What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Plentiful, but to have full time help that is affordable, help must live with you. Most helpers are from Indonesia and the Philippines, and you must sponsor their visa. Cost is roughly $800 USD a month. - Jun 2020


Minimum wage right now for full time live in domestic help is ~$550 USD/month. Domestic helpers are widely employed by expats and locals alike with the means to do so. Definitely look into the local labor laws before you come, and treat your help well. - Jul 2018


Yes, very plentiful and according to local government law, they need to be live in. There are all sorts of details about salary, food, and travel requirements online but since we didn't hire a helper, I am fuzzy on the details. - Apr 2016


Very good, cheap, easy to get (under Hong Kong law you must be the sole employer, house your household help, and pay him/her HK$5500 per month for full-time work). - Feb 2015


A domestic helper costs around 5,000 HKD per month and are a way of life here. If you have more than one young child, a domestic helper is a necessity. The whole society relies on the domestic helper system and there is an expectation that someone is always available to watch your children. I have two in school on opposite sides of the island and an infant who naps and I would be lost without our helper. Hong Kong is an incredibly inconvenient city to live in with young children--for example, even picking up a child from a play date is an ordeal. I spent over two hours last week picking up my son from a play date after school (long taxi ride plus traffic). Thank goodness I had a helper to get my daughter off her school bus and be with my infant while he napped. Having a full-time helper sounds more glamorous than it is . I was much more productive with three kids on my own in the U.S. than with three kids and a helper in Hong Kong. I would leave my full-time help in a nanosecond and move back home if I could . - Feb 2015


I think it's cheap. We have a live-in housekeeper, who used to be a nurse. She is fantastic and we pay around $515 base, not including bonuses, food, vacation, insurance, etc. We are a single-income family as well. - Mar 2012


Domestic helpers in HK are pretty much all brought in from the Philippines or Indonesia. The minimum wage for a live-in helper is about USD460/month. They must either be live-in or have housing provided for them. Because of Hong Kong immigration restrictions on domestic helpers, you generally have to have a full-time, live-in helper. It's hard to get part-time help (legally), though many helpers will, in addition to their full-time contract, work extra on their day off for someone else. - Mar 2012


Well priced. Many websites and agencies to assist you in the search. I think the monthly cost for a fulltimer is somewhere around HKD 3500 ish - Aug 2010


There are tens of thousands of Philippina and Indonesian domestic helpers here, and it won't be long before you are approached either to take on a person full time (must be live in - most quarters, even the downtown apartments, include servants quarters) and they work for six days a week, or a few hours on the sly (technically not permitted, but appears to be common practice).Monthly contracts are a paltry US$600/month or so, although workers on the sly charge by the hour (about US$8). - Jun 2010


Hong Kong has a great immigration scheme where they allow domestic helpers to come in from Indonesia, Thailand, the Phillippines, etc. If you sponsor one of these helpers, it is Hong Kong dollars $3600 per month (divide that by eight for approximate U.S. dollar equivalent) and that gets you six days a week of full-time live-in child care, cleaning, running errands, etc. It is a really nice set up. - Jun 2008


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More