Lei urges locals to consider hiring mainland maids

2021-03-31 03:40     Comment:0

Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong yesterday urged local residents who are in need of a domestic helper to consider hiring those from the mainland – due to the fact that foreign nationals without a Macau ID card have, in general, been barred from entering Macau since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lei made the remarks when replying to oral interpellations by several lawmakers during a plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle.

Most local residents who need a domestic helper prefer to hire someone from Southeast Asia as their salaries are lower than those from the mainland.

Lei pointed out that locals are currently able to hire domestic helpers from nine provinces and autonomous regions in the mainland, more than before, namely Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Sichuan.

The central government launched a pilot scheme in late 2013 allowing Macau residents to hire domestic helpers from Guangdong and Fujian, before the scheme was extended to include seven more provinces and autonomous regions in late 2018.

Different from foreign domestic helpers, local residents must provide mainland domestic helpers with live-in accommodation. Only those aged between 35 and 55 can be hired as domestic helpers in Macau from the mainland.

Several lawmakers noted that employers in Macau can only opt for mainland domestic helpers from nine provinces and autonomous regions, calling for more provinces to be included.

The mainland comprises 22 provinces, four municipalities and five autonomous regions.

Lei replied that the Macau government has been discussing the matter with more mainland provinces, with the aim of enabling Macau residents to “have more choices” for the hiring of domestic helpers.

Lei also said that the number of mainland domestic helpers employed in Macau has increased from 496 at the end of 2019 to 658 now.

According to data from the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), Macau’s number of non-resident workers hired as domestic helpers stood at 28,938 at the end of February including 658 mainlanders, 16,120 Filipinos, 6,195 Vietnamese, 4,123 Indonesians and 1,555 Myanmarese, as well as three domestic helpers from Hong Kong and 18 from Taiwan.

At the end of February, Macau’s number of non-resident workers stood at 175,196.

According to the amended law on the employment of non-resident workers, which came into effect last year, those who lost their job here cannot be directly hired in Macau but must first return to their home country for a period of time. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic foreign nationals without a local residency permit have been barred from entering Macau since March last year. This means that non-resident workers who lost their job in the wake of the pandemic are unable to return to Macau and neither can they be hired locally.

Several lawmakers suggested yesterday that the government should allow laid-off non-resident workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 so that they could travel to the mainland and then return to Macau for a new job.

Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong (centre, upper row) addresses yesterday’s plenary session in the Legislative Assembly’s (AL) hemicycle.

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