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.

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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 31 January 2023

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

COVID-19: Sickness Allowance and Employment Protection

The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 came into operation on 17 June 2022. It strengthens the protection of the employment rights and benefits of employees when they are absent from work due to their compliance with a specific anti-epidemic requirement with a movement restriction. 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 has been a newly added statutory holiday under the Employment Ordinance. For details, please visit: https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/EAO2021.htm


2023.1.19 

Government cancels arrangement of issuing isolation orders

The Government today (January 19) said that, following three years of COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, with the ever evolvement of the virus and Omicron becoming the predominating variant, coupled with the enhancement of prevention and treatment capacities of the healthcare system and the handling capacity of society as a whole, the risk posed by COVID-19 to local public health has apparently altered. Considering the balance between infection risks and resumption of economic and livelihood impetus, the Government decided to cancel the arrangement of issuing isolation orders to infected persons according to the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) from January 30.

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The Government today (January 19) said that, following three years of COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, with the ever evolvement of the virus and Omicron becoming the predominating variant, coupled with the enhancement of prevention and treatment capacities of the healthcare system and the handling capacity of society as a whole, the risk posed by COVID-19 to local public health has apparently altered. Considering the balance between infection risks and resumption of economic and livelihood impetus, the Government decided to cancel the arrangement of issuing isolation orders to infected persons according to the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) from January 30.

Epidemic analysis

As observed from the fifth wave of the epidemic triggered by the Omicron variant since 2022, there were two peaks in early and end last year. Even though the Government has steadily adjusted the anti-epidemic measures since mid last year, including the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures and adjustment of testing and quarantine arrangements for inbound travellers, Hong Kong could still ride out the peak from the end of last year till now.

The number of cases tested positive in recent days has moderated gradually from the peak of about 30 000 cases on December 31 last year to only 3 793 cases on January 18 this year, while the proportion of death cases are remarkably lower compared to the peak in February and March last year. The public healthcare system has not been severely threatened. The following three factors could be concluded:

(1) The current overall second- and third-dose COVID-19 vaccination rates in Hong Kong have reached 93 per cent and 84 per cent respectively. With the immunity brought by a large amount of infected persons since the fifth wave of the epidemic, an effective vaccination rate equivalent to that of having received the third dose has reached around 95 per cent. The hybrid immunity barrier against COVID-19 in the overall community is very strong, and people who have completed vaccination have presented only mild symptoms after infection with Omicron variant.

(2) The public hospitals established effective contingency plans, together with the assistance of private hospitals and the prevalent use of telemedicine services and COVID-19 antiviral drugs, the general anti-epidemic capability of the healthcare system has strengthened.

(3) The anti-epidemic knowledge and experience of the general public accumulated considerably in the past three years, while the ability to prevent and handle infected cases of members of the public and residential care homes (RCHs) was enhanced.

To continue the gradual resumption to normalcy of society, the management and handling of the epidemic could be progressed to a new stage and mode by changing compulsory isolation regulations to self-decision by the public. The Government will cancel the compulsory isolation arrangement for infected persons, and advice on health measures would instead be issued to them. Apart from that, the Government will adjust the scope of target groups for free nucleic acid testing services at community testing centres/stations, including the termination of free testing provided for persons undergoing voluntary testing at appropriate times according to the situation, and to focus resources in protecting high-risk premises and groups in need of regular nucleic acid testing.

Nonetheless, as COVID-19 still brings risk and pressure to the community, especially among the young and old, as well as the healthcare system, and as there is still uncertainty in global epidemic situation, the Emergency Response Level for the COVID-19 epidemic will be maintained until further notice. The Government will also encourage members of the public who are in need of testing or are symptomatic to conduct rapid antigen tests (RATs) on their own or to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Arrangement of cancelling of isolation orders

Starting from January 30, the Health Officer will no longer issue isolation orders to infected persons according to Cap. 599A. All persons tested positive (including by nucleic acid and RATs) are not required to report and provide personal particulars via the online platforms of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH). The "Declaration System for Individuals Tested Positive for COVID-19 Using Rapid Antigen Test"(www.chp.gov.hk/ratp), the "Online self-reporting for COVID-19 patient"(www.chp.gov.hk/cdpi), as well as the relevant automatic telephone voice registration system (183 6119) will also cease operation on the same day.

Meanwhile, the Health Officer will cancel the active isolation orders issued by that time. In other words, those who are currently under isolation at designated premises including their places of residence or isolation facilities will no longer be required to continue their isolation starting from January 30. The Government will arrange for those staying in the isolation facilities to leave in an orderly manner and gazette the notice of relevant cancellation arrangements. In view of the aforementioned adjustments, the Government will also suspend the distribution of anti-epidemic kits to confirmed cases.

Health advice to infected persons

Members of the public who tested positive are advised to take the various advice on health measures for preventing respiratory diseases. They should: observe personal hygiene; reduce contacts with household members without wearing masks; open windows to ensure adequate ventilation of the unit; as well as clean and disinfect household environment every day.

