Foreign Domestic Helper Corner Foreign Domestic Helper Corner

IMPORTANT MESSAGES RELATED to COVID-19


Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Employment Obligations and Rights

Please click here to know more about the obligations and rights of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers under the Employment Ordinance and Standard Employment Contract, and the relevant information, in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

FDHs and employers may browse the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/) for health advice on prevention of pneumonia and respiratory infection and details of various anti-epidemic measures. The website contains information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu.

Last update on 31 December 2020

2021.02.15 New

Government appeals to foreign domestic helpers to comply with regulations on mask-wearing and prohibition of group gatherings of more than two persons in public places (with photos)

The Labour Department (LD) today (February 15) said that joint operations during the Chinese New Year holidays were conducted in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police), the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the Home Affairs Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including mobile broadcasts in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to call upon them to comply with the anti-epidemic regulations on the mask-wearing and prohibition of group gatherings of more than two persons in public places.

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The Labour Department (LD) today (February 15) said that joint operations during the Chinese New Year holidays were conducted in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police), the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the Home Affairs Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including mobile broadcasts in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to call upon them to comply with the anti-epidemic regulations on the mask-wearing and prohibition of group gatherings of more than two persons in public places.

From February 12 to February 15, government departments conducted joint operations at popular FDH gathering places (including Tamar Park in Admiralty, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, footbridge near Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok, Central, Lai Chi Kok, Shatin and Tsuen Wan) for four consecutive days. The LD arranged publicity vans to park in the above-mentioned districts to broadcast reminders in Chinese, English and major FDH languages (including Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai) to call upon FDHs to comply with the regulations on mask-wearing and prohibition of group gatherings of more than two persons in public places. During the joint operations, multilingual promotional leaflets were distributed by officers from the departments concerned to appeal to FDHs to maintain environmental hygiene and refrain from conducting unlicensed hawking activities, including cooked food or other hawking activities. Also, the Police increased manpower to step up patrols at those places and the FEHD took follow-up actions to keep those places clean.

A Government spokesman said, "According to the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I), a person who participates in a prohibited group gathering of more than two persons in public places or fails to wear a mask in accordance with the requirement may be charged a fixed penalty of $5,000. The Government will continue to conduct publicity to FDHs and remind them to strictly observe the relevant regulations, and to avoid gatherings (including in boarding facilities), food sharing and other social activities on their rest days and stay at home for rest as far as possible to safeguard their personal health."

The Government will continue to step up publicity and enforcement, and as needed conduct joint operations to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements. The Government also appeals to FDHs to exercise self-discipline and co-operate to fight the virus together and abide by the law.


2020.12.30 New

Adjusting measures to assist foreign domestic helpers and employers cope with COVID-19 pandemic

The Government today (December 30) announced adjustments to the measures for assisting foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Government today (December 30) announced adjustments to the measures for assisting foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The Government will further extend the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, March 19, June 30 and September 30 to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs. For all FDH contracts (including those extended under the previous flexibility arrangement as mentioned above) that will expire on or before March 31, 2021, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for extending the employment period stated in Clause 2 of the Standard Employment Contract for a maximum period of three months, on the basis that such variation is agreed upon by both the employer and the FDH.

Based on the experience from the previous flexibility arrangements, a three-month extended period should allow sufficient time for employers to arrange their newly hired FDHs to come to Hong Kong. If a newly hired FDH cannot be arranged to come to Hong Kong within the three-month extended period and the employer needs to continue to employ his/her existing FDH beyond the three-month extended period, the employer should apply for a contract renewal with the existing FDH and further extension of the contract will not be considered. Employers are reminded to make advance preparations to arrange their newly hired FDHs to come to Hong Kong within the three-month extended period of employment of their existing FDHs and/or arrange for contract renewal with their existing FDHs.

Limit of stay of FDHs

The Government announced on March 21, June 30 and September 30 that applications from FDHs to extend their limit of stay (for a maximum period of one month) in Hong Kong as visitors for the purpose of finding a new employer would be flexibly considered. In view of recent concerns about the health risks posed to FDHs staying in boarding facilities and to prevent the abuse by FDHs of the aforementioned facilitation measure to change employers frequently (commonly known as "job-hopping"), the Government decided that FDHs whose contracts are prematurely terminated can no longer apply for extension of limit of stay as visitors; and that, in accordance with the prevailing policy of the Government, FDHs are required to leave Hong Kong upon completion of their employment contract or within two weeks from the date of termination of their employment contract, whichever is the earlier. In exceptional circumstances that warrant special consideration, FDHs may submit to the Immigration Department (ImmD) applications for extension of stay in Hong Kong as visitors.

The ImmD will continue to consider and expedite the processing of employment visa applications submitted by FDHs who are in Hong Kong. At the same time, the ImmD will further combat "job-hopping" and continue to step up scrutiny of the details of applicants, such as the number and reasons for their premature contract termination in the last 12 months. For suspected "job-hopping" cases, the ImmD will refuse the employment visa applications concerned and require the applicants to leave Hong Kong.

Deferral of home leave

Under the prevailing mechanism, an FDH on a renewed contract with the same employer, or due to start a new contract with a new employer upon the expiry of an existing contract, may apply to the ImmD for deferring home leave for not more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to agreement of his/her current employer or new employer.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, if an FDH is unable to return to his/her place of origin for home leave within the aforementioned one-year period, he/she may, upon agreement with his/her employer, apply to the ImmD for a further extension of limit of stay until the end of his/her contract such that he/she may take home leave within that period.

If FDHs who have already been granted further extension of stay under the previous flexibility arrangement announced by the Government on March 21, June 30 and September 30 wish to further defer their home leave, they may also apply to the ImmD for a further extension of limit of stay in Hong Kong until the end of their contract such that they may take home within that period.

The Government reminds employers and FDHs that the above flexibility arrangement must be mutually agreed between the employer and the FDH, and that the requirement that FDHs should return to their place of origin for vacation continues to be in place. Employers should arrange their FDHs to return to the place of origin for home leave within the extended limit of stay as far as practicable.

The Government will continue to monitor the situations and review the above measures and flexibility arrangements as and when necessary.

For enquiries on employment rights and benefits, please contact the Labour Department at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk. For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2020.12.18 New

Secretary for Labour and Welfare appeals to foreign domestic helpers and employers to fight COVID-19 together

In view of recent COVID-19 cases of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) who have stayed at or visited a boarding facility, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, appealed to FDHs to avoid gatherings in boarding facilities. He pointed out that the Immigration Department has deployed additional staff to speed up the processing of visa applications, thereby greatly reduced the number of pending applications. He also encouraged helpers to actively participate in the free COVID-19 test being offered. He reminded helpers to comply with the regulation on restriction of group gatherings, and urged employers to have candid discussions with their helpers about rest day arrangements.

