Foreign Domestic Helpers' Corner Foreign Domestic Helpers' Corner

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
    


IMPORTANT MESSAGES RELATED to COVID-19


Latest Inbound Control and Testing Arrangements For Foreign Domestic Helpers

Please click here for the latest press release.

Click here to know about the testing requirements of foreign domestic helpers who are coming to work in Hong Kong.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Frequently Asked Questions relating to Foreign Domestic Helpers

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 21 November 2022

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme 

For vaccination booking and other details, please visit the designated website of the Vaccination Programme (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk). The website contains information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu.


Last update on 12 August 2022

Other Related Information

Sickness Allowance and Employment Protection under Anti-Epidemic Measures

The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 comes into operation on 17 June 2022. The Amendment Ordinance aims at strengthening the protection of the employment rights and benefits of employees when they are absent from work due to their compliance with specific anti-epidemic requirements and encouraging employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. For details, please visit: https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/EAO2022.htm

Increase of Statutory Holidays

Starting from 2022, the Birthday of the Buddha will be a newly added statutory holiday under the Employment Ordinance. For details, please visit: https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/EAO2021.htm


2022.11.17 

Government adjusts nucleic acid testing arrangements for inbound persons

The Government announced today (November 17) that the nucleic acid testing arrangements for persons arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan will be adjusted starting from November 21. Relevant persons will only be required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the day of arrival at Hong Kong (i.e. “test-and-go” at the airport) and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong, as well as daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) after arrival until Day 7 after arrival at Hong Kong. The existing compulsory nucleic acid testing requirement on Day 4 and Day 6 after arrival at Hong Kong will be lifted.

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The Government announced today (November 17) that the nucleic acid testing arrangements for persons arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan will be adjusted starting from November 21. Relevant persons will only be required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the day of arrival at Hong Kong (i.e. “test-and-go” at the airport) and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong, as well as daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) after arrival until Day 7 after arrival at Hong Kong. The existing compulsory nucleic acid testing requirement on Day 4 and Day 6 after arrival at Hong Kong will be lifted.

Since the implementation of the “0+3” arrangement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan on September 26, there has been an increase in the number of imported cases but the ratio of confirmed cases has stabilised. During the six-week period from September 26 to November 6, the percentage of confirmed cases found among relevant inbound persons was 4.5 per cent. A vast majority of imported cases was already detected by the nucleic acid tests under “test-and-go” on the day of arrival at Hong Kong and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong. The remaining confirmed cases detected by the Day 4 and Day 6 tests accounted for only 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent of the overall number of relevant inbound persons respectively. In other words, only 4 cases and 1 case were respectively detected per 1 000 inbound persons.

In view of the short incubation period of the Omicron virus variant, and taking into consideration the local epidemic situation and that inbound persons could move about in the community after “test-and-go” at the airport under the “0+3” arrangement, it may be more likely that confirmed cases detected by the nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6 stemmed from local infection rather than importation. These cases accounted for a relatively smaller proportion of the confirmed cases among relevant inbound persons, and were also at a relatively low level when compared to the local caseload. On the premise of proper risk management with precise measures while striking a balance between the needs of medical surveillance and reducing the impact on inbound persons, the Government considered that the nucleic acid testing requirements for relevant inbound persons can be adjusted.

The adjusted testing arrangements for inbound persons (aged three years old or above on the date of arrival at Hong Kong) arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan are detailed below:

  • Within 24 hours prior to boarding: RAT
  • Day 0 (i.e. day of arrival at Hong Kong): Nucleic acid test under “test-and-go” upon arrival at the airport
  • Day 2: Nucleic acid test at a community testing centre/community testing station or an ac-hoc mobile specimen collection station, or arrange a self-paid test by professional swab sampling at a local medical testing institution recognised by the Government; and
  • Day 1 to Day 7: Daily RATs. Can only leave the place of stay upon obtaining a negative result.

The handling arrangements for inbound persons tested positive align with that for local cases. Vaccine Pass of persons concerned will be switched to a Red Code. Relevant persons should provide information to the Centre for Health Protection through the online platforms (for nucleic acid tests or RATs). For further details, please refer to the webpage on Points to Note for Persons who Tested Positive.

From November 21 onwards, relevant inbound persons arriving at Hong Kong before that date will not be required to undergo the compulsory nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6 if they have already undergone the compulsory nucleic acid test on Day 2 as required. To maintain a certain extent of medical surveillance, apart from the nucleic acid tests to be done on the day of arrival and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong, persons arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan are still required to undergo RATs on a daily basis after arrival at Hong Kong until Day 7 after arrival at Hong Kong. They can only leave the place of stay after obtaining a negative result.

As for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao in general, the requirement of undergoing nucleic acid test on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong remains unchanged.

