enough in terms of the cost of living in the city, and in consideration of the remittances they have to make to support their families back home.