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202012/04/P2020120400708.htm?fontSize=1
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202012/16/P2020121600777.htm?fontSize=1


2020.12.11 New

Labour Department reminds foreign domestic helpers and employers of the new measure on designated quarantine hotels

The Government announced today (December 11) that a new measure will be put in place with effect from 0.00am, December 22, 2020 to mandate all travellers arriving in Hong Kong from countries outside China to undergo 14-day compulsory quarantine at designated quarantine hotels in accordance with the directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H). The designated quarantine hotels can only receive the aforementioned inbound travellers who are subject to compulsory quarantine. The Government will arrange designated transportation for sending the travellers from the airport and the Holding Centre for Test Result to the designated quarantine hotels, with a view to reducing their contact with the community.

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The Government announced today (December 11) that a new measure will be put in place with effect from 0.00am, December 22, 2020 to mandate all travellers arriving in Hong Kong from countries outside China to undergo 14-day compulsory quarantine at designated quarantine hotels in accordance with the directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H). The designated quarantine hotels can only receive the aforementioned inbound travellers who are subject to compulsory quarantine. The Government will arrange designated transportation for sending the travellers from the airport and the Holding Centre for Test Result to the designated quarantine hotels, with a view to reducing their contact with the community.

A Labour Department (LD) spokesman said, "LD reminds foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), employers and employment agencies (EAs) to take note of the aforementioned new measure. Before a relevant FDH is checked-in for a flight to Hong Kong, he/she should produce confirmation of room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel to the operator of the aircraft for boarding the aircraft. The room reservation should be for a period of not less than 14 nights starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant FDH in Hong Kong. Employers and EAs (if applicable) are reminded to make necessary preparations for their FDHs beforehand. If an FDH is not able to produce the said confirmation, he/she may not be allowed to board the flight to Hong Kong. Relevant FDHs are reminded that without the permission of an authorised officer, they are not allowed to leave the room and no one is allowed to visit them during the 14-day compulsory quarantine period. The hotels will provide three meals a day to the persons under quarantine."

"Employers are also reminded to comply with their obligations under the Standard Employment Contract, including bearing the accommodation expenses and providing food allowance to FDHs during the FDHs’ compulsory quarantine," the spokesman continued.

"For EAs, they have the responsibility to provide correct information to employers and FDHs. They should remind and/or assist employers in making relevant arrangements to comply with the relevant measure. If there is evidence that an EA has violated the requirements in the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies, the EA concerned will be penalised."

A list of designated quarantine hotels and relevant Frequently Asked Questions have been uploaded to the thematic webpage on Designated Hotels for Quarantine (www.designatedhotel.gov.hk). For enquiries on the new measure, please call the hotline of the Department of Health at 2125 1122. For enquiries on employment rights and benefits, please contact LD at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk

Thematic Webpage on Designated Hotels for Quarantine

*For travellers arriving in Hong Kong on 21 December 2020, they should reserve hotel booking at a designated quarantine hotel before departure, otherwise they will be refused to board the flight.  For details, please refer to the press release on "Latest development of Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme" issued by the Government on 13 December 2020 (https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202012/13/P2020121300563.htm?fontSize=1).


2020.12.04 

Labour Department reminds foreign domestic helpers and employers of tightening of social distancing measures by the Government

The Labour Department (LD) today (December 4) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers of the tightening of social distancing measures by the Government and appealed to eligible FDHs to participate in the free COVID-19 testing service.

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The Labour Department (LD) today (December 4) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers of the tightening of social distancing measures by the Government and appealed to eligible FDHs to participate in the free COVID-19 testing service.

An LD spokesman said, "The Government has amended the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) to prohibit group gatherings of more than two persons in public places. A person who participates in a prohibited group gathering may be charged a fixed penalty, the amount of which will be raised to $5,000 starting from December 11. At the same time, the fixed penalty charged against a person who fails to wear a mask in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I) will also be raised to $5,000 starting from December 11."

"We remind FDHs to observe and comply with the regulations and appeal to them to avoid meal gatherings, food sharing and other social activities on their rest days and stay at home for rest as far as possible to safeguard their personal health. We also encourage employers and FDHs to discuss rest day arrangements and arrange rest days on a weekday instead of during the weekend, so as to minimise the health risk of participating in social activities. The Government will continue to conduct mobile broadcast at popular FDH gathering places across the territory to call upon FDHs to comply with the latest requirements. As at November 30, a total of 37 FDHs were charged a fixed penalty for breach of the Cap. 599G requirements."

Employers are reminded that they must not compel their FDHs to work on a rest day. Under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), if an employer requests an FDH to work on a rest day, the employer must substitute another rest day for the FDH within 30 days after the original rest day; the employer must also notify the FDH of the arrangement within 48 hours after he/she is required to work. An employer who compels his/her FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or fails to grant rest days to the FDH is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000.

"Regarding FDHs who have to stay in boarding facilities while waiting to change employers, we strongly advise them to actively participate in the free COVID-19 testing service provided by LD to safeguard their health.  If an FDH needs to stay in a boarding facility for an extended period of time while waiting to change employers, he/she may retake the test as appropriate, especially before joining the new employer’s family. We appeal for employment agencies (EAs)' active assistance in arranging for FDHs to collect specimen collection packs at LD’s temporary distribution/collection point at the Wan Chai Sports Ground and to return the specimens for testing.  Employers are also strongly advised to check that their new FDHs have a valid negative test result before joining the family," the spokesman continued.

"At the same time, we would like to remind EAs not to arrange FDHs to stay in crowded environments and pay attention to personal hygiene and maintain social distance. Pursuant to the Code of Practice for EAs promulgated by the Commissioner for Labour, should an EA conduct any other activities (e.g. providing temporary accommodation) or non-EA related business at an EA’s licensed address or other premises, the EA must comply with the relevant laws at all times. EAs in breach of the Code of Practice for EAs may have their licences revoked or refused renewal by the Commissioner for Labour."

Details of the free COVID-19 testing service provided by LD from December 1 to December 24 for FDHs waiting to join their new employers’ family can be found in the press release issued on November 27 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202011/27/P2020112600605.htm).

Should FDHs and their employers have any enquiries on employment matters or the testing service, they may contact LD through the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by 1823), by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk or through the online form on the dedicated portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).


2020.11.03 

Employers should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers who have contracted COVID-19

The Government today (November 3) reminded employers that they should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) who have contracted COVID-19 and should continue to observe the requirements under the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the Standard Employment Contract (SEC) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Government today (November 3) reminded employers that they should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) who have contracted COVID-19 and should continue to observe the requirements under the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the Standard Employment Contract (SEC) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Government spokesman said, "We would like to remind employers that they should not terminate or repudiate an employment contract with an FDH who has contracted COVID-19. Under the EO, an employer is prohibited from terminating the contract of employment of an employee on his or her paid sickness day, except in cases of summary dismissal due to the latter's serious misconduct. An employer who contravenes relevant provisions of the EO commits an offence and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $100,000. Employers are also reminded of possible breach of contract if they repudiate the employment contract with their FDHs, or possible violation of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) if they treat their FDHs less favourably (e.g. by dismissing them) because the FDHs have been infected with or recovered from COVID-19. Upon the recovery of the FDHs from COVID-19, employers are advised to arrange for their FDHs to start or resume work and maintain a cordial employment relationship with their FDHs."

