Domestic workers in Central, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times

Employment agencies in China have been contacting Hong Kong agencies in a bid to lure maids to work illegally on the mainland for a higher salary, a Hong Kong broadcaster reported this week.

The report appeared on TVB on Monday. Working for a mainland Chinese family could fetch a monthly salary of around HK$15,000 (US$1,910), compared with the HK$4,310 (US$552) a domestic worker would receive in Hong Kong, a mainland agency said.

The agency said its staff would also ask people who are already working on the mainland to try to persuade their friends in Hong Kong to make the same move.

Leung Hing-ki, chairman of the Hong Kong TKI Association, a group that provides support to Indonesian domestic helpers, said the Chinese agencies would help the maids they recruit to get a tourist visa first. When the maid arrives on the mainland, she works illegally for the family who takes her in.

Except in Shanghai, Chinese law prohibits individuals from hiring foreigners. Last year, Shanghai began offering work and residential permits to the domestic workers of foreign executives as well as some workers from Hong Kong and Macau, China Daily reported.

Meanwhile, some domestic workers have been forced by their Hong Kong employers to work on the mainland.

Leung said that according to a recent court case, a Hong Kong employer hired a Filipino domestic worker but she was taken to China to work for a mainland woman who was the employer’s cousin.

In that case, the employer and the head of an employment agency involved in the job arrangement were arrested by Hong Kong police for conspiracy to defraud and were jailed.

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