How long does processing a domestic helper visa take?
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.
As with everything, Covid-19 is making things a bit more complicated, so it’s best to plan ahead. See the Estminated Timeline tables below.
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
|ESTIMATED PROCESSING TIMELINES: LOCAL|
|1) Submit Required documents to Immigration
Contracts signed by both worker & employer and all necessary documents received and valid.
The earliest we can submit the application to Immigration is 4 weeks before the contract end date. Please note that Immigration requires the Worker to finish one contract before starting a new one. Legally, workers cannot start working for the new employer until the working visa is approved.
Our team will help prepare the necessary documents and submit the application on behalf of the Worker and Employer. Workers will only need to make an in-person attendance at the Immigration office on the visa release day.
Immigration will send a letter in about 2 weeks to let us know the visa release date
|2) Medical Exam|
The Worker will take a medical exam and may take 1-2 trips for the exam (for the stool sample). The Clinic is open Mondays-Saturdays. The report will be forwarded to our office in around 2 working days.
|3-4 working days|
|3) Visa Release: |
The Worker will need to collect the visa from the Immigration in-person and then he/she can start working on the same day. The visa release date is the contract commencement date. We highly recommend the employer to review the medical report of the helper before visa release day.
|4 weeks after submission or it will depend on the worker’s contract end date|
|4) Contract Notarisation:|
After the visa is released, we will notarize the contract at the Philippine Consulate. You will receive your copy of the contract by registered mail after it’s released.
|2 weeks after visa pick up|
|Last updated: March 2021|
|ESTIMATED PROCESSING TIMELINES: OVERSEAS|
|Processing can only start when:
Contracts signed by both worker and employer and all necessary documents received and valid
|1) COMPLETE STEPS TO QUALIFY FOR OEC: |
The worker needs to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) in order to depart from the Philippines to Hong Kong.
The worker will need to travel from her home to attend various appointments, including major ones in Manila. We will try to limit travel back & forth for the worker as much as possible.
NOTE: If the worker is in HK now, she will need to travel back to the Philippines and will be required to quarantine upon arrival. This may affect the timeline.
The following steps will not necessarily happen in this order, but some are prerequisite for others. Our team will work to move each piece of the process forward to complete this part of the process in the most efficient way & update at important points.
Working Visa Approval & Contract Notarisation in HK
Philippine Government-mandated Medical Exam & Certification of “Fit to Work”
Philippine Government Training Requirements Fulfilled [Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS), Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)]
After the visa is released, we will notarize the contract at the Philippine Consulate. You will receive your copy of the contract by registered mail after it’s released
|For First Timers only |
(i.e. no overseas working record in the Philippines government): Undergo Mandated Trainings (OWWA), and Assessment for ‘Domestic Work NCII’ Certification
|2) SUBMIT OEC APPLICATION|
Once these qualifying steps are completed and the necessary documentation is collected, we will submit the application. In the meantime, we will be in touch with you about the post-arrival hotel quarantine arrangement.
|3) COVID TEST & TRAVEL TO HK: |
Once the OEC is released,we will book her an appointment at a government approved clinic to conduct the required pre-flight COVID test within 72 hours of her flight to HK.
|4) QUARANTINE IN HK: |
After being tested COVID negative at the HK airport, the worker will travel directly to the pre-booked hotel to complete her 21-night hotel quarantine.
(First Timers: 17-20 weeks)
|Last updated: Mar 2021|
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 may choose to train at a training centre to prepare for the assessment for this certification. This should be a TESDA accredited training centre.
- See more about the training situation: HERE
Travel Challenges in the Philippines:
- Due to the rising number COVID-19 cases in the country, the Philippine Government is limiting international travel into Manila from 20 March to 19 April. This affects flight availability and prices. Official Advisory: HERE, Philippine Airlines Advisory: HERE.
- 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. There are some internal travel quarantines, need for Travel Permits, etc.
- Check: Local Travel Guidelines: HERE by Philippine Airlines.
- Lack of transportation options: Public transportation is limited and private cars are also limited and expensive.
- 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
- This aspect will take considerable planning.
- See: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Philippines? Cost ranges from 6,000 to 9,300 PHP
- See: Quarantine arrangements for domestic helpers arriving to Hong Kong
- Flights may be more expensive than usual & more prone to cancellation.
We do our best to keep our articles up-to-date. Please double-check with the relevant organisations directly for the latest.
You may also like:
- Quick guide for Employers of Domestic Helpers
- COVID-19 updates affecting domestic helpers & employers
- How can domestic helpers get a visa extension?
- Do I need domestic helper insurance during employment?
- Do I have to pay for a domestic helper’s medical expenses?
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Last updated on March 29th, 2021