Domestic Helper Hiring Costs

In Hong Kong there are very few affordable nurseries, kindergartens or other childcare businesses offering daycare, so many families opt for hiring domestic helpers. Hiring a domestic helper allows a family to have dual income as the time for childcare is freed up.

It is true that the costs of hiring a domestic helper are generally lower than hiring professional childcare and elderly nursing services, but how much does the hiring of domestic helpers really cost? What is the difference in terms of costs between direct hire and hiring through an employment agency?

Work visa and paperwork

Employers can either hire a domestic helper through direct hire or through an employment agency. The fees for direct hire are cheaper than that for employment agencies, and you can avoid your domestic helper and you from being overcharged.

After you have found a domestic helper, you will need to pay for the domestic helper work visa fee. Depending on your helper’s current situation and nationality, you can apply for the work visa yourself at the Immigration Department, given that your domestic helper:

  • is a Filipino;
  • has just finished her 2-year contract with her current employer; and
  • is still in Hong Kong.

It will cost less than HK$1,000 to do everything.

In other cases, you will need to appoint an employment agency due to the requirement of the Consulates. When you ask an employment agency to only assist with the visa and paperwork processing, the cost is much cheaper. It ranges between HK$3,000 and HK$4,500 for a domestic helper with a finished contract, and for all other situations, between HK$6,000 and HK$12,000.

HelperChoice has various ethical partners to help you process the paperwork of your domestic helper. Send us an email (contact@helperchoice.com) if you would like to receive a quotation.

If your domestic helper has paid for some of the documentation costs herself, you have to reimburse her. These costs include but are not limited to:

  • The fee collected by the sending country’s government
  • Mandatory insurance in the sending country
  • Medical examination fee
  • Contract notarization fee
  • Visa fee
  • Travel costs to Hong Kong

We advise employers to pay only when the domestic helper produces a proof of payment.

Salary and food allowance/free food

The Hong Kong government has set a legal minimum wage that employers must pay their workers. Currently, the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) is HK$4,630 per month.

On top of that, each employer is legally required to either provide their helper with free sufficient food or with a food allowance of no less than HK$1,121 every month.

Transport fees

All work-related transport, such as daily trips to the market, must be reimbursed. Transport fees also include flight tickets and transport fares to your house if you are hiring a first-timer. After her contract ends or is pre-terminated, you are again obliged to pay for her trip to the airport and flight back. This cost is usually between HK$2,000 – $5,000 depending on the destination.

Insurance and medical check-up

The Labour Department also requires the employer to take out an Employee Compensation Insurance. It tends to be around HK$350 – $1,000 per year. HelperChoice offers 50% off on AXA's domestic helper insurance for employers (send us an email for more details: contact@helperchoice.com).

The most basic helper insurance will only cover your domestic helper in case she is injured during her work. We advise you to consider to expand the coverage to include other benefits such as health insurance, personal accident insurance, loan protection insurance and so on. The employer is responsible for all medical costs of their hired helper so, in the long run, a more comprehensive insurance plan can save you money and worries.

You may also want your new worker to undergo a comprehensive medical check-up. These medical checks are affordable, but paying a medical clinic does add to the costs of hiring a helper.


You, as an employer, are responsible for all the hiring-related costs under the labour law, except for the mandatory training. All first-time domestic helpers need to take on training in the Philippines or Indonesia and the costs are usually paid for by the domestic helper, but you may offer to pay for that. In fact, it is the training where most agencies overcharge helpers so when selecting an employment agency, also ask about their training costs.

If you are hiring with HelperChoice, you will be able to have five free financial literacy courses provided by Enrich HK and a free certificate course for caregivers for your domestic helper.

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