Beijing may open door to foreign maids

BEIJING • The authorities in Beijing are considering changes to the rules on foreign domestic workers, which would make it easier for overseas talent to settle in the Chinese capital.

The city's Commission of Commerce has said departments are weighing a proposal to offer work and residential permits to the maids of foreign executives as well as some workers from Hong Kong and Macau.

Permits would last as long as their contracts, and employers would have to provide personal guarantees, the authority said.

Only Shanghai now permits foreign domestic workers in its Pudong district.

China prohibited individuals from hiring foreigners in 1996. The sole exception is diplomats, who may bring staff with them from overseas.

To circumvent the law, foreign maids, mainly from the Philippines, often arrive on tourist visas. When they expire, they either apply for an extension or try to obtain a business visa.

The demand for housemaids has been rising in big cities and people are willing to pay higher fees for better service, said Mr Bi Guoxing of 58 Daojia, an agency for a range of services, including cleaning and domestic services.

Mr Bi said he is getting more inquiries about Filipino maids, who are viewed as trustworthy, industrious and well-educated. The unhappiness over the work of local housemaids has also added to their popularity.

But Mr Bi said the agency cannot provide Filipino maids because of the prohibition against individuals hiring foreigners.

He said the company provides Chinese domestic workers who have been trained by Filipino maids, but with salaries slightly higher than that of an untrained local housemaid.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'Beijing may open door to foreign maids'. Print Edition | Subscribe