The spokesman continued, "When handling matters on employment with FDHs, employers should observe their obligations and requirements under the EO and the SEC. Where applicable, the employer should grant sick leave and sickness allowance to the eligible FDH in accordance with the EO. Where a sick FDH has not accumulated sufficient paid sickness days to cover the period of his or her sick leave, we appeal to the employer to be compassionate and consider granting the FDH paid sick leave. According to Clause 9(a) of the SEC, in the event that the FDH is ill or suffers personal injury during the period of employment (except for the period during which the FDH leaves Hong Kong of his or her own volition and for his or her own personal purposes), regardless of whether this arises out of employment, the employer shall provide free medical treatment to the FDH."

At the same time, employers should take note of and comply with the relevant measures implemented by the Government in response to the pandemic, including the requirement that all persons (including FDHs) arriving in Hong Kong from all places outside China must be subject to compulsory quarantine of 14 days under the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E), and the relevant requirements of the specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), namely that if a traveller (including an FDH) has stayed in a specified place (including Indonesia and the Philippines) during the 14 days before arriving in Hong Kong, he or she must provide, before boarding a flight to Hong Kong, a test report issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution recognised or approved by the government of that place as proof that he or she has undergone a nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the sample for which was taken within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the flight to Hong Kong, and that the test result is negative, as well as confirmation of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of his or her arrival in Hong Kong. The Government again reminded employers to make relevant arrangements and bear the costs of the relevant nucleic acid test, the accommodation expenses and the food allowance during the FDH's compulsory quarantine.

On the other hand, the Government reminded FDHs not to abuse the arrangement for premature contract termination in order to change employers (commonly known as job-hopping). The Immigration Department (ImmD) has been expediting the processing of employment visa applications submitted by FDHs who are in Hong Kong, especially applications for change of employer from those whose employment contracts have expired normally. At the same time, to combat job-hopping, the ImmD will, during case assessment, continue to closely scrutinise the details of applicants, such as the number and reasons for their premature contract termination in the past 12 months. For suspected job-hopping cases, the ImmD will refuse the employment visa applications and require the applicants to leave Hong Kong.

Employers may visit the Labour Department's dedicated FDH Portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) for further information on the obligations and rights of employers and FDHs under the EO and the SEC relating to COVID-19. For information relating to COVID-19 and the DDO, employers may visit the Equal Opportunities Commission's website (www.eoc.org.hk/EOC/Upload/UserFiles/File/FAQ_COVID-19_Foreign_Domestic_Workers_and_Employers_english.pdf).


2020.09.30 

Measures to assist foreign domestic helpers and employers to cope with COVID-19 pandemic extended

In view of the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today (September 30) announced that the previous measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

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In view of the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today (September 30) announced that the previous measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The flexibility arrangement announced on February 4 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202002/04/P2020020400547.htm), March 19 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/19/P2020031900394.htm) and June 30 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202006/30/P2020062900892.htm) to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs will be further extended. The flexibility arrangement aims to assist those employers whose contracts with their existing FDHs are due to expire soon, but are in a situation in which the newly hired FDHs cannot fly in to commence the new contracts. The Commissioner for Labour has now given further in-principle consent for all FDH contracts that will expire on or before December 31, 2020, to vary the period stated in Clause 2 of the Standard Employment Contract by extending the period of employment up to January 31, 2021, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the FDH.

If the contract with the current FDH has already been extended under the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, March 19 and/or June 30, the employer may submit an application to the Immigration Department (ImmD) to further extend the period of employment and the limit of stay of the FDH up to January 31, 2021, if both the employer and the FDH mutually agree to the variation.

Extension of limit of stay as visitors

As announced by the Government on March 21 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/21/P2020032000829.htm) and June 30 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202006/30/P2020062900892.htm), applications from FDHs to extend their limit of stay in Hong Kong as visitors will be flexibly considered. FDHs whose existing contracts are due to expire or are terminated on or before December 31, 2020, may apply to the ImmD for an extension of limit of stay in Hong Kong (for a maximum period of one month) as visitors for the purpose of finding a new employer in Hong Kong, if they are unable to return to their place of origin due to the pandemic in their place of origin and/or international travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.

An FDH who has already extended his/her limit of stay as a visitor in Hong Kong under the flexibility arrangement announced on March 21 and June 30 may submit an application to the ImmD to further extend his/her limit of stay as a visitor for the purpose of finding a new employer in Hong Kong. Without prejudice to the principle of guarding against abuse, the ImmD will exercise discretion to grant the FDHs concerned an extension of limit of stay as a visitor for a maximum period of one month depending on individual case merits.

The ImmD has been expediting the processing of employment visa applications submitted by FDHs who are in Hong Kong, especially applications for change of employer from those whose employment contracts have expired normally. At the same time, to combat abuse in changing employers through the arrangement for premature contract termination (commonly known as "job-hopping"), the ImmD will, during case assessment, continue to closely scrutinise the details of applicants, such as the number and reasons for their premature contract termination in the last 12 months. For suspected "job-hopping" cases, the ImmD will refuse the employment visa applications and require the applicants to leave Hong Kong.

Deferral of home leave

Under the prevailing mechanism, an FDH on a renewed contract with the same employer, or due to start a new contract with a new employer upon the expiry of an existing contract, may apply to the ImmD for deferring home leave for not more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to agreement of his/her current employer or new employer.

As announced by the Government on March 21 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/21/P2020032000829.htm) and June 30 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202006/30/P2020062900892.htm), FDHs who have previously been approved to defer home leave upon the start of their new contract but need to further defer home leave may apply to the ImmD for further extension of limit of stay, subject to mutual agreement between FDHs and their employers.

In view of the latest situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDHs who are still unable to return to their place of origin for home leave within their current limit of stay may continue to apply to the ImmD for an extension of limit of stay. If the FDHs concerned who have already been granted further extension of stay as per the preceding paragraph (i.e. the total extension of limit of stay amounts to not more than 21 months) wish to further defer their home leave, the ImmD will, on individual case merits, consider exercising discretion to grant them a further extension of limit of stay for not more than three months.

Submission of applications for contract renewal

Under the prevailing arrangement, applications for contract renewal with the same employer after completion of the existing two-year contract will normally be accepted within eight weeks prior to the expiry of the existing contract. For FDHs who are applying for further extension of limit of stay under the above-mentioned "deferral of home leave" flexibility measure and if approved, and whose existing contracts will expire at the same time, they may submit the applications for "deferral of home leave" and contract renewal with the same employer to the ImmD in one go. The ImmD will, as a further facilitation measure, consider advancing the processing of the application for contract renewal. Nonetheless, employers are reminded that they should arrange for their FDHs to return to their place of origin for vacation within their extended limit of stay as far as practicable.

For enquiries, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2020.08.06 

Government implements a series of measures to reduce the health risks faced by foreign domestic helpers staying in boarding facilities of employment agencies

The Government announced today (August 6) that a series of measures will be implemented promptly to reduce the health risks faced by foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) staying in boarding facilities of employment agencies (EAs) and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

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The Government announced today (August 6) that a series of measures will be implemented promptly to reduce the health risks faced by foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) staying in boarding facilities of employment agencies (EAs) and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

Free COVID-19 testing and distribution of masks

A Government spokesman said, "As the epidemic in Hong Kong has remained severe, to strengthen anti-epidemic efforts, the Government has decided to arrange virus testing for different high risk groups to safeguard public health. The Government will expand the testing scope to cover FDHs staying in boarding facilities of EAs. A free, one-off COVID-19 testing service provided by a testing agency (Prenetics Limited) will be arranged for relevant FDHs."

