Many Hong Kong families can enjoy their careers and leisure as domestic workers help them take care of the housework. Photo: iStock

A 22-minute television program produced by TVB, Hong Kong’s largest free television channel by audience, showed how some families are suffering from a shortage of foreign domestic workers.

A young mother named Jo, who used to work as a secretary in a foreign firm, has been taking care of her family since her family moved away from her father-in-law a year ago. Every day she becomes exhausted from doing housework, and the family has been reduced to eating frozen foods every day.

She said she had been searching for a domestic helper for several months but no candidate had come forward.

In another case, a couple who operate their own religious-products shop lost their leisure time when their domestic helper, Wisini, returned to Indonesia in October after serving the family for 14 years. Although their children now are old enough not to be a burden, taking care of the housework has put a lot of pressure on their lifestyle.

After their maid left, they found that they did not even know how to use many of their home appliances. The couple searched for a domestic worker near a church attended by Filipinos but they got no response after sending out 50 leaflets.

A couple named Joe and Vivian, who worked as a secondary-school teacher and a human-resource officer respectively, went into a panic after their Indonesian maid decided not to return to Hong Kong six months ago.

To take care of their five-year-old son and household chores, the couple are now paying a Hongkonger HK$14,000 a month to work from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

The Hong Kong government has failed to support working couples in the city, Lai Yuk-king, a professional consultant at the department of social work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, was quoted as saying on the TV program, which was broadcast in Cantonese on December 10.

There are about 360,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, who mainly come from the Philippines and Indonesia.

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