What should I expect? Domestic Helper Hiring Timelines during times of COVID-19
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.
COVID-19 measures in Hong Kong and the Philippines affecting domestic helper hiring
Hong Kong has imposed travel and quarantine restrictions for those arriving from the Philippines, which will require considerable planning.
Community Quarantine measures are enforced across the Philippines. This means various degrees of movement restrictions, stay-at-home requirements, work and transportation suspensions. Services related to domestic helper processing are greatly affected.
Just beginning the process: what’s the process in Hong Kong?
- Updated: The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is closed August 3-9, as this office handles domestic helper contracts, processing will be delayed.
- With rising COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government services are being restricted only to essential services starting July 20. The Immigration Department will be limiting their services between July 20-26. We are working to clarify how domestic helper visa applications may be affected at this time. Delays to beginning the process should be expected. See Immigration advisory: HERE
- Many employers and domestic helpers may be aware of the current travel restrictions and challenges. Hong Kong Immigration has introduced some flexibility to allow some domestic helpers to be exempted from having to leave Hong Kong for their home country to process. However, this process is not standardised and not guaranteed. Read more: Can domestic helpers process locally, in light of COVID-19 travel challenges?
New requirement for FDH visa application during COVID-19
With immediate effect, all employers applying for the visa applications of contract renewal, contract extension, first time employment or replacement/additional hiring (including those applications having been submitted but pending approval or issuance of visa), regardless of whether the helper will defer or take her home leave immediately, will be required to sign an undertaking. The undertaking indicates that employers will arrange for the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their FDHs, 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.
The undertaking can be downloaded from the website of ImmD at https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/forms/hk-visas/foreign-domestic-helpers.html and obtained free of charge from the Immigration Department Headquarters and Immigration Branch Offices.
Can first-time domestic helpers be hired at this time?
- First-time Filipino domestic helpers are mandated by the Philippine government to be assessed and get a Domestic Work NC2 certificate before they leave for Hong Kong. Currently, due to COVID-19 measures, training and assessment centres are not operating. This means first-time workers are unable to process right now.
What does the situation look like for domestic helpers in the Philippines waiting to process and fly to Hong Kong to being work?
- There are several challenges causing delays to processing in the Philippines. Read more: What is the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines?
What are the pre-flight COVID-19 testing and hotel quarantine requirement upon arrival in Hong Kong?
- Pre-flight testing and hotel quarantine requirements means additional planning and costs. Read more: Quarantine arrangements for domestic helpers arriving to Hong Kong
You may also like:
- How is the coronavirus affecting domestic helpers? (Quarantine, Salary, Rest Days, and more)
- How can I avoid misinformation or fake news?
- What is the Overseas Employment Certificate?
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Last updated on August 3rd, 2020