Foreign Domestic Helper Corner Foreign Domestic Helper 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 (Available In Chinese/English only)
    


IMPORTANT MESSAGES RELATED to COVID-19


Place-Specific Flight suspension mechanism

2021.06.23 New

Government invokes place-specific flight suspension mechanism for Indonesia and suspends passenger flights from there

The Government announced today (June 23) the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for Indonesia. From 0.00am on June 25, all passenger flights from Indonesia will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong. Indonesia will also at the same time be specified as an extremely high-risk Group A1 specified place to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong, so as to stop persons from the relevant place from travelling to Hong Kong via transit.

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The Government announced today (June 23) the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for Indonesia. From 0.00am on June 25, all passenger flights from Indonesia will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong. Indonesia will also at the same time be specified as an extremely high-risk Group A1 specified place to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong, so as to stop persons from the relevant place from travelling to Hong Kong via transit.

Under the existing place-specific flight suspension mechanism, if among all passenger flights from the same place, regardless of the airline, a total of five or more passengers were confirmed positive by arrival tests for COVID-19 with the N501Y mutant strain or relevant virus mutation within a seven-day period, or a total of 10 or more passengers were confirmed positive by any tests (including tests conducted during quarantine) with the N501Y mutant strain or relevant virus mutation within a seven-day period, the Government will invoke the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to prohibit all passenger flights from that place from landing in Hong Kong, and will specify that relevant place as an extremely high-risk Group A1 specified place under Cap. 599H to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong, so as to stop persons from the relevant place from travelling to Hong Kong via transit.

As the number of imported cases from Indonesia has reached the above threshold, the Government will invoke the place-specific flight suspension for Indonesia and specify Indonesia as a Group A1 specified place on June 25.

Considering the epidemic situation in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines, the place-specific flight suspension for these places will remain in place.

The Government will gazette the relevant updated specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to effect the above measures on June 25.

"The Government will continue to closely monitor the epidemic situation of various places, the prevalence of new virus variants, vaccination progress, and changes in the volume of cross-boundary passenger traffic, and will adjust the boarding and compulsory quarantine requirements for persons arriving at Hong Kong from relevant places as the situation warrants," a Government spokesman said.

Details on the grouping of specified places and their respective boarding and compulsory quarantine requirements can be found at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/high-risk-places.html.


2021.04.18 

Blog of Secretary for Labour and Welfare: New stage in fighting the pandemic – Tightened passenger flight suspension mechanism may impact on foreign domestic helpers and their employers

The Chief Executive set out the new direction in fighting the pandemic last Monday (April 12). Apart from restoring the city to normality in a gradual and orderly manner on the basis of the "vaccine bubble", infection control measures will also be reinforced in a targeted manner, one of which is to guard against the importation of virus variants into Hong Kong.

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The Chief Executive set out the new direction in fighting the pandemic last Monday (April 12). Apart from restoring the city to normality in a gradual and orderly manner on the basis of the "vaccine bubble", infection control measures will also be reinforced in a targeted manner, one of which is to guard against the importation of virus variants into Hong Kong.

In this connection, the Food and Health Bureau has already announced the implementation of tightened passenger flight suspension mechanism (please refer to the relevant press release for details). It should be noted that a place-specific flight suspension mechanism has been added in parallel. Under the mechanism effective from April 14, should a total of five or more passengers among flights from the same place be confirmed by arrival tests for COVID-19 with the N501Y mutant strain (variant of concern as identified by the World Health Organisation) within a period of seven-day or even a shorter period, the Government would prohibit all passenger flights from that place from landing in Hong Kong for a period of 14 days. At the same time, the Government would specify that place as an extremely high-risk place under Cap. 599H to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong for a period of 14 days, so as to prevent persons from the relevant place from arriving in Hong Kong via transit. After 14 days, the relevant place would be specified as a very high-risk place, and passenger flights to Hong Kong from that place could resume. Persons in the relevant place who fulfilled the boarding requirements could board flights to Hong Kong. However, they must undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days upon arrival at Hong Kong.

Why would I, as Secretary for Labour and Welfare, see the need to draw the public's attention to this tightened mechanism? If one looks at the distribution of COVID-19 confirmed cases released by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health each day, one would notice that the

recent imported COVID-19 cases, both confirmed/suspected, were mainly brought in by inbound flights from certain countries/places, including the Philippines and Indonesia, which are major places of origin of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs). Given the serious epidemic situation in the Philippines recently, there is a high chance that it would be affected by the new place-specific flight suspension mechanism.

