An online network that pairs foreign domestic workers with Hong Kong employers at no charge to the helper is celebrating the milestone of its 5,000th placement.
Faidza Utto from the Philippines yesterday became the 5,000th person to be served by HelperChoice, a website set up in 2012 by French woman Laurence Fauchon, who learnt about the unfair agency system when she employed a maid in Hong Kong after the birth of her child.
Utto, who came across HelperChoice thanks to the magic of Google, said, “I am so very thankful to have found my wonderful British family through HelperChoice.
“HelperChoice is such a good way to find an employer. I didn’t pay any placement fees and the processing is much faster than going through an agency. I can’t believe I’m finally here in Hong Kong!”
Unlike agencies that are known for charging foreign workers thousands of Hong Kong dollars which they must pay out of their more-than-modest HKD4,210 salaries for months on end, HelperChoice is free to use for helpers and only costs HKD290 a month for potential employers.
It’s basically a win-win, as the helpers avoid crippling debt, and responsible employers can enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with the knowledge that your lovely maid is not being exploited.
The service also seems to be super efficient, with 300 helpers being placed with families every month. Utto, for example, found her employers just a day after putting her profile online.
“It is a sad fact but it’s easy for helpers to get in debt before they even start work, because some agencies charge them a huge, illegal fee for placing them with an employer”, said Fauchon.
“I can’t believe we’ve reached this important milestone in just three years,” she added. “This proves that there is a real demand in Hong Kong for this type of ethical and socially responsible service. It’s time for disruption in this industry.”