08.01. Informal care workers | Hong Kong SAR

08.01. Informal care workers | Hong Kong SAR

22 Aug 2022

About elderly care, there are two types of informal care workers in Hong Kong, namely, foreign domestic helper and local domestic helper. They are fundamentally different in terms of their employment condition and identity in Hong Kong.

Foreign domestic helpers are the main type of informal care workers in Hong Kong since the policy of their admission in 1973. They are full-time workers, and they must live in the employers’ households. Until the end of 2018, there were 386,075 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, comprising 5.2% of the population as well as 9.7% of the labour force (Census and Statistics Department, 2019j). In 2016, among the households having older adults aged 60 and over, 9% of them hired a foreign domestic helper (Legislative Council Secretariat, 2017). Among the households consisting of older adults aged 65 and over only, 13.2% hired a foreign domestic helper (39,609 out of 300,906 households) (Census and Statistics Department, 2018a).

Comparatively, local domestic helpers are much less common and their involvement in taking care of older adults is believed to be relatively small. They are usually local citizens, mainly females, who wish to have a part-time job and are hired on an hourly basis. Statistics about the number of local domestic helpers and their characteristics are very limited. According to a household survey conducted by the Census in 2000, among the households hiring domestic helper(s), while 87.9% hired foreign domestic helpers, only 12.1% hired local helpers. This constituted 1.2% of the total number of households only (Census and Statistics Department, 2001; Legislative Council Secretariat, 2017). No further information or more updated statistics regarding number of local domestic helpers are available.


Census and Statistics Department. (2001). Thematic Household Survey Report No. 5. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR. Retrieved from https://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11302052001XXXXB0100.pdf

Census and Statistics Department. (2018a). 2016 Population By-census: Thematic Report : Older Persons. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR. Retrieved from https://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/data/16BC_Older_persons_report.pdf

Census and Statistics Department. (2019j). Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics 2019 Edition. Hong Kong Retrieved from https://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11303032019AN19B0100.pdf

Legislative Council Secretariat. (2017). Research Brief Issue No. 4 2016 – 2017: Foreign domestic helpers and evolving care duties in Hong Kong. . Hong Kong: Legislative Council Secretariat, HKSAR Retrieved from https://www.legco.gov.hk/research-publications/english/1617rb04-foreign-domestic-helpers-and-evolving-care-duties-in-hong-kong-20170720-e.pdf.