Migrant Domestic Workers and the Market for Elderly Care Services in Hong Kong

Migrant Domestic Workers and the Market for Elderly Care Services in Hong Kong
Community Collaboration
Professor Details

Prof Sujata Visaria

PhD in Economics Columbia University 2005

Associate Professor

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To successfully age “in place”, Hong Kong’s growing population of older persons will require affordable quality care within the community. At various points the HKSAR government has indicated it will increase the number of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) coming to the city and providing in-home elderly care services.

As things stand, however, the migrant labor market for elderly care services in Hong Kong is underdeveloped. As of 2016, only 9 percent of Hong Kong’s elderly households employed a migrant domestic worker. There is not a separate recruitment track for domestic workers specializing in elderly care work, no credentialing of relevant experience or skills that they may have acquired in their home countries, and very few training programs in elderly care offered in Hong Kong.

In this project, PI Prof Sujata Visaria and her Co-Is, Prof Lucy Jordan and Prof Albert Park, collect and use primary data to apply a demand-and-supply framework to examine the barriers to and opportunities in the future development of this market. Their data include key informant interviews with employment agencies and training organizations, migrant worker unions, employer associations and legislators, and surveys with both potential and actual employers and domestic workers in Hong Kong. They will study the benefits and costs for both sides of the market, and the related willingness and ability of Hong Kong’s elderly households to pay for domestic worker services, as well as the willingness of domestic workers to undergo the additional training and skill development that this work likely requires. They will also examine the experiences of actual employers and workers, with a specific focus on terms of employment, satisfaction, and the physical and mental health outcomes of the elderly, their family members and the workers. This research will allow them to identify gaps and make specific recommendations to policy-makers, private and non-governmental organizations, that could help to ensure a range of positive social outcomes.

The Hong Kong Survey of Youth and Elderly (HKSYE)