A Government spokesman said, “The Government will continue to tackle the epidemic development under the principles of science-based and targeted anti-epidemic measures, as well as the proper management of risks and citizen-focused facilitation. The Government will also adjust anti-epidemic measures as appropriate based on analyses of scientific data. It is our aim to facilitate activities and people flow essential to socio-economic recovery, so as to safeguard the well-being of citizens and protect the public healthcare system while reducing the disruption to normal social activities, with a view to achieving the greatest effect with the lowest cost. The Government adopts a prudent and stable approach in adjusting various anti-epidemic measures, in order to avoid a rebound of the epidemic situation and backtracking along the path to normalcy as far as practicable.”

The Government will gazette the relevant compulsory testing notices under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to effect the above measures.


2022.09.24

Latest inbound control arrangement for foreign domestic helpers

The Labour Department (LD) today (September 24) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from September 26 (Monday).

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The Labour Department (LD) today (September 24) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from September 26 (Monday).

An LD spokesman said, "FDHs who are coming to work in Hong Kong from September 26 onwards will be subject to the revised inbound control arrangement under the '0+3' model, i.e. they need not undergo quarantine at hotels upon arrival and will only be subject to medical surveillance for three days, followed by self-monitoring for four days. They will be subject to multiple tests during the medical surveillance period and the subsequent four-day monitoring period. During the medical surveillance period, FDHs can work at the employers' residence and go out to conduct daily essential activities of lower risk, e.g. taking transport, entering supermarkets and markets, etc. They will, however, be subject to Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, and are not allowed to enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection (Note)."

In view of the conditions of individual families, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle approval for employers to choose to arrange FDHs to stay at licensed hotels or guesthouses to complete the three-day medical surveillance and the subsequent four-day self-monitoring. It is not necessary to make an application to the LD. If employers arrange FDHs to undergo medical surveillance and self-monitoring in licensed hotels or guesthouses, they should bear the accommodation expenses and provide food allowance to FDHs for that period. The list of licensed hotels and guesthouses can be found here. If an FDH cannot work in his/her employer's residence as a result of the employer's arrangement to have the FDH undergo medical surveillance and self-monitoring at a place other than the employer's residence, the employer should pay the FDH a sum equivalent to the remuneration that the FDH would have earned if he/she had worked for that period.

Besides, starting from September 26, FDHs coming to work in Hong Kong only need to present a proof of negative result of a rapid antigen test (RAT) conducted within 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure. Any proof of negative result of a nucleic acid test before departure is not required. FDHs still need to complete the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the Department of Health (www.chp.gov.hk/hdf) prior to boarding a flight to declare a record of completion of vaccination and result of pre-departure RAT.

Under the "0+3" model, Designated Quarantine Hotels (DQHs) will be cancelled. The day of arrival at Hong Kong with the first nucleic acid test conducted is considered as Day 0. During medical surveillance, FDHs need to conduct RATs daily and are required to undergo a nucleic acid test on Day 2. Upon receipt of a negative result of the nucleic acid test on Day 2, the FDHs' Vaccine Pass will be changed to Blue Code. FDHs are subject to self-monitoring during the subsequent four days upon completion of medical surveillance and should conduct daily RATs until Day 7. They are also required to take nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6.

As for FDHs arrived at Hong Kong before September 26 and are still undergoing quarantine at DQHs on the same day, they are allowed to leave on September 26 as arranged by the hotels. FDHs arrived at Hong Kong within three days (i.e. FDHs arrived at Hong Kong between September 24 and 26) will still be required to undergo medical surveillance and be subject to Amber Code restrictions. If FDH employers choose to let their FDHs continue to stay at the hotels to complete medical surveillance and self-monitoring, they may liaise with the hotels on their own. Employers are required to bear the accommodation expenses and provide food allowance to FDHs, as well as pay the FDHs a sum equivalent to the remuneration that the FDHs would have earned if they had worked for the periods of medical surveillance and self-monitoring at hotels.

For details of the above arrangement, please refer to the press release issued by the Government on September 24 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202209/24/P2022092400048.htm).

The dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) of the LD also provides information and useful links relating to inbound control arrangement for FDHs. Should there be enquiries on the inbound control arrangement for FDHs, please contact the LD through its 24-hour hotline at 2717 1771 (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).

Note:
Persons under the category of Amber Code cannot enter the following premises subject to "active checking" of the Vaccine Pass and other premises in the capacity of a customer or visitor:

Premises regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) which are subject to "active checking" of the Vaccine Pass:

  • Premises required to use the QR Code Verification Scanner and is regulated under Cap. 599F, i.e. catering business premises (including bars or pubs), amusement game centres, bathhouses, fitness centres, places of amusement, indoor places of public entertainment, party rooms, beauty parlours and massage establishments, club houses, clubs or nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises, indoor sports premises, swimming pools, cruise ships, indoor event premises, barber shops or hair salons and religious premises.
  • Premises required to inspect the Vaccine Pass visually as far as feasible, i.e. outdoor places of public entertainment, outdoor sports premises and outdoor event premises.

