THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON HONG KONG’S DOMESTIC HELPERS
by Yongjae Lee
Abstract – January 23rd, 2020, the first case of COVID19 was confirmed in Hong Kong. By March 2020, more than 130,000 citizens were unemployed, which is an increase of over 12,000 from the previous month. This is a 9-year record high for Hong Kong’s unemployment rate. The current situation in Hong Kong is putting much pressure on its citizens, but it brings even more pressure to the domestic helpers living in Hong Kong. They are migrant workers looking to be employed by local households to work as live-in maids. These “helpers” make up about 10% of Hong Kong’s working population, and are easily the most detrimentally affected by this pandemic—both financially and mentally. However, the Hong Kong government has not done an adequate job alleviating the stress for these domestic workers, which makes it harder for them to survive this pandemic. This paper aims to study the socioeconomic impact of this pandemic on migrant workers in Hong Kong, specifically the domestic helpers. It will also explore some of the key issues that these workers face, and suggest the ways that the local government can alleviate those problems.