About 100 FDHs arrive in Hong Kong by air every day in April. In case the place-specific flight suspension mechanism is invoked by the aforesaid detection of confirmed arrival cases, all inbound passenger flights from the places concerned would be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for a period of 14 days, which may affect over a thousand FDHs and their employers. Not only would newly-hired FDHs be delayed from arriving in Hong Kong, but those who have returned to their home country for vacation may also be stranded. Yet, given the overriding priority in combatting the pandemic, it is necessary for our health authority to tighten the flight suspension mechanism. We therefore remind FDHs, employers and employment agencies to make plans in advance. The Labour Department has already reached out to the Consulates General of major FDH sending countries in Hong Kong, FDH and employer groups as well as employment agency associations to inform them of the implementation of the new mechanism, and to widely disseminate the relevant messages with a view to passing the news to employers and FDHs quickly for making early preparations.

Flexibility arrangement of deferral of return to place of origin

The Government has rolled out a number of measures to support FDHs and their employers to cope with the pandemic since early 2020, so as to reduce the need for FDHs to enter and leave Hong Kong. Employers are allowed to extend the validity period of existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs. For all FDH contracts that will expire on or before June 30, 2021, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for extending the employment period for a maximum period of three months subject to agreement between the employer and the FDH. We have also further extended the flexibility arrangement of deferral of FDHs’ return to their places of origin. If an FDH is unable to return to his/her place of origin within the first one-year deferral period, he/she may, upon agreement of his/her employer, apply to the Immigration Department for a further extension of limit of stay until the end of his/her contract such that he/she may return to the place of origin within that period. We announced the extension of the facilitation arrangements last month (March 29).

The above flexibility arrangements must be mutually agreed between the employer and the FDH. We appreciate that FDHs would want to go back to their home countries for family reunion. Most of the FDHs who have completed and renewed their contracts in early 2020 have not had the chance to return home to visit their families for two or three years. On the other hand, employers are understandably concerned about any hindrance faced by FDHs during their home trips from and to Hong Kong. I appeal to candid dialogues, mutual respect and understanding between FDHs and their employers in working out an appropriate arrangement.

Let's get vaccinated

In case FDHs need to return home during this period of time, employers should encourage them to get vaccinated before leaving Hong Kong. By doing so, not only would FDHs protect themselves, their employers and their friends in Hong Kong, but also their families and friends at home. Supply of vaccines is still very tight in many places. Here in Hong Kong, we have ensured a sufficient supply of vaccines, which are provided to the public free of charge. Indeed, FDHs have been listed as a priority group for receiving vaccination. I appeal to FDHs and employers to take the opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The Labour Department has published leaflets on vaccination in Chinese, English and major FDH languages (including Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia) and has distributed them to FDHs through various channels. The leaflets are available on the dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) of the Labour Department. The Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong and the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Hong Kong have also played an active role in assisting the promotion. The Labour Department has already liaised with other groups to widely disseminate messages of encouraging FDHs to get vaccinated, such as through Facebook and other online social media platforms of FDH groups, local Filipino and Indonesian newspapers read by FDHs and their respective Facebook pages, e-wallet applications frequently used by FDHs, the non-governmental organisation at the airport and churches.

Annex : COVID-19 Vaccination Programme


2021.04.18 

Government invokes place-specific flight suspension mechanism

The Government announced today (April 18) the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. From 00:00 on April 20, all passenger flights from these places will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days. These places will also at the same time be specified as extremely high-risk Group A specified places under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), so as to restrict persons who have stayed in these places from boarding for Hong Kong. The suspension will be effective for 14 days.

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The Government announced today (April 18) the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. From 00:00 on April 20, all passenger flights from these places will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days. These places will also at the same time be specified as extremely high-risk Group A specified places under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), so as to restrict persons who have stayed in these places from boarding for Hong Kong. The suspension will be effective for 14 days.

The Government implemented on April 14 the tightened flight-specific suspension mechanism, as well as the new place-specific flight suspension mechanism in parallel. Under the place-specific flight suspension mechanism, if a total of five or more passengers among all flights from the same place, regardless of airline, were confirmed by arrival tests for COVID-19 with the N501Y mutant strain within a seven-day period, the Government would invoke Cap. 599H to prohibit all passenger flights from that place from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days, and would at the same time specify that place as an extremely high-risk place under Cap. 599H to restrict persons who have stayed in that place for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong for 14 days, so as to prevent persons from the relevant place from arriving at Hong Kong via transit.

A Government spokesman said, “With confirmed cases involving the N501Y mutant strain detected for the first time in the community in Hong Kong, for prudence’s sake, the Government has applied the criteria of the newly implemented place-specific flight suspension mechanism retrospectively for 14 days on places where there had been imported cases confirmed by arrival tests that carried the N501Y mutant strain. India, Pakistan, and the Philippines all had seven-day cumulative number of relevant cases that reached the relevant criteria in the past 14 days, and the Government will therefore invoke the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for these three places.”

The place-specific suspension mechanism for these three places will be effective for 14 days from midnight on April 20. Relevant restrictions will include the prohibition of passenger flights from these places from landing in Hong Kong, as well as specifying these three places as Group A specified places under Cap. 599H to restrict any person who have stayed in these places for more than two hours on the day of boarding or 21 days before that day from boarding for Hong Kong.

