Will China open its doors to Filipino maids and offer $2,700 salaries?

Higher salaries may lure Filipino domestic workers to seek employment in China, if recent reports of China considering bringing in foreign maids prove to be true.

"They are looking at the possibility of a P100,000 (S$2,700) monthly pay for the household service workers to be hired," a Philippine official, Dominador Say, was quoted as saying in a report by Philippine Star on Monday (July 31).

It reported that Chinese officials had a discussion with Philippine's Department of Labour and Employment about the possibility of hiring Filipino maids to work in major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen.

Say also told South China Morning Post that China was considering to bring in 100,000 foreign domestic workers each month into the country.

The labour department is "waiting for results of the discussion in September to determine when deployment can start," he added.

However, there is confusion over this proposal as the Chinese embassy told SCMP that it was not aware of the issue and declined to comment.

But if this is true, Filipino domestic workers are likely to choose to work in China instead of Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

The proposed monthly pay is much higher than the minimum salaries offered in Singapore ($570), Hong Kong ($730), and Shanghai ($1,400).

Chinese citizens are currently forbidden from employing foreign maids while foreign residents in Shanghai are allowed to employ them in their households.

With the increase of affluent families in China, and more children enrolling into bilingual schools, English-speaking Filipino domestic workers are becoming more popular than nannies or cleaners from rural China, Financial Times reported.

These educated foreign workers may help children with their studies, and also have more gentle temperaments as compared to helpers of other nationalities, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.

The demand for such workers in China has created a black market which supplies as many as 200,000 of them, illegally brought across from neighbouring Hong Kong into the country, according to statistics given by the Philippine consulate-general in Hong Kong.

If China opens its doors to foreign maids, this may mean a significant decrease in the supply of Filipino domestic workers in Singapore, which may fall from 34 per cent to 20 per cent in the future, Mrs Winnie Wang from local maid agency Advance Link told Lianhe Wanbao.