The testing agency will provide one-stop service covering specimen collection and testing.  It will shortly deploy staff to licensed EAs providing FDH placement services to deliver specimen bottles for collecting deep throat saliva samples from FDHs staying in the EAs' boarding facilities. The specimens will then be collected by the testing agency after one to two days for testing. Cases with positive results will be relayed to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health for follow-up. The testing agency will work closely with the Labour Department (LD) and determine the testing priority based on the number of persons staying in an EA boarding facility, manpower resources available, etc.

In addition, to strengthen protection of the relevant FDHs, the Government will, from August 8 to 10, 2020, distribute masks to FDHs staying in EAs' boarding facilities via licensed EAs providing FDH placement services. Also, to shorten the time that FDHs will need to stay in EAs' boarding facilities, the Immigration Department will process applications for changing employers in Hong Kong from FDHs whose employment contracts have expired as soon as possible.

Regulation of employment agencies

During the COVID-19 epidemic, LD has approached EA associations a number of times to remind the industry that they cannot arrange FDHs arriving in Hong Kong to undergo compulsory quarantine in EAs' boarding facilities; and that EAs should avoid arranging FDHs to stay in crowded environments, be alert and remind FDHs to pay attention to personal hygiene and maintain social distance. EAs can make reference to CHP's "Guidelines on Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the General Public" (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/nid_guideline_general_public_en.pdf) and "A Guide to Personal, Home and Environmental Hygiene" (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/a_guide_to_personal_home_and_environmental_hygiene_keep_clean_be_healthy_booklet.pdf).

Pursuant to the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies (CoP) promulgated by the Commissioner for Labour (the Commissioner), should an EA conduct any other activities (e.g. holding training classes or providing temporary accommodation) or non-EA related business at an EA's licensed address or other premises, the EA must comply with the relevant laws at all times. EAs in breach of the CoP may have their licences revoked or refused renewal by the Commissioner.

Publicity and education

On July 18, 2020, the Government gazetted the specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to impose conditions based on public health grounds in order to further reduce the number of imported cases of COVID-19. A traveller who, on the day on which the traveller boarded a civil aviation aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong, or during the 14 days before that day, has stayed in any specified place (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa), he/she must meet the conditions specified by the Secretary for Food and Health. Since the relevant specifications came into effect at 0.00am on July 25, 2020, the number of FDHs coming from the specified places has dropped markedly.

The Government will continue to conduct publicity to FDHs and appeal to them to avoid non-essential gatherings, stay at home for rest as far as possible, and maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times to safeguard their personal health and public hygiene. In particular, LD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Police will conduct mobile broadcasts in Chinese, English and major FDH languages (including Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai) on August 8 and 9, 2020 at popular gathering places of FDHs to call upon FDHs to comply with the regulations on the prohibition of group gatherings and mask-wearing requirement in public places; conduct publicity to FDHs during the broadcasts; and distribute leaflets printed in FDH languages to appeal to them to maintain environmental hygiene, refrain from conducting unlicensed hawking activities, including cooked food or other hawking activities. Also, the Police will increase manpower to step up patrols at those places.

The Government spokesman said, "The Government announced on August 3, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202008/03/P2020080300770.htm) that it had gazetted directions and specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I) to extend the social distancing measures already in place, including prohibition on group gatherings of more than two persons in public places and requiring a person to wear a mask at all times when the person is boarding or onboard a public transport carrier, is entering or present in an MTR paid area, or is entering or present in a public place (indoor or outdoor). Offenders are liable to prosecution. The Government reminds employers and FDHs to observe and comply with the relevant requirements and restrictions. As of August 2, 2020, a total of 12 FDHs had been fined a fixed penalty of $2,000 for being in breach of the direction on prohibition of group gatherings in public places."

The spokesman continued, "When discussing rest day arrangements with their FDHs, employers should explain the current special circumstances and express mutual understanding in fighting the virus. Employers may encourage their FDHs to stay at home for rest, or take their rest day on weekdays instead of at the weekend. If FDHs choose to go out on their rest day, they should wear a mask, keep a distance of at least one metre from others where possible, avoid gathering and going to crowded places, and keep their hands clean at all times."

"Also, LD reminds employers that under the Employment Ordinance, if an employer requests an FDH to work on a rest day, the employer must substitute another rest day for the FDH within 30 days after the original rest day; the employer must also notify the FDH of the arrangement within 48 hours after he/she is required to work. Besides, an employer may substitute another rest day with the consent of the FDH, in which case it must be within the same month before the original rest day or within 30 days after it. An employer who compels his/her FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or fails to grant rest days to the FDH is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000."

For any update and health information on COVID-19, please visit the Government's "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng).  Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu is available.


2020.07.21

Employers must sign undertaking when applying for visas for foreign domestic helpers

In view of the latest development and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the Government has gazetted specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H, Laws of Hong Kong) (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202007/18/P2020071800038.htm) to impose conditions based on public health grounds on travellers who have visited certain specified high risk places (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa) within 14 days before arrival in Hong Kong, in order to further reduce the number of imported cases. The relevant specifications will come into effect at 0.00am on July 25, 2020, and will remain effective until further notice.

...

In view of the latest development and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the Government has gazetted specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H, Laws of Hong Kong) (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202007/18/P2020071800038.htm) to impose conditions based on public health grounds on travellers who have visited certain specified high risk places (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa) within 14 days before arrival in Hong Kong, in order to further reduce the number of imported cases. The relevant specifications will come into effect at 0.00am on July 25, 2020, and will remain effective until further notice.

On July 18, 2020, the Labour Department (LD) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), employers and employment agencies to take note of the aforementioned specifications through a press release (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202007/18/P2020071800480.htm). For an FDH to whom the specifications apply, he/she must provide the following documents:

1. a letter or certificate in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH to show that:
(a) the relevant FDH underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the sample for which was taken from the relevant FDH within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
(b) the test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; and
(c) the result of the test is that the relevant FDH had tested negative for COVID-19;
2. the original of the report for the test issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH;
3. a letter in English or Chinese issued by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located certifying that the laboratory or healthcare institution is recognised or approved by the government; and
4. the relevant FDH has confirmation in English or Chinese of a room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant FDH in Hong Kong.

Employers shall bear the costs of the nucleic acid test and the accommodation expenses, as well as provide a food allowance to their FDHs during the compulsory quarantine.

To tie in with the above measures, the Immigration Department (ImmD) will implement a new arrangement on applications for FDH visas. With immediate effect, employers applying for a visa for their FDHs (including those applications having been submitted but pending approval or issuance of visas) will be required to sign an undertaking to indicate that they will arrange for the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their FDHs, and be responsible for the relevant costs if 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 the ImmD at www.immd.gov.hk/eng/forms/hk-visas/foreign-domestic-helpers.html and obtained free of charge from the ImmD Headquarters and Immigration Branch Offices.

