Domestic Helpers
Domestic Helpers

One of the major advantages of living in Hong Kong is the wide availability of the live-in domestic helper, facilitated by the fact that many apartments come with maid’s quarters. Most expatriate families employ a part-time or full-time maid. Thai, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Chinese and Indian maids are available, but there are many more Filipino helpers available. There are government guidelines for hiring a helper.

In addition to housing, you should provide for the following; see the Labour Department for more information.

  • Food allowance.
  • Annual airfare home for helpers from overseas.
  • Insurance Policy

Employment Contract information booklet is available from:

Labour Department 16/F, Harbour Building 38 Pier Building Central
Tel: 2717 1771

Immigration Department 2/F Immigration Tower 7 Gloucester Road Wan Chai Hong Kong
Tel: 2824 6111

Find a Domestic Helper

Begin your search for a domestic helper by asking friends and neighbors for referrals. The traditional way is through employment agencies who promise to do all of the tedious paperwork and help to find the perfect fit for your family. However, many of them have been heavily criticized for overcharging helpers and using unethical practices. We recommend you check out the for a practical guide to hiring a helper and our Agency of choice is Fair Employment Agency.

Look at ads posted in your local grocery store, or websites such as:

Amah Net Tel: 2869 9330

Maid for You Tel: 9167 2737

Trumpline Consultants For caregivers, nannies and helpers
Tel: 2479 0298

Overseas Employment Services Centre
Tel: 2524 6195
Hong Kong, Kowloon, New Territories and Macau.

Technic Employment Service Tel (Central):
2522 6162
Central and Kowloon.

There is also a Facebook group called 'Hong Kong Helpers' for employers looking for a helper, recommending a helper or with questions about helper issues. Send a request to the group administrator to join this group.

Find a Domestic Helper

Hiring Domestic Helper

Any Hong Kong Resident who can satisfy the following can employ a Foreign Domestic Helper if:

  • he/she is financially capable of employing an FDH;
  • he/she has entered into a Standard Employment Contract(ID407) as specified by the Director of Immigration with the prospective helper;
  • he/she will require the prospective helper to perform domestic duties only;
  • he/she will not allow or require the prospective helper to take up any employment with any other person during the contractual period as specified in the employment contract;
  • he/she will pay the helper a salary no less than the minimum allowable wage as announced by the HKSAR Government (as of 9/30/15 it is $4,210);
  • he/she will let the helper work and reside at the contractual address only;
  • he/she will provide the helper with decent accommodation and suitable privacy;
  • he/she is a bona fide resident in Hong Kong and the bona fides of him/her and the prospective helper are not in doubt;
  • he/she has no adverse record in respect of employment of FDH.

You will need

  • Proof of residence Copy of the your last 3 months’ salary slips OR 3 months’ bank statements OR a letter from your employer guaranteeing that you make a certain amount each year

You will also need the following information:

  • The approximate size of your home
  • The approximate size of the maid’s quarter
  • The number of bedrooms in your home (excluding the maid’s quarter)
  • The employer's nationality
  • Average monthly household income
  • The employer's phone number & email address
  • The FULL name, year of birth and HKID (if applicable) of the family members residing in your home
  • The salary that you agreed upon with the helper

You will also need 650HKD for processing fees. Points to bear in mind:

  • The Filipina (or Thai) woman’s position in Hong Kong is a vulnerable one. They usually pay (or borrow) a king’s ransom in bribes and taxes to get out of the Philippines and come here to work. Once in Hong Kong, they are subject to the whim of their employer, who has the power to fire them and make it virtually impossible for them to get another job. They are allowed two weeks to find another job in Hong Kong before the Immigration Department forces them to return to the Philippines usually penniless and often in debt.
  • Naturally, this makes the process of choosing a new employer a very serious endeavour for them. The helper will look for a calmness and consistency in your manner and a willingness on your part to treat them kindly. The size of your house or apartment, the number of children you have, and their room will also be factors. Also, don’t be surprised if she shows up with a friend in tow for the interview. They often bring along a friend for moral support and as a second opinion. Make sure, however, the person you are interviewing actually does most of the talking.
  • Before the interview, take sufficient time to clearly understand your own needs, and make as complete a list as possible of what specific skills you require. Determine what is more important: A clean house? Spending time with the children? Excellent cooking skills? Make sure these things are made clear before you hire a helper. Then periodically review your expectations with your helper. In our experience, most problems arise as a result of poor communication and unclear goals. A good way to over come this is to write daily, weekly and monthly “to do” lists for your helpers.

Issues to Consider at the Interview

  • Age – Depending on the age of your children, you may want to consider getting a younger helper who can “keep up” with them. On the other hand, older helpers may have more childcare experience.
  • Children – What is their past experience with children? What were their ages? Were there any special needs involved? Get them to give you specific instances and to explain what special skills this child required.
  • Common Sense – Look for someone who thinks for herself – A helper must be able to deal with the unpredictable domestic crisis – large and small – when it occurs. If she can’t work without constant direction, you will go crazy. How do you judge in a half-hour interview? Don’t ask “what if…” questions. Ask her if she can tell you of an instance where her employer asked her to do something and she discovered there was a problem. How did she solve it? Ask her was there an instance where her employer was out or unreachable and there was a problem? What did she do?
  • Culinary Skills – If cooking is your priority, have them cook something at the interview. Do they cook Western and Asian dishes? Are you planning to do a lot of entertaining at home? If so, do you require your helper to cater such events or serve food ordered from catering companies? Ask the applicant what dishes they cook the best or what is their favorite meal to prepare.
  • Emergency Situations- What would they do in an emergency? Give them a situation, such as, the child gets scalded with hot water while the parents are away. What would they do? Would she call anyone, does she have first aid experience, would she take the child to the hospital, etc.
  • Extra Skills – Do they have special skills, such as sewing, nursing, accounting, etc.? Are there any special needs that you and your family require?
  • Good References – This cannot be stressed too strongly. If you are told the employer has already left Hong Kong, get an overseas phone number for them and call it. If she doesn’t have the number, ask for the name and number of an employer’s friend who was in a position to have seen the helper at work. A good indication of a desirable helper is a person who has stayed with one family long term, completing more than one term of contract with that family.
  • Length of Stay (Past and Future) – How long have they been here? How much longer are they going to stay in Hong Kong? Do they have plans to go back home or to move to another country? Someone who has been here for a period of time will know her way around, where the markets and stores are, and the right buses to take. This can be a real asset if you are new to Hong Kong yourself.
  • Pets – Has she cared for them before? She may never have cared for them before and might even fear them.
  • Travel – Are they willing to travel with the family on home leave?