China and the Philippines reach an agreement to introduce 300,000 Filipino workers
According to the local media, Gulf News’ report, Philippine Labor Minister Bello III said the Philippine government has signed an agreement with the Chinese government. The Chinese government will liberalize restrictions on foreign labour workers and is expected to introduce 300,000 Filipino workers, including 100,000 English teachers. In addition, China also hopes to introduce Filipino chefs, carers, housekeeping staff, musical performers, and nurses. Bello III also said, the salary of a Philippine teacher is setting to USD1,500 (approximately RMB 9,422), but had not disclosed salaries of other occupations of Philippine labour workers. Philippine is one of the largest exporting labour in the world. According to the Philippine official statistics, as of the end of 2013, there are nearly 10.5 million Filipinos working abroad. They may have acquired the status of a local citizen, or they may just be the short-term workers. There are 3.53 million Filipinos are working in United States where is the most received Filipinos in the world. It is approximately 2.4 million Philippine labors worked overseas in 2015. The foreign exchange income they have brought to the Philippines is about RMB 6.3 billions. Overseas workers have made huge revenues for the Philippines. For Filipinos working abroad, Chinese are most familiar with the Filipino maids.Philippine labors are introduced to work in Hong Kong as maids since 1970. Afterwards Chinese carried out the open policy, the communications between Mainland and Hong Kong is increasing, the concepts of Filipino maids is popular in Mainland too. As if Filipino maid is a Hong Kong fashionable word and it is regarded as a symbol of class. Actually, the minimum requirement to employ a Filipino maid is not high in Hong Kong. Under the Hong Kong Government’s directives, Hong Kong citizen may employ a maid if his/her monthly salaries is $15,000 HKD or above and is able to pay $4,410 or above salary per month in two years. However, the term of Filipino maid is not accurate because many maids in Hong Kong nowaday are coming from other South-east countries, e.g. Indonesia. The Hong Kong government documents stated these people as foreign domestic helpers. Nearly 350,000 foreign domestic helpers have been employed in Hong Kong. Such a large group of people has formed an uniqueculture in Hong Kong. Every Sunday,these helpers willbe gatheringin public areas such as Central and Wanchai, laying cardboard boxesfor sitting, chatting, sharing food and enjoying a weekly holiday. However, the relationship between employers and these helpers is not so harmonious. In 2014,a Indonesia helper was found suffering from wounds. After investigation, Hong Kong police confirmed that this helper’s female employer hadbeaten and tortured her with hangers and wooden sticks. The New York Times quoted Amnesty International reportedthat foreign domestic helpers were vulnerable to abuse by employers, Indonesian recruitment agencies, and the Hong Kong resettlement department. Some employers aredissatisfied with their helpers. Support Group for HK Employers receivedmore than1000 complaints and enquiriesagainstthe performance of the helpersinevery year. The mostcommon problems are falsely reporting price when buying food, playing mobile phones while working, even when they agreedto terminate the contract, the helpers always allegedthat they were fired unreasonably. In recent year, foreign domestic helpers trend to go to Mainland China forfindingwork opportunities. Report from Yangcheng Evening News, the wages of Filipino domestic helper in Guangzhou can reach $5,000 to $6,500. As it is much higher than the Hong Kong level, more and more foreign domestic helpers havecome to the Mainland. However Chinese government doesnot allow Chinese families to hire foreign domestic helpers.Only Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or foreigners living in China mayhirethe helpers. Therefore many foreign domestic helpers work illegallyin China. They usetourist visas to enter China and then find employers through local agenciesillegally. After the agreement between the Chinese government and the Philippineshas been signed, it maybe possibleto secure thelegal status forthese illegal Filipino domestic helpers. In the agreement, both parties alsostated that they will providetraining to helpersto let them better adapt to Chinese culture and social norms. The Philippine also provides a list of official certified agencies tohelpers who want to work in China. Bello III believedthat China hashuge demand for Filipino domestic helpers. “Chinese hope their children can speak in English...families need the helpers who can speak in English, can enhance children to learn English. Of course, China has also hadan aging problem.” Currently,these Filipino helpers were restrictedto work in 5 China citiesonly, including Beijing and Shanghai.