Other premises: residential care homes for the elderly, residential care homes for persons with disabilities, schools and designated healthcare premises.

2022.09.21

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

The Government today (September 21) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended.

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The Government today (September 21) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The Government will continue to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs. For all FDH contracts that will expire on or before December 31, 2022, 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 six months, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the FDH concerned. However, applications for further extension of contracts which have already been extended under the previously announced flexibility arrangements will not be considered.

If arrangements cannot be made for a newly hired FDH to come to Hong Kong within the above-mentioned six-month extended period, and the employer needs to continue to employ his/her FDH beyond the six-month extended period, the employer should consider applying for a contract renewal with the existing FDH.

Deferral of return to the place of origin

Under normal circumstances, 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 Immigration Department (ImmD) for deferring his/her return to the place of origin for not more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to the agreement of his/her current employer or new employer.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government will further extend the current flexibility arrangement. If an FDH is unable to return to his/her place of origin within the aforementioned one-year period, he/she may, upon agreement with the employer, apply to the ImmD for a further extension of the limit of stay until the end of his/her contract such that he/she may return to the place of origin within that period. Such applications are acceptable within eight weeks prior to the expiry of the existing limit of stay of the FDHs (i.e. same as those for contract renewal).

The Government reminds employers and FDHs that the above flexibility arrangement must be mutually agreed between them, and that the requirement of FDHs returning to their place of origin remains in force. Employers should arrange for their FDHs to return to their place of origin within the extended limit of stay.

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

To tie in with the disease prevention measures and reduce the flow of people, the Government appeals to members of the public to submit visa applications for FDHs and further employment of FDHs through online means, including through the ImmD mobile application. Through the electronic services for visa application and an "e-Visa" arrangement implemented by the ImmD, members of the public can complete the entire process of the visa application, including application submission, payment and "e-Visa" collection. They may also enquire about the application status and submit supplementary documents and notification of premature termination of an employment contract via a dedicated "Online Services for Foreign Domestic Helpers" webpage set up by the ImmD at www.immd.gov.hk/fdh. The whole process does not require them to visit an office of the ImmD in person to go through the formalities, which is both convenient and time-saving, while reducing the need to travel and contributing to the efforts to fight the virus together.

The Government also urges employers and their FDHs to be mindful of the limit of stay and the passport validity of the FDHs and arrange for applications for visas and replacement of passports in advance.

For enquiries on employment rights and benefits of FDHs, please contact the Labour Department (LD) at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by 1823) or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk. The dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) set up by the LD also provides information and useful links relating to the employment of FDHs. For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by sending email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2022.02.24

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

The Labour Department (LD) today (February 24) 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 pandemic.

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The Labour Department (LD) today (February 24) 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 pandemic.

An LD spokesman said, "Employers who employ FDHs should observe their obligations and requirements under the EO and the SEC. We would like to remind employers that they should not terminate an employment contract because the FDH has contracted COVID-19. Under the EO, an employer is prohibited from terminating the contract of employment of an employee on his/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. Besides, if an employer has breached the EO, he/she will not be considered eligible to employ an FDH for a period of time and his/her visa applications for FDHs will be refused. Employers are also reminded of 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."

Where the EO is applicable, an employer should grant sick leave and sickness allowance to the eligible FDH in accordance with the EO if the FDH falls sick. Where a sick FDH has not accumulated sufficient paid sickness days to cover the period of his/her sick leave, the Government appeals to the employer to be compassionate and consider granting the FDH paid sick leave. In addition, according to the requirements in the SEC, employers should provide to their FDHs free and suitable accommodation as well as free medical treatment.

The spokesman continued, "FDHs assist families of Hong Kong to do household chores and look after the elderly and children. Their contribution to Hong Kong is significant. Currently, the number of FDHs has already decreased to about 340000 from the peak of about 400000 in January 2020 owing to the pandemic. Mutual support and understanding are all the more necessary in face of the pandemic. To meet the needs of local families, we must strengthen support and protection for FDHs in order to maintain Hong Kong as an attractive place for FDHs to work. The Government appeals to employers and FDHs to fight the virus together. Employers must not arbitrarily dismiss infected FDHs. Any FDH dismissed by the employer because of contracting COVID-19 may approach the LD for assistance."

FDHs and employers may call the FDH hotline at 21579537 (handled by 1823), send an email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk or contact the LD through the online form on the dedicated Portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk). For information relating to COVID-19 and the DDO, employers may visit the Equal Opportunities Commission's website
(www.eoc.org.hk/en/news-and-events/covid-19-and-discrimination).