Live Out or Live In for Helper in Hong Kong

Live Out or Live In for Helper in Hong Kong


14 Aug 2020 | 5 min read

In Hong Kong, there is a rule that covers all the foreign domestic helpers. This is that all the Foreign Domestic Helpers have to live in their employers premises. This is a rule that was enforced as a way of ensuring that these foreign helpers are well taken care of considering the high cost of living in Hong Kong. Considering the amount of money they make, the government ascertained that it would not be wise for them to live on their own or stay out. This rule has also been put in place to ensure these helpers are not taken advantage of by their employers. There are many rules and rights that guard them, but this specific one comes in handy to ensure the rights are reinforced. Live out is not allowed!

The Live-in rule

The live in rule was passed in 2003 and has been in effect since then. This rule states that all foreign domestic helpers are required to be provided with living arrangements by their employers. Before this the employers only had the helpers write in a contract that they lived outside and all was well. There was no in living requirement for any helpers. From now, no matter the type of work, any helper must be provided with living arrangements by the employer. Provide suitable accommodation with reasonable privacy in his own residence is a must for people hiring a domestic helper.

Critiques and Live Out Claim

After the enactment of the law, many people have found fault with it. Many people have come forward with the claim that the law puts too much pressure on the employer-employee relationship. The major reason is that there is little space in the house hence this reduces the privacy in the house. This in turn may end up reducing the level of respect that is required in between the two. It may also end up brewing another type of relationship that may be problematic. The other reason is some helpers may be undergoing abuse from their employers whereas they are playing an essential role. It has been noticed that some of the employers have ended up treating them as servants and not as any other employee you may have. Therefore the best way forward has been seen as abolishing the rule but live out is still forbidden.

The Cons of the Stay Out Rule

There are however others who have seen the good of this rule. This rule was initially in place so as to help the foreign helpers have an easier life in. For most this may not a big deal. However, for a foreign helper, with no help around having some help is one major thing. Because of the law, this was an assured requirement for anybody in this line of work. There is also the reduced risk in the safety of the helper in a new city and also the pressure of the living cost. The fact the employers were expected to provide a place from the helper was something major. This is very helpful to any foreigner who found themselves in this country.

The Consequences of not Following the Law - Live Out is Forbidden!

Many people may not think much of the law but many people have ended up in the wrong side of the law and in trouble with the Immigration office because of it. The helpers may end up being deported! In some more extreme case deported and banned from any form of employment in the country again. The employers on the other side may end up getting some hefty fines or even jail time. This can be a maximum fine or HK$150,000 or up to 14 years in jail! If an employer breaches the undertaking, his future application to employ foreign domestic helpers may also be refused.

The Next Move

Make the right arrangements for the helper to start living in their houses is mandatory. Even if they did this with the view of being fair to the helper or wanting more space between the employer and the employee, explaining to the helper the whole scenario and having them move back in is the best move. Avoiding any issues with the Immigration department is one major thing that comes in very handy. Everybody should also ensure that they have the right information and know exactly where they stand and what the law says about the whole situation. This ends up making it very easy for everybody to adjust to the rule and make the best out of everything.