For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk. For enquiries on employment rights and benefits, please contact the LD at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk.


2020.07.18

Labour Department reminds foreign domestic helpers and employers of specifications relating to travelling to Hong Kong

The Government announced today (July 18) that it had gazetted the specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to impose conditions based on public health grounds in order to further reduce the number of imported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A traveller who, on the day on which the traveller boarded a civil aviation aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong, or during the 14 days before that day, has stayed in any specified place (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa), he/she must meet the conditions specified by the Secretary for Food and Health. The relevant specifications will come into effect at 0.00am on July 25, 2020, and will remain effective until further notice.

...

The Government announced today (July 18) that it had gazetted the specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to impose conditions based on public health grounds in order to further reduce the number of imported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A traveller who, on the day on which the traveller boarded a civil aviation aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong, or during the 14 days before that day, has stayed in any specified place (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa), he/she must meet the conditions specified by the Secretary for Food and Health. The relevant specifications will come into effect at 0.00am on July 25, 2020, and will remain effective until further notice.

The Labour Department (LD) reminds foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), employers and employment agencies (EAs) to take note of the aforementioned specifications. For an FDH to whom the specifications apply, he/she must provide the following documents:

1. a letter or certificate in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH to show that:
(a) the relevant FDH underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 the sample for which was taken from the relevant FDH within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
(b) the test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; and
(c) the result of the test is that the relevant FDH was tested negative for COVID-19;
2. the original of the report for the test issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH;
3. a letter in English or Chinese issued by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located certifying that the laboratory or healthcare institution is recognised or approved by the government; and
4. the relevant FDH has confirmation in English or Chinese of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant FDH in Hong Kong.

An LD spokesman said, "Before the relevant FDH is checked-in for a flight to Hong Kong, he/she should produce the above documents to the operator of the aircraft for boarding the aircraft. Employers and EAs (if applicable) are reminded to make necessary preparations for their FDHs beforehand. If an FDH is not able to meet any of the conditions specified by the Secretary for Food and Health, he/she may not be allowed to board the flight to Hong Kong and newly arrived FDHs may be denied entry into Hong Kong upon arrival. Relevant FDHs are reminded to stay at the hotel address as stated in the quarantine order during the 14-day compulsory quarantine."

"Employers should bear the cost of the nucleic acid test for their FDHs. Employers applying to the Immigration Department (ImmD) to employ domestic helpers will be required to sign an undertaking to the Government, indicating that they will comply with the relevant specifications and bear the cost of the nucleic acid test when arranging for their FDHs to come to Hong Kong, in case their FDHs have stayed in a specified place on the day on which they boarded an aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong, or during the 14 days before that day. Employers found to be in breach of the undertaking may be given an adverse record and ImmD may refuse their future applications for employment of FDHs. Employers are also reminded to comply with their obligations under the Standard Employment Contract, including bearing the accommodation expenses and providing food allowance to FDHs during the FDHs' compulsory quarantine," the spokesman continued.

"For EAs, they have the responsibility to provide correct information to employers and FDH. They should remind and/or assist employers in making relevant arrangements to comply with the relevant specifications. If there is evidence that an EA has violated the requirements in the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies, the EA concerned will be penalised."

A list of licensed hotels is available at the website of the Office of the Licensing Authority of the Home Affairs Department (www.hadla.gov.hk/cgi-bin/hadlanew/search.pl?client=1&searchtype=1&licenceNo=&name=&address=&room=0&district=0&displaytype=2). When choosing a hotel for quarantine purpose, employers and EAs (if applicable) are reminded to contact the hotel for more details and refer to the Infection Control Advice for Person under Compulsory Home Quarantine (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/infection_control_advice.pdf) issued by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health.

For enquiries on employment rights and benefits, please contact LD at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk. As to enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2020.06.30

Measures to assist foreign domestic helpers and employers to cope with COVID-19 pandemic extended

In view of the latest development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today (June 30) announced that the previous measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

...

In view of the latest development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today (June 30) announced that the previous measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202002/04/P2020020400547.htm) and March 19, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/19/P2020031900394.htm) to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs will be further extended. The flexibility arrangement aims to assist those employers whose contracts with their existing FDHs are due to expire soon, but are in the situation where the newly hired FDHs cannot fly in to commence the new contract. The Commissioner for Labour has now given further in-principle consent for all FDH contracts that will expire on or before September 30, 2020, to vary the period stated in Clause 2 of the Standard Employment Contract by extending the period of employment up to October 31, 2020, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the FDH.

If the contract with the current FDH has already been extended under the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, 2020 and/or March 19, 2020, the employer may submit an application to the Immigration Department (ImmD) to further extend the period of employment and stay of the FDH up to October 31, 2020, if both the employer and the FDH mutually agree to the variation.

Extension of limit of stay as visitors

As announced by the Government on March 21, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/21/P2020032000829.htm), applications from FDHs to extend their limit of stay in Hong Kong as visitors will be flexibly considered. FDHs whose existing contracts are due to expire or are terminated on or before September 30, 2020 may apply to ImmD for an extension of limit of stay in Hong Kong (for a maximum period of one month) as visitors for the purpose of finding a new employer in Hong Kong, if they are unable to return to their place of origin due to the pandemic in their place of origin and/or international travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.

An FDH who has already extended his/her limit of stay as a visitor in Hong Kong under the flexibility arrangement announced on March 21, 2020 may submit an application to ImmD to further extend his/her limit of stay as a visitor for the purpose of finding a new employer in Hong Kong. ImmD will exercise discretion to grant the FDHs concerned an extension of stay for a maximum period of one month depending on individual case merits under the special circumstances arising from the pandemic.

Deferral of home leave

Under the existing mechanism, an FDH on a renewed contract with the same employer, or due to start a new contract with a new employer upon the expiry of an existing contract may apply to ImmD for deferring home leave for no more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to agreement of his/her employer or new employer.

As announced by the Government on March 21, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/21/P2020032000829.htm), FDHs who have previously been approved to defer home leave upon the start of their new contract but need to further defer home leave may apply to ImmD for further extension of limit of stay for not more than six months, subject to mutual agreement between FDHs and their employers.

In view of the latest situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDHs who are still unable to return to their place of origin for home leave within their current limit of stay may continue to apply to ImmD for an extension of limit of stay. If the FDHs concerned who have already been granted a further extension of stay as per the preceding paragraph (i.e. the total extension of limit of stay amounts to not more than one and a half years) wish to further defer their home leave, ImmD will, on individual case merits, consider exercising discretion to grant them a further extension of limit of stay for not more than three months. Arrangements should be made by the employer for the FDH to return to his/her place of origin for vacation within the extended period, and to use his/her entry visa (with a validity in line with the extension of stay granted) upon his/her return to Hong Kong for completion of the contract.

For enquiries, please contact ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2020.03.21

Foreign domestic helpers applying to extend limit of stay to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the latest development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today (March 21) announced that applications from foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to extend their limit of stay in Hong Kong as visitors will be flexibly considered.

