Should I go for a foreign domestic helper?
Foreign domestic helpers have become part of our everyday life and definitely contribute to making our lives easier and make it possible for many of us to have a full-time job in Hong Kong. No matter how convenient it is, there are a few things to keep in mind before making the leap. Ask yourself: What are my needs? How much do I value my privacy? Can I invest enough time in training (should that be necessary) and managing a full-time live-in helper? Obviously, everyone has different needs. And they keep changing. That’s a fact. It really depends on your situation – so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Can I hire a live-out foreign domestic helper?
You might think that hiring a live-out or part-time foreign domestic helper could do the trick, especially if you don’t need help 24/7 or if you are big on privacy – after all, hiring a foreign domestic helper means that someone you don’t know will move in with you. The answer is no as it is illegal for a foreign domestic helper not to live at her employer’s place. The same goes for hiring foreign part-timers. No matter how common those practices are.
What are my options then?
One common misconception is that there are no other options. That’s not true. It is perfectly legal to hire local domestic helpers to help with household chores for a few hours a week. Hong Kong Labour Department provides several online tools to help you in your search.
Certainly, finding a daycare centre is a bit of a challenge in Hong Kong, but alternatives do exist. Many nanny agencies all over Hong Kong can help you find the hidden gem (that’s also a great option if you are looking at hiring help for a short period). You might want to check out The Nanny Experts and Rent-A-Mum for additional information. Some of them even perform background checks.
If you are a mom-to-be and are weighing your options – especially for the first few weeks after baby’s birth, you could consider hiring a maternity nurse. Some agencies like Bamboos Professional Nursing Services specialize in the area. Another often overlooked option is confinement (no worries it’s not as bad as it sounds) i.e. being ‘confined’ (according to Chinese medicine it helps the body recuperate) while an experienced confinement nurse moves in and cares for you and your baby for about a month right after delivery.