I live in Hong Kong with my husband and kids. We will need some help for the household chores and to take care of my young children while I am working. I would like to know where I can find a helper. Do you have any good advice?
I found a website called HelperChoice. I found it really helpful to seek for helpers in Hong Kong.
You can check their detailed profiles per categories. I don’t know how old your kids are but for example, I was looking for a helper able to drive my kids from home to school and also who knew how to care of my newborn baby.
Then you will chat with them, get to know them and finally meet the ones you shortlisted.
As well as some of my friends who used this website, I preferred this way personally, it was more pleasant for us and the helpers.
Some licensed domestic helper agencies will be recommended to you to do the paperwork if you want, you can also choose one by yourself though.
The best type of helper you could get, is one who is in HK already, who's employers are being re-located or leaving, so that you can actually speak to the previous employers face to face, or one which one of your friends may know and recommend.
Choosing one from an agency can have problems, and their references are quite often suspect, self written or written by a friend, it will be the luck of the draw there!
Helpers will turn up at interview, and promise anything you want, they may claim to have experience with children as they themselves are mothers, real truth is they often breed the kids, and send them back to their home country for someone else to bring up. My ex helper had 5 children, and didn't bring any one of them up.
A helper has by HK law to live in the employers home, if you look up the HK Immigration- rules of employing a helper it will give you some ideas. I actually downloaded and printed the rules, and they came in very handy when we had a manipulative helper, trying to get one up on us because we were new to employing a helper, and the helper had been in HK 22 yrs-so thought she knew every trick in the book.
Our helper started by wanting to work PT, I told her no this is not allowed by Imm, big fines if an employer lets her do this.
Then things started going missing from the house, we found our she was 'lending' our stuff to her daughter, who was also a helper, and some things just never turned up. Expensive food of ours went missing out of the cupboards.
While we were on holidays, we found out she was having helper friends stay in our house, using our beds, and partying.
Our little dog was in her care, he became very nervous and started growling at her--not in his nature normally, and he started jumping on my knee every time she wanted to take him out-- i found he had blistered and bleeding paw pads-- she had been dragging him when he didn't want to walk. When I asked her, she just said, she wanted to see her friends in the park and he didn't want to go- so she dragged him.
When we had enough evidence of stealing,etc, and the final straw-her hurting my dog, we finished her contract, she could not get another job in HK, and went back to Phils.
She was very 'street wise' in Hk, and knew all the scams other helpers did, really shocking, and not honest at all, like we had first thought.
Just be aware, do your homework! and ask around your friends about helpers, especially if you are going to leave a child in their care.
Make sure any helper you finally choose has a medical to eliminate pregnancy, or any other diseases, Tb is getting rife in some of the third world countries.
You will also need to keep a good employer/employee relationship, and not a 'good friend' relationship with the helper- otherwise most will walk all over you. Be fair but firm with them, so that you can keep some privacy and respect within your home.
My cousin had a similar experience, the helper was treated almost like one of the family and had been there something like ten years. They started to notice the odd amount of money missing then some family airelooms went missing. So they set up a video cam and caught her red handed taking money from draws and bags, not much $20 or so but over time it would amount to quite a sum.
Anyway the police was called shown the videos and she ended up in prison. To say we were shocked is an understatement; I would never have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.
My advice, be careful!
I got a referral from some of the ladies at the church we started attending shortly after we arrived, and we found a lovely helper who's been here in Hong Kong for 14 years - she has been great helping us shop, etc. She even speaks a little Cantonese which helps with bargaining at the wet markets, etc.
I recommend you post on forum's for referral's from people leaving - we've learned through the stories if you can do this the SAFEST way to find reliable help (not always 100% but certainly better!). Good luck!