...

The Government spokesman said, "In view of the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which might affect the arrival and departure of FDHs from/to their place of origin, the Immigration Department (ImmD) will flexibly consider applications from FDHs to extend their stay in Hong Kong as visitors for the purpose of finding a new employer in Hong Kong if their existing contract is due to expire or is terminated on or before July 31, 2020. The FDH concerned may apply to ImmD for an extension of stay as a visitor for a maximum period of one month in Hong Kong, if he/she is unable to return to his/her place of origin due to the pandemic in his/her place of origin and/or international travel restrictions arising from the pandemic. ImmD will exercise discretion depending on individual case merits under the special circumstances arising from the pandemic."

"In addition, under the existing mechanism, an FDH on a renewed contract with the same employer, or due to start a new contract with a new employer upon the expiry of an existing contract may apply to ImmD for deferring home leave for no more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to agreement of his/her employer or new employer. Owing to the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, an FDH may apply to ImmD for further extension of limit of stay if he/she is unable to return to his/her place of origin for home leave within his/her extended limit of stay. ImmD will, on individual case merits, exercise discretion to grant him/her an extension to further defer the home leave for not more than six months. Arrangements should be made for the FDH to return to his/her place of origin for vacation within the extended period, and to use his/her entry visa (with a validity in line with the extension of stay granted) upon his/her return to Hong Kong for completion of the contract," the Government spokesman continued.

For enquiries, please contact ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2020.03.19

Flexibility arrangement to extend validity period of foreign domestic helpers' contracts and points to note for home quarantine for foreign domestic helpers travelling to Hong Kong

In response to the latest development of the COVID-19 infection, the Government today (March 19) announced that the flexibility arrangement to extend the validity period of the contracts of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) will be extended with immediate effect. The Labour Department (LD) also appeals to employers of FDHs and employment agencies (EAs) to make necessary arrangements to accommodate the compulsory home quarantine for FDHs travelling to Hong Kong, which is effective today.

...

"The Government will extend the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202002/04/P2020020400547.htm) to enable employers to extend the validity period of the contracts with their outgoing FDHs. The flexibility arrangement aims to assist those employers whose contracts with their existing FDHs are due to expire soon, but are in the situation where the newly hired FDHs cannot fly in to commence the new contract. The flexibility arrangement can help the affected families by allowing them to continue retaining their current FDHs temporarily while waiting for the new FDHs to report for duty. This will also help the FDHs waiting to report for duty to retain their contracts with their employers," a Government spokesman said.

According to Clause 15(a) of the Standard Employment Contract (SEC), an employer may vary Clause 2 of the SEC to extend the period of employment by not more than one month by mutual agreement between the employer and the FDH, and with approval from the Director of Immigration. Prior consent from the Commissioner for Labour is required for extending the period of an FDH contract beyond a month. Under the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, 2020, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for all FDH contracts that will expire on or before March 31, 2020, to be extended up till May 31, 2020, provided that such variation is mutually agreed by both the employer and the FDH.

In response to the latest development of the COVID-19 infection, the Commissioner for Labour has now given further in-principle consent for all FDH contracts that will expire on or before June 30, 2020, to vary the period stated in Clause 2 of the SEC by extending the period of employment up to July 31, 2020, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed by both the employer and the FDH. Employers and FDHs in need may apply directly to the Director of Immigration for extension of the period of employment and stay of the FDHs on or before June 30, 2020. Upon receiving the applications, the Immigration Department (ImmD) will process them in accordance with its established procedures and policies.

"If the contract with the current FDH has already been extended under the flexibility arrangement announced on February 4, 2020, the employer may still submit an application to ImmD to further extend the period of employment and stay of the FDHs up to July 31, 2020, if both the employer and the FDH mutually agree to the variation," the Government spokesman said.

Applications for extension of stay of FDHs may be submitted during office hours or by post to the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section at Immigration Tower in Wan Chai. The required documents for submitting the applications are as follows:

  • Visa/Extension of Stay Application Form for Domestic Helper from Abroad (ID 988A) completed and signed by the FDH;
  • the current SEC (ID 407) kept by the employer and the FDH with an amendment clause on extending the period of employment duly signed by both parties at the end of page 4;
  • a supporting letter signed by the employer stating the reason(s) for extending the period of employment;
  • the FDH's travel document (please send a copy if applying by post); and
  • a visa fee of $230.

The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and review the above flexibility arrangement as necessary.

Meanwhile, following the Department of Health (DH)'s demand that inbound travellers arriving from all countries/territories should undergo compulsory home quarantine with effect from 0.00am on March 19, 2020, the LD appeals to the assistance of FDH employers and their EAs in reminding FDHs to comply with the compulsory quarantine requirement. Employers or their EAs are also advised to educate FDHs under compulsory home quarantine to stay at home at all times and follow the health advice of the DH. While FDHs are expected to stay at their employers' residence, should an employer wish to arrange his/her FDH to stay out from his/her residence for compulsory home quarantine, the employer should make prior arrangement with his/her EA (if applicable) to accommodate the FDH concerned. The employer is also reminded to comply with his/her obligations under the SEC, including bearing the accommodation expenses of the FDH and providing a food allowance to the FDH. An employer shall not compel his/her FDH to work outside of the employer's residence.

CHP's guidelines on home quarantine CHP's guidelines on quarantine in hotels


2020.03.18

Labour Department appeals to employers and employment agencies to make arrangements for foreign domestic helpers undergoing compulsory home quarantine

The Labour Department (LD) today (March 18) appeals to employers of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employment agencies (EAs) to make necessary arrangement to accommodate the compulsory home quarantine for FDHs travelling to Hong Kong.

Following the Red Outbound Travel Alert announced by the Government on March 17, 2020 on all overseas countries/territories based on public health considerations, the Department of Health (DH) has extended health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers arriving from all countries/territories accordingly and demand them to undergo compulsory home quarantine with effect from 0.00am on March 19, 2020.

...

LD appeals to the assistance of FDH employers and their EAs in reminding FDHs to comply with the compulsory quarantine requirement. While FDHs are expected to stay at their employers' residence, should an employer wish to arrange the FDH to stay out from his/her residence, the employer should make prior arrangement with his/her EA (if applicable) to accommodate the FDH concerned. The employer is reminded to comply with his/her obligations under the Standard Employment Contract, including bearing the accommodation expenses and providing food allowance to the FDH. An employer shall not compel his/her FDH to work outside of the employer's residence. Employers or their EAs are also advised to educate FDHs under compulsory home quarantine to stay at home at all times and follow the health advice of DH.

For enquiry on employment rights and benefits, please contact LD at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") by email at fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk.


