As demand for elderly care services surges in Hong Kong, around 100 domestic workers recently graduated a training program aimed to address the city’s aging population.
Active Global Specialized Caregivers held the graduation ceremony of its training program at the Bayanihan Centre in Kennedy Town on December 2, according to Hong Kong News.
The training program targeted domestic workers who currently care for elderly persons or those who wish to upgrade their skills.
“I’d like to congratulate all of you for having this aspiration to become better caregivers by undergoing this training course of Active Global,” Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said during the graduation ceremony.
“This is a very welcome opportunity for you because, as you know, the Hong Kong government may soon, in fact they have already announced it last year, accept caregivers to Hong Kong,” he said.
“Take care of the old people of Hong Kong. Your salaries will be much higher than domestic helpers. All over the world, societies are ageing so your services will be very much in demand. It’s very timely for you and I congratulate you,” he added.
Speaking of salaries, caregivers from Active Global HK can earn between HK$5,000 and HK$7,000, said Steven Chiu, its Hong Kong branch manager. Salary could go higher to HK$8,000 if the caregiver has additional skills, long years of experience, or knows Mandarin or Cantonese, he added.
There are about 200 caregivers recruited from the Philippines into Hong Kong. Their visas, though, are still categorized as domestic workers. Such workers’ advantage is that they focus on specialization by taking care of the old and sick.
“They will not do the household chores in the house,” said Alfredo Palmiery, a recruitment industry leader in the Philippines and Active Global’s partner. But since the job is not easy, Palmiery advised those who wish to apply to acquire a National Certificate II (NC II) for caregiving from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), especially if they are not nursing graduates.
The training is conducted at the Bayanihan every weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lasts for around 5 months.
According to Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong said in November 2017 that Hong Kong would need a total 600,000 domestic helpers in the next 30 years due to the city’s ageing population.
Although the salary for caregivers is higher than domestic workers, it is still at a discount compared to bringing the elderly to nursing homes in Hong Kong. Admittance to such institutions can cost between HK$8,000 to HK$20,000 a month, Chiu said.