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Thursday, October 29, 2020

HelperChoice becomes the first online platform accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration

10/21/2020 10:51:52 PM

Author's Note: HelperChoice has announced recently that they became the first online platform being accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, one of the government agencies that deal with the employment process of the Filipino workers outside the country.  With the accreditation, any Filipino who has been planning to work outside the Philippine shores will have to relief from a looming problem of illegal placement fees usually collected by the erring recruitment agencies.

All that and more in the press release below.


Completely eradicating intermediaries in the recruitment of foreign domestic workers!

One year after launching its new website, HelperChoice, the 1st digital platform to search, interview, and hire foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong is now the first online service accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). This event marks a big step in HelperChoice’s mission to improve foreign domestic workers living and working conditions in Hong Kong through digitalization.

Simultaneously, the platform is revamping its offers and launching new exciting partnerships with NGOs, training centers, and insurance companies in Hong Kong. Providing full support to employers and foreign domestic workers in the city.

Eradicating recruitment agencies’ illegal placement fees

HelperChoice’s mission: eradicating illegal placement fees & debt bondage was founded in 2012 with the realization that 70% of domestic workers’ recruitment agencies in Hong Kong were, and are still, being charged high placement fees. While legal agencies can only charge 10% of the helpers’ first-month salary, most of them actually charge amounts up to US$2,000. Forcing domestic workers to take loans, mostly to loan sharks, with interest rates as high as 60%. A situation that often results in debt bondage, and not being able to walk away from a job when the working conditions are bad. is a platform connecting foreign domestic workers with employers, directly online, and with no intermediary. Its aim is to enable migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong to have access to the job market for free, therefore avoiding debt bondage and modern slavery.

Since its creation, the startup has facilitated more than 50,000 recruitments and prevented the levying of more than 60 million euros in illegal fees. The service has also been recognized by the International Labour Organisation for promoting fair recruitment practices: "The online recruitment agency HelperChoice launched an innovative awareness program to influence domestic employer behaviors in favor of fair recruitment services in Hong Kong."

Why does the POEA accreditation matter?

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) accreditation is the key to being able to process foreign domestic workers’ visas. Up until now, HelperChoice was a matching platform for domestic workers and employers to connect and conduct interviews. Now, HelperChoice is taking care of the visa process, completely eliminating the need for third-party agencies. Making them the first online platform able to process foreign domestic workers’ visas!

A clear digitalization of the industry

Domestic helpers are now highly connected

There are currently 400,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, 98% of them having a smartphone to communicate with their family and friends back home or in the city. In the past year, HelperChoice has noticed a clear acceleration of digitalization, pushed by the political unrest and Covid-19 that forced most domestic workers to limit trips in the city or even, to stay home.

HelperChoice is taking advantage of this easy access to the internet to provide its service, using technology to make domestic workers aware of their rights and preventing social isolation in order to improve their working conditions.

Within the past years, HelperChoice has become the leading platform connecting foreign domestic workers and families in Hong Kong and its impact was recognized by many organizations.

One step further to a fully digitalized service for domestic workers and employers

HelperChoice is revamping its offers! The platform will now offer 3 monthly subscriptions throughout the whole employment process and contract.

Mahee Leclerc, managing director of HelperChoice in Hong Kong explains: “The packages will include the access to the platform to search, interview and hire a helper, as it did before. But we are going further in offering a fully online, more accessible, and fairer experience for all our users, domestic workers, and employers. Our new offers are improved with exciting features and partnerships such as the visa process, training certifications, and one-year insurance for the worker.”

Promoting domestic workers’ training and well-being with 4 new partnerships

Enrich HK: an NGO specialized in Financial Literacy for migrant workers

Enrich is an award-winning Hong Kong charity promoting the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers through financial and empowerment education.

Most workers move abroad in the hope of earning more money than they would in their home country. However, 83% of Hong Kong's domestic workers face some level of debt, and only 6% go home feeling they have saved 'enough' money.

Through their workshops, Enrich equips migrant domestic workers with the tools to save, budget, and plan for greater financial security, for themselves and their families. Now, HelperChoice and Enrich partner to offer domestic workers Enrich's full 28-hour Financial and Empowerment education program, which covers personal finance tools, investment, entrepreneurship, confident communication, and family financial planning. 96% of Enrich participants track their expenses and 85% save more money.

IconMed: a medical and caregiving specialist proving certified caregiver raining

Hong Kong is surprisingly the region with the longest life expectancy in the world, and with the population aging, the demand for caregiving services is increasing. Therefore HelperChoice partnered with IconMed, a medical and caregiving specialist, to provide domestic workers with caregiver training, covering elderly care, as well as child and infant care. The training also includes a First Aid and CPR certificate from the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital.

This skill is highly valuable in the current market and can equip domestic helpers for higher paid jobs in the future!

Insurance: an insurance plan for all foreign domestic workers included

Because health is a priority, especially in the current international context, we have built a partnership to automatically insure all foreign domestic workers finding a job through HelperChoice for 1 year of their employment contract, at no additional cost for the employers!

PathFinders: an NGO specialized in migrant mothers’ rights

Pregnancy, contraception, and intimacy are taboo subjects when hiring a foreign domestic worker. As part of her private life, the employer has no right to interfere with it. At the same time, employers often forget that the domestic worker they hire might get pregnant in Hong Kong. In this case, it is her right to stay here, and she is eligible for maternity leave, paid by the employer.

To navigate within these regulations, we partnered with PathFinders, an NGO specialized in migrant mothers’ rights to create educational videos for both employers and domestic workers.

Author: slickmaster | © 2020 The SlickMaster's Files

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