PUBLICITY WORK on PREVENTION of COVID-19


2021.02.24  New

Leaflet and Poster on "Group gatherings with more than 4 people in public places prohibited"

Leaflet and Poster on "Group gatherings with more than 4 people in public places prohibited"

Leaflet

Leaflet and Poster on "Group gatherings with more than 4 people in public places prohibited"

Poster


2021.01.07  New

Leaflet on "Advice for Foreign Domestic Helpers, Employers and Employment Agencies to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic"

Advice for Foreign Domestic Helpers, Employers and Employment Agencies to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

Leaflet


2020.12.04  New

Leaflet and Poster on "Avoid Sharing Meals and Having Meal Gatherings"

Leaflet and Poster on "Avoid Sharing Meals and Having Meal Gatherings"

Leaflet

Leaflet and Poster on "Avoid Sharing Meals and Having Meal Gatherings"

Poster


2020.12.11 New

Leaflet and Poster on "Compulsory mask wearing in public places"

Leaflet and Poster on "Compulsory mask wearing in public places"

Leaflet

Leaflet and Poster on "Compulsory mask wearing in public places"

Poster


2020.08.08 

Mobile broadcast conducted to appeal to foreign domestic helpers to comply with regulations on prohibition of group gatherings and mask-wearing requirement in public places (with photos)

​The Labour Department (LD), in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police) and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, starting from today (August 8), conducted mobile broadcasts for two consecutive days in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to call upon them to comply with the regulations on the prohibition of group gatherings and mask-wearing requirement in public places.

...

The Labour Department (LD), in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police) and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, starting from today (August 8), conducted mobile broadcasts for two consecutive days in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to call upon them to comply with the regulations on the prohibition of group gatherings and mask-wearing requirement in public places.

Publicity vans parked at popular FDH gathering places across the territory to broadcast reminders in Chinese, English and major FDH languages (including Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai) to call upon FDHs to comply with the regulations on the prohibition of group gatherings of more than two persons and mask-wearing requirement in public places. During the broadcasts, promotional leaflets were distributed by officers from the departments concerned to appeal to FDHs to maintain environmental hygiene and refrain from conducting unlicensed hawking activities, including cooked food or other hawking activities. Also, the Police increased manpower to step up patrols at those places.

The LD's spokesman said, "The Government announced on August 3, 2020 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202008/03/P2020080300770.htm) that it had gazetted directions and specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I) to extend the social distancing measures already in place, including prohibition on group gatherings of more than two persons in public places and requiring a person to wear a mask at all times when the person is boarding or onboard a public transport carrier, is entering or present in an MTR paid area, or is entering or present in a public place (indoor or outdoor). Offenders are liable to prosecution. The Government reminds employers and FDHs to observe and comply with the relevant requirements and restrictions."

The LD will continue to conduct publicity to FDHs and appeal to them to avoid non-essential gatherings, stay at home for rest as far as possible, and maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times to safeguard their personal health and public health.


2020.04.04

Publicity efforts to encourage foreign domestic helpers and employers to fight COVID-19 together

The Labour Department (LD) announced today (April 4) that mobile broadcasts will be conducted tomorrow (April 5) in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to call upon them to comply with the regulation on the prohibition of group gatherings in public places.

...

Publicity vans will park at popular FDH gathering places on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories to broadcast reminders in Chinese, English and major FDH languages (including Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai) on the regulation of the prohibition of group gatherings in public places. Leaflets in the same languages will be distributed to FDHs during the broadcast to appeal to them to comply with the regulation.

With effect from March 29 to April 11, group gatherings with more than four people in public places are prohibited and offenders are liable to a fixed penalty of $2,000, or if charged in a court, a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.

A spokesman for the department said, "The mobile broadcasts will form part of the wide range of publicity measures rolled out in the past few days. The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, has made a personal appeal in a video message (isd.wecast.hk/vod/?id=10476). We appreciate the contribution of FDHs to Hong Kong society and understand that they would like to go out and meet friends during their rest days. However, it is essential that all of us practise social distancing to prevent the spread of epidemic. We appeal again to FDHs and their employers to exercise mutual understanding on rest day arrangements, including staying home for the rest or taking the rest day on weekdays instead of at the weekend."

Employers are reminded that compelling an FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or failing to grant rest days to the FDH is in violation of the Employment Ordinance. The employer concerned is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000.

A wide range of publicity measures were rolled out to convey the above messages to FDHs and their employers. These include joining efforts with consulates-general to promote the relevant messages to their nationals through their websites and social media platforms, distributing (also via electronic means) and posting leaflets and posters in major FDH languages in public and private housing estates across the territory, broadcasting appeal messages in radio programmes targetting FDHs, promoting on the Government's social media platforms, and screening publicity messages at enquiry centres of the Home Affairs Department.

Furthermore, some frequently asked questions and answers on rest day arrangements and relevant employment matters are available on the dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) of the Labour Department (LD) for employers' reference.

"We hope that the above publicity efforts would further help disseminate the messages to FDHs and employers and provide practical information to them. We appeal to their continued support in fighting the virus," the spokesman added.

For any update and health information on COVID-19, please visit the Government's COVID-19 Thematic Website (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/). Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu is available.

Should FDHs and their employers have enquiries on employment matters, they may seek the LD's assistance through its dedicated email account for FDH matters (fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk) and the online form on its dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).


2020.04.02

Secretary for Labour and Welfare appeals to foreign domestic helpers and employers to join hands in prevention of epidemic spread

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, today (April 2) called upon foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to exercise a mutual understanding on rest day arrangements. He thanked FDHs for their contributions to Hong Kong society and appealed to them to observe social distancing in the fight against COVID-19. A series of publicity measures are underway to convey the messages.

...

In a video message appealing to all FDHs and employers to join hands in this fight, Dr Law said, "The Government has prohibited group gatherings with more than four people in public places. Offenders are liable to prosecution. We fully understand that most helpers would like to meet their friends during their rest days. However, we are now at a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19, and it is essential that all of us practise social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease."

With effect from March 29 to April 11, group gatherings with more than four people in public places are prohibited and offenders are liable to a fixed penalty of $2,000, or if charged in a court, a maximum penalty of fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Dr Law also appealed to employers to understand the current special circumstances and discuss the rest day arrangements with their helpers by encouraging them to stay home for rest, or take their rest day on weekdays instead of at the weekend. "Employers are also reminded that it is against the law to refuse to grant a rest day or compel your helpers to work on a rest day without consent," he added.

A wide range of publicity efforts have been undertaken to drive home the above messages. These include joint efforts with consulates-general to convey the messages to their nationals through their websites and social media platforms; putting up and distributing posters and leaflets (available in major FDH languages, including Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai) across the territory as well as through electronic means; and broadcasting appeal messages in radio programmes targeting FDHs.

Furthermore, some frequently asked questions and answers on rest day arrangements and relevant employment matters are available on the dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) of the Labour Department (LD) for employers' reference.

Apart from social distancing measures, the Government has implemented initiatives to assist employers and FDHs to cope with the special circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • All FDH contracts that expire on or before June 30 may be extended up to July 31 upon mutual agreement between the employer and the FDH (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/19/P2020031900394.htm);
  • FDHs whose existing contracts are due to expire or are terminated on or before July 31 may apply to the Immigration Department (ImmD) for an extension of limit of stay in Hong Kong (for a maximum period of one month) as visitor to facilitate them to find a new employer in Hong Kong (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/21/P2020032000829.htm); and
  • FDHs on a renewed contract with the same employer upon completion of the current contract, or those due to start a new contract with a new employer may apply to ImmD for deferring home leave for no more than 18 months.