At the same time, to enhance the testing of persons returning to Hong Kong from overseas places, the Government will issue a compulsory testing notice for persons who returned to Hong Kong from extremely high-risk places specified under Cap. 599H (that is the current Group A specified places). After completing the compulsory quarantine for 21 days as well as the testing on the 12th and 19th day during quarantine, these persons returning to Hong Kong will also need to self-monitor further for another seven days, and be subject to nucleic acid testing on the 26th day of their return to Hong Kong.

“The Government will continue to closely monitor the development of the global and local epidemic situation, and will further adjust the relevant inbound prevention and control measures as necessary,” the Government spokesman said.


COVID-19 Vaccination Programme 

Vaccination priority groups have been expanded to cover foreign domestic helpers (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202103/15/P2021031500626.htm). For online 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.


Leaflet on COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
(Leaflet on "COVID-19 Vaccination Programme")
Foreign domestic helpers are prioritised to get vaccinated
(Leaflet on "Foreign domestic helpers are prioritised to get vaccinated")

Last update on 13 April 2021

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

2021.06.30 New

Labour Department continues to set up mobile specimen collection stations to provide COVID-19 testing services for foreign domestic helpers and encourages them to get vaccinated

The Labour Department (LD) announced today (June 30) that mobile specimen collection stations will continue to be set up at popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) on Sundays in July to provide COVID-19 testing services for FDHs, and encouraged FDHs to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect their health.

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The Labour Department (LD) announced today (June 30) that mobile specimen collection stations will continue to be set up at popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) on Sundays in July to provide COVID-19 testing services for FDHs, and encouraged FDHs to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect their health.

An LD spokesman said, "The LD will continue to set up mobile specimen collection stations in July at popular gathering places of FDHs to assist FDHs to receive the test voluntarily. No prior appointment is required. We also appeal to all FDHs to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect their own health and the health of their employers' families and others."

The four mobile specimen collection stations will be set up at Chater Garden in Central (near Exit J2 of MTR Central Station), Hing Fat Street entrance of Victoria Park in Causeway Bay (near Exit A2 of MTR Tin Hau Station), Lai Chi Kok Park entrance (near Exit D of MTR Mei Foo Station) and Tai Ho Road entrance of Tsuen Wan Park (near Exit D of MTR Tsuen Wan West Station). Mobile specimen collection stations are open on Sundays in July (July 4, 11, 18 and 25), from 10am to 5pm. An FDH should bring along his/her Hong Kong identity card or passport, and register his/her personal information on the spot at the government website (www.tgptest.gov.hk. Please select "Non-Government Staff - Foreign domestic helpers") in order to receive an SMS notification of the test result. FDHs will receive an SMS notification of the barcode number of the specimen bottle they collect after registration for reference. If necessary, duty officers can assist the FDH in registration.

The testing agent will provide specimen collection services by combined nasal and throat swab to FDHs receiving the test, and will deliver the specimens to the laboratory for testing. The testing agent will not acquire or retain any personal information of the participants. Participants will be notified of a negative test result via SMS. Positive cases will be referred to the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health (DH) for follow-up, and the DH will contact the participant concerned if it is confirmed to be an infection case.

For enquiries, please contact the LD through the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by 1823) or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk.


2021.06.28 New

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

​The Government today (June 28) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

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​The Government today (June 28) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended with immediate effect.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The Government will continue to implement the previous measure 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 September 30, 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. However, applications for further extension of those contracts which have already been extended under the previous flexibility arrangements including that announced on March 29, 2021, will not be considered.

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 FDH beyond the three-month extended period, the employer should apply for a contract renewal with the existing FDH. It is an employer's duty to make advance preparations to arrange for 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.

Deferral of return to the place of origin

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 Immigration Department (ImmD) for deferring return to the place of origin 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, the Government will further extend the relevant flexibility arrangement announced on December 30, 2020. 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 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 return to the place of origin 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 continues to be in place. Employers should arrange for their FDHs to return to the place of origin within the extended limit of stay.

The Government will continue to closely monitor the situations 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 make use of the ImmD's dedicated "Online Services for Foreign Domestic Helpers" webpage at www.immd.gov.hk/fdh or the ImmD mobile application to submit visa applications for FDHs, notification of premature termination of employment contract, etc. through online means. The ImmD has introduced the Smart Renewal service that enables persons who submit online applications for visas for further employment of FDHs (i.e. contract renewal, completion of remaining period of current contract, or deferral of return to the place of origin in accordance with the aforementioned flexibility arrangement) to, upon approval of their applications, pay the visa fee through various means and collect the visas by post, so as to spare them the need to attend an office of the ImmD for going through the formalities, which is both convenient and time-saving while reducing travelling and contributing to the efforts to fight the virus together. To access the above dedicated webpage or download the ImmD mobile application, please scan the QR codes (see Annex).

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. 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.

Annex


2020.12.11 

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).


2020.11.03 

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).


2020.07.21

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.

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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.