Sanitized boundaries, sanitized homes : COVID-19 and the sporadic hyper-precarity of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-291
Journal / PublicationAsian and Pacific Migration Journal
Issue number3
Online published20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


This paper explores the “sporadic hyper-precarity” encountered by migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong when the city was hit by the Omicron outbreaks in early 2022. Migrant workers have long been suffering from job insecurity and structural vulnerability due to the contractization and flexibilization of work. The paper discusses how this structural vulnerability came to intersect with the health risks induced by the COVID pandemic. Adding to the debates of the structural precarity characterizing migrant work, we will further interrogate how workers are also susceptible to “sporadic hyper-precarity” – the kind of sporadic risks, uncertainty, vulnerabilities and stigmatization at times of crisis. The paper will elaborate on the “sanitized divide” and “care divide” between local families and domestic workers that has resulted in the unequal treatment of workers.

Research Area(s)

  • migrant domestic workers, sporadic hyper-precarity, sanitized divide, care divide, politics of sanitization