For any update and health information on COVID-19, please visit the Government's "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/). Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu is available.

Should FDHs and their employers have enquiries on employment matters, they may seek the LD's assistance through its dedicated email account for FDH matters (fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk) and through the online form on its dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).

2020.03.28

Labour Department reminds foreign domestic helpers that group gatherings in public places will be prohibited

The Labour Department (LD) today (March 28) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) that group gatherings in public places will be prohibited starting from March 29.

...

The spokesman of the department said, "The Government announced today (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/28/P2020032800720.htm) that a notice will be issued in the Gazette in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) to prohibit group gatherings with more than four people in public places. The notice will take effect at 0.00am on March 29 for 14 days. LD reminds employers and FDHs to observe and comply with the relevant Regulation and notice, and appeals to them to avoid social activities on their rest days and stay at home for rest as far as possible. Employers and FDHs may consider discussing rest day arrangements between themselves, including substituting another rest day, so as to avoid the health risk of participating in social activities."

The spokesman continued, "LD appeals to employers to explain the current special circumstances when discussing rest day arrangements with their FDHs and calls for their mutual understanding in joining hands to fight the virus. LD also reminds employers that under the Employment Ordinance, if an employer requests an FDH to work on a rest day, the employer must substitute another rest day for the FDH within 30 days after the original rest day; the employer must also notify the FDH of the arrangement within 48 hours after he/she is required to work. An employer who compels his/her FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or fails to grant rest days to the FDH is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000."

For health advice on the prevention of pneumonia and respiratory tract infection, please visit the website of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/). Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu are available.

Should FDHs and their employers have enquiries on employment matters, they may seek LD's assistance through the dedicated email account for FDH matters (fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk) and the online form on the dedicated portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).


2020.03.27

Labour Department again appeals to foreign domestic helpers to refrain from gathering and crowding in public places

The Labour Department (LD) today (March 27) again appealed to foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to refrain from gathering and crowding in public places and stay at home for rest on their rest days as far as possible to safeguard their personal health and reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

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The spokesman of the department said, "In response to the COVID-19 infection, to safeguard FDHs’ personal health, LD issued a press release on January 30 to appeal to FDHs to stay at home for rest on their rest days as far as possible and stay away from crowds on public transport or at public places. In view of the recent changes in circumstances of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the Government announced on March 23 further enhancements to our anti-epidemic measures. LD again appeals to FDHs to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times, avoid going out for social activities on rest days such as meal gatherings, and maintain an appropriate social distance with other people as far as possible. The Government notes that the consulates-general of FDHs' home countries have similarly appealed to their nationals to stay at home whenever possible, avoid crowded places and practise social distancing."

The spokesman continued, "FDHs may consider discussing rest day arrangements with their employers, including substituting another rest day, so as to avoid the health risk of gathering in crowded places. Under the Employment Ordinance, if an employer requests an FDH to work on a rest day, the employer must substitute another rest day for the FDH within 30 days after the original rest day; the employer must also notify the FDH of the arrangement within 48 hours after he/she is required to work. LD appeals to employers to explain the current special circumstances when discussing rest day arrangements with their FDHs and calls for their mutual understanding in joining hands to fight the virus. LD also reminds employers again that an employer who compels his/her FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or fails to grant rest days to the FDH is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000."

For health advice on the prevention of pneumonia and respiratory tract infection, please visit the website of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/). Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu are available.

Should FDHs and their employers have enquiries on employment matters, they may seek LD's assistance through the dedicated email account for FDH matters (fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk) and the online form on the dedicated portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).


2020.03.18

Prevention of Pneumonia and Respiratory Tract Infection

Prevention of Pneumonia and Respiratory Tract Infection

Prevention of Pneumonia and Respiratory Tract Infection

Reduce social contact to protect yourself and others

Reduce social contact to protect yourself and others

Use serving chopsticks and spoons

Use Serving Chopsticks and Spoons (Available in Chinese / other languages only)

2020.02.19

Employer and domestic helpers work together to fight the virus

To prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in the community, we all need to work together. Reduce social contact to protect yourself and others: stay at home as far as possible; stay away from crowded places; avoid social gatherings; do not shake hands when meeting other people; and avoid meal gatherings.

For details, please refer to the thematic webpage ( www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/ ) of the Centre for Health Protection. Information in other languages including Hindi, Nepali, Urdu, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Tagalog, Bengali, Sinhala and Vietnamese are available.

Source: Facebook page of the Centre for Health Protection, DH


2020.01.30

Prevention of Novel Coronavirus Infection - Encourage Foreign Domestic Helpers to Stay Home on their Rest Day

The Labour Department (LD) appealed to foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to stay home on their rest day in order to safeguard their personal health and to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community.

The spokesman said, "The response level under the 'Preparedness and Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance' has been raised to Emergency Response Level with effect from January 25. The public should refrain from gathering so as to minimise the risk of infection. The Government notes that the Philippine and Indonesian Consulates-General have also appealed to their nationals to take necessary health precautions and avoid large crowds or gatherings."

...

"The Government appeals to FDHs to stay home for rest on their rest day as far as possible, and to stay away from crowds on public transport or at public places. At the same time, employers must not require FDHs to work on their rest day. If it is necessary for FDHs to go out, they are advised to wear a surgical mask and to avoid staying in crowded places. If a FDH or his/her employer has visited the Mainland recently, he/she should wear a surgical mask and stay home for 14 days upon return to Hong Kong as far as possible," the spokesman continued.

LD appeals to employers to explain the special circumstances in discussing rest day arrangements with their FDHs and calls for mutual understanding. In particular, LD reminds that an employer who compels his/her FDH to work on a rest day is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000.

For further health advice on the prevention of pneumonia and respiratory tract infection, please visit the thematic website of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health (DH) (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/) or call the DH's hotline (2125 1122).

Information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu are available.

For enquiry on employment rights and benefits, please call the LD's 24-hour enquiry hotline at 2717 1771 (the hotline is manned by "1823"). Employers may also make reference to the press release on LD's appeal to employers to make arrangement to reduce the risk of the spread of novel coronavirus in the community (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202001/30/P2020013000285.htm).



WELCOME MESSAGE

This portal provides information relating to employment of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong, including the policy on importation of FDHs, as well as the publication and publicity materials on the rights and obligations of FDHs and their employers under the labour laws and the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs. Both FDHs and their employers are encouraged to read the information in this website as well as the relevant materials before entering into a contract, or during the course of employment.

While it is not a requirement by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government that employers must recruit FDHs through, or FDHs to obtain employment from, employment agencies (EAs), it is a very common channel through which Hong Kong people employ FDHs. Respective home countries of FDHs may also have such requirement and they vary across countries. FDHs and employers are also encouraged to read the "Engaging an employment agency" section for the points to note when using the service of EAs. They may also use the search engine in the page for identifying EA(s) with valid licence in Hong Kong.

For matters relating to the eligibility criteria and procedures for applying for employment of FDHs, please visit the website of the Immigration Department.

WHAT'S NEW (Available In Chinese/English only)