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Can domestic helpers process in Hong Kong since it is difficult to travel with COVID-19?

Due to the travel challenges between the Philippines and Hong Kong, many domestic helpers and their employers are asking if it would be possible for domestic helpers to stay in Hong Kong while processing their new visas.

Normally, domestic helpers with broken or terminated contracts are required to return home while their visa is in processing.

Fair Agency has handled several cases in recent months where the Hong Kong Immigration and the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) made an exemption and allowed the domestic helper to process locally. 

From these cases we have learned:

  • For a domestic helper to be able to process in Hong Kong, the domestic helper must first get an exemption from Hong Kong Immigration. These exemptions are given on a case-by-case basis by the Immigration Officer in charge of the case. Read latest announcement: HERE
  • POLO has issued an advisory permitting domestic helpers who have already received an exemption from the Immigration Department to process locally in Hong Kong. See advisory: HERE
  • When submitting to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, the domestic helper should prepare a letter to request to be able to process locally and supporting documents. This can include:
    • An explanation that the current COVID-19 restrictions and measures will mean that she will not be able to report to work at the necessary time. 
    • Show that there are limited travel options to her hometown. This could be a screenshot of a flight search showing the limited/expensive flights available. There may also be information about limited transportation from the airport to her hometown.
  • Please remember that the decision is with the Immigration Officer handling the case and an exemption is not guaranteed.

The latest announcement from Hong Kong Immigration suggests that there will be greater scrutiny on applications where the domestic helper has had successive short contracts. Read the announcement: HERE.

Does processing locally mean that timelines will be the same as finished-contract processing?

No. Processing timelines for broken and terminated contracts are longer than that for domestic helpers with finished contracts. Even with permission to process locally, the process will take at least 8 weeks minimum.

Need help?

Get in touch with Fair Agency to help you and your domestic helper with this process with our Direct Hire service.

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Last updated on January 5th, 2021