Filipino maids in HK protest fees

  • AseanPlus News
  • Monday, 04 Oct 2004

HONG KONG: More than 200 Filipino maids protested outside their government's consulate-general here yesterday, denouncing its contract and passport fees as a threat to their families' livelihoods, police and an organiser said. 

The workers chanted slogans criticising the HK$212.50 (RM103.50) charge for authenticating maid contracts and its HK$425 (RM207) passport fee, said protest organiser Eman Villanueva. 

He called the authentication fee “a moneymaking scheme” because Hong Kong immigration officials do not require the contracts of foreign maids to be authenticated, while the passport fee is much higher than the HK$100 (RM49) charged in the Philippines. 

Overseas Filipino workers provide a critical cash flow to their home economy by sending money to their family members. Villanueva said maids in Hong Kong already make “barely enough” to support their families and the high fees add an unnecessary burden. 

Foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong make a minimum wage of HK$3,270 (RM1,590) a month. 

Villanueva said the protesters also demanded that the Philippine Consulate-General drop a proposal to close on Sundays – the maids' only day off. 

Police spokeswoman Carrie So confirmed the peaceful protest but declined to provide a crowd estimate. – AP  

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