Bangladeshi maids are losing their place in Hong Kong, as the Chinese city now prefers to hire workers from Myanmar thanks to cultural similarities.
Nineteen women migrated to Hong Kong from Myanmar on February 24 while 2,000 more are expected to join them soon, reported a Hong Kong-based daily South-China Morning Post recently.
Employers prefer Myanmar maids because 80 percent of the nation's population follows Buddhism and they can speak better English than the Bangladeshi maids, most of whom are Muslim, said Cheung Kit-man, chairman of Employment Agencies Association of Hong Kong.
Agents in Hong Kong are reluctant to hire Bangladeshi women, who have lingual and cultural differences with the employers, it reported without elaboration.
Demand for maids from Hong Kong has declined in recent times, said officials of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
In the last 10 months to February, 403 Bangladeshi maids went to Hong Kong, which is low compared to Hong Kong's initial annual demand for 5,000.
A maid gets around Tk 41,500 a month in salaries in Hong Kong, while migration costs nearly Tk 1.4 lakh.
Hong Kong provides better wages and working conditions to the maids, compared to countries in the Middle East.
The agencies alleged that Bangladeshi women have language barriers, but it is not true, according to BMET officials.
Prior to recruitment, workers receive language training and employers test their language skills over Skype, they added.
The recruiting agencies of Bangladesh and Hong Kong are now in conflict over how much they will charge the workers for the jobs.
The agencies failed to make a decision on the charges, and they created all the problems, BMET officials said.
Mismanagement by agencies in Bangladesh and Hong Kong are creating obstacles in the smooth recruitment of workers from Bangladesh, said Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain.
“We asked some responsible agencies to explain their failures.”
The government is trying its best to send more workers to Hong Kong, the minister said.
Shamsun Nahar, director general of BMET, said there were some problems with recruitment in Hong Kong, but those have been solved.