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Filipino maids clean up with top dollars

[ 2010-05-17 14:05]     字号 [] [] []  
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The number of domestic helpers from the Philippines who are working in Beijing has risen sharply recently, but many are in the country illegally, a local newspaper has reported.

The Mirror Evening Newspaper said Filipino housekeepers are in demand among the city's wealthy families.

But it said the hiring is essentially carried out under the table.

"Most Chinese people get to know about Filipino domestic helpers through films from Hong Kong," said an anonymous boss of an intermediary agency. "But now, more and more are coming to the mainland, especially the major cities including Beijing and Shanghai, where the rich people cluster.

"And the employers in Beijing are less picky than those in Hong Kong, which is another thing that appeals to the workers."

However, instead of getting work visas, most Filipino maids enter the city with visas that should be used by business owners and tourists, while others are smuggled into the country, meaning they are illegal workers, the report said.

The reason many begin working in the capital without official papers is that they want to avoid paying taxes, the report also said.

Housekeeping agencies will usually offer a business invitation to Filipino maids.

Because business visas expire after a year, the maids must return to the Philippines each year and stay there for a month or two before they can apply for another visa and return to Beijing, the report said.

The cost of traveling home is usually paid by their employers, the report said.

Although the workers are usually in China illegally, the fact that there is such demand for them means they usually work at the high end of the market, the report said, pointing out that they usually earn much more than their domestic peers.

While a homegrown domestic maid can earn about 1,500 to 2,000 yuan a month in Beijing, a Filipino maid can earn three times that, said an agency worker, surnamed Gao.

"They can get more if they can drive or teach the children English," Gao told the newspaper.

Employers do not usually sign contracts with their Filipino maids but simply pay the agencies that supplied them. The maids get their wages after the agencies deduct a commission.

The absence of contracts means employers will not be charged if Filipino maids are found to be working illegally.

Yin Fuqiang, a lawyer from the Longan Law Firm, said such working relationships are very risky.

"Once any dispute occurs, such as maids being abused or employers having property stolen, neither side will be able to get any legal protection," he said.


1. Who is in demand among Beijing’s wealthy families?

2. How are the maids entering China?

3. Why do they get paid more than their domestic peers?


1. Domestic helpers from the Philippines.

2. Most enter the city with business visas, some are smuggled into the country, meaning they are illegal workers.

3. A Filipino maid can earn three times a Chinese one, especially if they can drive or teach the children English.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Filipino maids clean up with top dollars

About the broadcaster:

Filipino maids clean up with top dollars

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.