HK Families Want More Filipino Nursing Graduates to Care For Elderly

With one of the world’s rapidly aging population, Hong Kong families are willing to offer higher wages to Filipino nursing graduates to take care of their elderly family members, a recruitment specialist told Hong Kong News.

Kitman Cheung, CEO of Overseas Employment Centre (Hong Kong and Macau), said they had been seeking Filipinos who completed their nursing degrees to offer them at least $5,000 to serve as caregivers to the elderly and the sick.

“We have started deploying Filipinos as caregivers nine months ago, and we have deployed more than 20 already.”

But Cheung said there is not enough nursing graduates their Philippine counterpart can provide.

“They promised us nursing graduates, but in fact, no, they give us caregivers only or those who have six-month training,” Cheung said.

As a result, he said deployment has slowed down as they could not offer the HK$5,000 salary to those who are not nursing graduates.

“Our agreement states that we would be deploying nursing graduates, school graduates and there’s no need for them to have experience, and no need for them to have passed the examination…and if we pay $5,000, but other agencies, they pay just over $4,400, we can not compete,” Cheung said.

Both Consul-General Bernardita Catalla and Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre viewed the possible deployment of Filipino caregivers in Hong Kong as a positive deployment.

“I think it’s going to be a thing of the future…This is a prospect that has been discussed because of the aging population here.

“This is good for Filipinos because this requires specialized skills and Filipinos are known to be very good carers because we have tender loving care. Our nurses overseas are known for that. Filipino nurses are preferred because of that,” Catalla said, adding that the Philippine government should prepare for such opportunity.

Dela Torre said Filipinos who wish to work in Hong Kong as caregivers could earn higher wages.

“The moment they announce it as official policy, we will pursue it because that’s good for the [Filipino] community. This means [Filipinos’] skills as caregivers will be officially recognized and therefore they will be compensated higher,” he said.

One thing that’s uncertain, if the deployment for Overseas Employment Centre is an indicator, is whether Filipino nursing graduates would be willing to work as caregivers in Hong Kong.

The research office of the Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Secretariat has said a third of the city’s population would be over the age of 60 by 2034. Latest data also showed Hong Kong’s population had the longest life expectancy in the world, 87 for women, and 81 for men, which could mean the city’s labor force would shrink.