As we move towards an increasingly globalized world, the role of foreign domestic helpers has become more pronounced in modern households. The term ‘domestic helpers’ encompasses a wide range of tasks from cooking, cleaning, to childcare and elderly care. In many parts of the world, local domestic helpers are either too expensive or not available, leading to families hiring foreign domestic helpers to keep their household running. However, the practice of hiring foreign domestic helpers has often come under scrutiny and criticism. In this blog post, we will discuss the role of Foreign domestic helpers (外籍家庭傭工)in modern households and highlight their experiences, both positive and negative.

Foreign domestic helpers are often hired to fulfil critical roles in modern households like childcare, elderly care, and disability assistance. They are employed in developed countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK. They are usually recruited from developing countries that have high levels of unemployment, like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. They come to these countries under specific programs or agreements, like the ‘Guest Worker Program’ in Hong Kong, which specifies that helpers cannot work in any other field and have to live in their employer’s home. In many Western countries, the process of hiring a foreign domestic helper is much more complex and includes understanding international law.

Despite the apparent benefits of hiring a domestic helper, it is important to note that there have been cases of exploitation and abuse. Research conducted by various human rights organizations has shown that foreign domestic helpers are often subjected to long working hours, low wages, and poor living conditions. They are not protected under national labor laws and often face physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. The issue of domestic helper abuse is a growing concern worldwide, and demands stricter regulations and stronger enforcement.

However, it’s also important to recognize that foreign domestic helpers have helped to support countless families, especially women who are trying to balance work and family life. Many families have shared positive experiences and have described their helpers as invaluable members of their household. Helpers can offer support and compassion for children, elderly people and individuals with disabilities, and help a household run like a smoothly oiled machine.

Additionally, foreign domestic helpers often have to bear the brunt of cultural differences while working in a foreign country. They have to adapt to different tastes and preferences, and communicate effectively with members of a household who may not speak their language or share their cultural background. The cultural differences can create misunderstandings and conflicts which can lead to an unpleasant work environment.

To ensure that workers are not exploited or abused, governments, agencies, and employers must take steps to improve domestic workers’ rights and working conditions. This can include putting into place stronger regulations to protect workers from abuse and exploitation, regulating the recruitment process to ensure that all workers coming to work as domestic helpers are doing so of their own free will, and providing better working conditions to guarantee their safety and wellbeing.


The role of foreign domestic helpers in modern households can’t be understated. They are critical in supporting households in their day-to-day tasks, solving the problem of struggling with work-life balance and show compassion for those in need. However, while there have been stories of positive experiences, there have also been cases of exploitation and abuse. Governments, agencies, and employers need to work together to improve domestic workers’ rights and working conditions, to ensure that they are not subjected to a hostile and mismanaged work environment. We need to acknowledge the importance of foreign domestic helpers in our modern world and ensure that they are treated with the same respect and dignity as any other worker.