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What does domestic helper hiring look like right now with the impact of COVID-19? (Philippines)

This is a developing situation and further changes should be expected. We will continue to update this article as official advisories are provided by the relevant authorities.

  • New undertaking for FDH visa application
    • All employers applying for the domestic helper visas, will be required to sign an undertaking. It can becan be downloaded from the Immigration Department website: HERE which indicates that employers will arrange for:
      • the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their domestic helper, and
      • be responsible for the relevant costs when their FDHs are arriving on or after July 25, 2020.
    • If employers are found to have breached the undertaking, their FDHs may be denied entry into Hong Kong and future applications from those employers for employing an FDH may be refused.

Current Timelines

As with everything, Covid-19 is making things a bit more complicated, so it’s best to plan ahead. Here is a PDF of Fair Agency’s Processing Timeline Explanation

  • Domestic helpers with finished contracts or ‘special cases’ where contracts were ended due to employer’s relocation, passing, or financial difficulty, can process locally. This currently takes 4-6 Weeks.
  • Overseas processing is for domestic helpers who are in the Philippines or domestic helpers with broken or terminated contracts who are required to return to the Philippines. This currently takes 15-18 Weeks.
  • Delays in Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) issuances: The OEC is a document that Filipino domestic helpers need to leave to work abroad. Read more about this: HERE

Can domestic helpers with broken or terminated contracts process in Hong Kong without returning home? 

  • If the domestic helper is allowed to process locally in Hong Kong, this will take around 8 weeks. Read more about this HERE

Can first-time domestic helpers be hired at this time?

  • First-time domestic helpers will to obtain a Domestic Work NC-II certificate. Typically, domestic helpers go through training at training centers to prepare for the assessment for this certification.
  • See more about the training situation: HERE

Travel Challenges in the Philippines:

  • Many domestic helpers may not live near the agency office and may need to travel back and forth for appointments.
  • Different cities and provinces in the Philippines have varying COVID-19 restrictions which are enforced. Some local governments enforce province-to-province quarantines and Travel Permits, which are applied for at the local police station.
  • The Philippine Airlines provides Local Travel Guidelines: HERE.
  • There is a lack of transportation options. Public transportation is limited and private cars are also limited and expensive.
  • Transportation costs may be higher because of the lack of public transportation options
  • If the worker does not live in Manila, they may have to find boarding/accomodation while waiting for processing/to fly out.
  • At times, domestic helpers have difficulty covering costs needed to complete the processing steps. This may create delays in the timeline. Employers may consider remitting money in advance to their domestic helper to ensure they can pay for the items needed.

Limitation to Validity of Medical Exam:

  • Domestic helpers are required to certify as “Fit to Work” before being able to fly out for work. The Medical Certificate is valid for 3 months. If the certificate expires before the domestic helper is able to travel, this would require a new medical exam. Read more about medical exams: HERE

Scheduling COVID-19 Test, Quarantine Hotel & Flights

See other COVID-19 Updates affecting domestic helpers: HERE


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Fair Employment Agency is a nonprofit agency. We put a lot of work into producing high quality, accurate and updated information resources because when employers and domestic helpers are informed, they are empowered to make good choices.

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Last updated on January 17th, 2021
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