See service updates at Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
August 3rd POLO office & service updates:
- Office Closure: The Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) will be closed from Monday 3 August until Sunday 9 August. As this office handles the submission of domestic helper contracts, there will be delays in processing. (See first advisory)
- Change in Process for Verification of Contracts: for all domestic helper contracts (renewal, changing of employer, first timers) the first step would be to receive the new Employment Visa from Hong Kong Immigration first before submitting documents to POLO. (See second advisory)
Process without an agency: Finished contract or Special Case or Contract Renewal
If the domestic helper has a finished contract or is a special case because the contract ended due to the relocation or the financial difficulty of the previous employer, the process can be done without an agency. This means if an employer was able to find a domestic helper they’d like to hire, they may be able to process the visa on their own. Contract renewals are fairly straightforward and does not require an agency. POLO will now be notarising newly renewed contracts after the new visa is released from Hong Kong Immigration.
- Do I need to use an employment agency?
- Finished Contract: How do I process a domestic helper visa without an agency?
- Special cases: How do I process a domestic helper visa without an agency?
- Contract renewal: How do I process a domestic helper visa without an agency?
Keep in mind that the current situation means timelines are uncertain. With overseas processing cases, several challenges including travel restrictions remain. Read more:
- What does travel from Philippines to Hong Kong look like during times of COVID-19
- How is the coronavirus affecting domestic helpers?
Overseas Processing for workers with Broken or Terminated Contracts
Processing a new employment contract for domestic helpers with a broken or terminated contract still requires and agency (Read more about this: Do I need to use an employment agency?)
Normally, these cases require the domestic helper to return to their place of origin while the visa is in processing. With the current situation, POLO is allowing some flexibility for domestic helpers to process locally in Hong Kong if the Hong Kong Immigration has allowed for the case to do so. Fair Agency has checked with Hong Kong Immigration and confirmed that this is a case-by-case situation where the Immigration Officer will need to make an exemption.
Choosing an agency carefully
Important note, when choosing an agency, employers should stay alert to the costs they are covering and check whether the domestic helper will be charged. Legally, employment agencies can only charge domestic helpers 10% of the first month’s salary. Read more about what employment agency fees should typically cover HERE and how to hire domestic helpers fairly HERE.
Some agencies in HK may market low fees and expedited processing but unfortunately, in a lot of cases they are charging workers separately to cover costs, and do not fulfil all their responsibilities as agencies. We encourage employers to choose the agency they work with care. Read our guide on choosing an agency: HERE.
If you found this article helpful, please consider donating today.
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. If you found this article helpful, please consider donating through Fair Employment Foundation (tax-deductable for amounts over HK$100). Click HERE for donation instructions.
Last updated on August 3rd, 2020