For infected persons who belong to high-risk groups or develop obvious symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhoea), they should seek medical attention as soon as possible to obtain timely treatment. Symptomatic persons should stay at home for rest and avoid going out, while asymptomatic persons can go out on their will or go to work. To protect the young, students who have tested positive should not attend schools until they have tested negative by RATs. Infected persons should wear well-fitting surgical masks, KF94, KN95 masks, or respirators (such as N95 masks) during the first five days after testing positive. They should avoid having contact with high-risk individuals or having meals with other people at the same table. They should not go to crowded places or attend mass gatherings to lower the risk of transmission. Infected persons should observe their own health condition at all times, and seek medical attention as soon as possible if symptoms develop or worsen. As the Government will no longer issue isolation orders, those who do not feel well and in need of sick leave certificates should seek medical attention from a registered medical practitioner or Chinese medicine practitioner. Doctors will issue sick leave certificates and prescribe with prudence COVID-19 oral drugs to patients according to their clinical situation. People tested positive without symptoms should avoid going to public hospitals or general out-patient clinics with a view to preserving valuable public healthcare service capacity for those in need.

Arrangement on community isolation facilities

Having considered that some infected persons may wish to stay at the community isolation facilities (CIF) to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the household if their living environment is crowded or their household members fall into high-risk groups, the CIFs will remain in operation for a short period of time for use by Hong Kong residents. Recently infected persons who are Hong Kong residents and need to stay at CIFs may contact the Fire Services Department (Whatsapp platform: 5233 2939; Email: fsd_cif@hkfsd.gov.hk; WeChat: fsd_cif) for transfer arrangement if needed and can stay at the CIF for up to seven days. If they choose to leave the CIF earlier, negative results by RATs are not required but they cannot return to the CIF once they have left. Separately, residents at residential care homes who are infected and have received less than three doses of vaccine can be arranged to stay at the holding centres managed by the Social Welfare Department where care services are available. Residents who develop serious symptoms, regardless of the number of vaccine doses they have received, will be assessed by healthcare professionals based on their symptoms and conditions and be sent to hospitals for treatment if needed. The above transitional arrangement of CIFs and holding centres will last until February 28.

Reporting criteria and monitoring of viruses

Starting from January 30, the Government will revise the reporting criteria of COVID-19 under which doctors only need to report to the CHP death cases and severe cases. The CHP will issue letters to all doctors to inform them of the arrangement. As regards the monitoring of the epidemic and disseminating related information, the CHP will upload onto the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk) every day the number of specimens that tested positive by nucleic acid tests as well as the number of death cases reported by doctors and hospitals in lieu of the current practice of issuing press releases. Acting upon the World Health Organization (WHO)'s advice, the CHP will continue to monitor the development of the COVID-19 mutant strains by monitoring the surveillance data of sewage samples collected by the Environmental Protection Department in various districts and conducting COVID-19 genetic testing for in-patients. Relevant data will be reported to the WHO regularly. Together with the general out-patient clinics and private medical practitioners under the sentinel surveillance system, the CHP will monitor the weekly number of patients seeking medical consultation after being infected with COVID-19. Such surveillance data will be shared with doctors under the sentinel surveillance system.


2022.12.29

Government adjusts local anti-epidemic measures

With a view to enabling citizens to resume their normal daily lives in a continuous and orderly manner, in light of the epidemic development and relevant risks assessment by the Department of Health (DH), the Government announced on December 28 that local anti-epidemic measures will be further adjusted starting from December 29, including removing definition of close contacts and ceasing issuance of quarantine orders, removing the Vaccine Pass requirement, lifting social distancing measures except mask-wearing, adjusting testing arrangements and maintaining local healthcare services.

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With a view to enabling citizens to resume their normal daily lives in a continuous and orderly manner, in light of the epidemic development and relevant risks assessment by the Department of Health (DH), the Government announced on December 28 that local anti-epidemic measures will be further adjusted starting from December 29, including removing definition of close contacts and ceasing issuance of quarantine orders, removing the Vaccine Pass requirement, lifting social distancing measures except mask-wearing, adjusting testing arrangements and maintaining local healthcare services.

The adjustments that will come into effect from 0.00am on December 29 include –

Removing the definition of close contacts and ceasing issuance of quarantine orders

Following three years of epidemic in Hong Kong, the community immunity against COVID-19 has reached a very high level due to the increased vaccination and infection rates during the fifth wave of epidemic. Coupled with the enhancement of prevention and treatment capacities of the healthcare system, the risk posed by COVID-19 to local public health has changed.

The large number of infected cases in the community not only makes it difficult to define close contacts, but also greatly increases the social costs of quarantine orders in anti-epidemic efforts. In order to further resume social and economic activities and restore normal lives of citizens, the Government decided to cease the quarantine arrangements for close contacts (including household members living with the infected persons) and not to define close contacts and issue quarantine orders to them. In other words, household members of infected persons will not be subject to mandatory quarantine and testing and they can go out on their will. The DH will issue relevant health advice with a view to reducing the transmission risk, including advising them to conduct rapid antigen tests (RATs) daily until Day 5 on a voluntary basis (the day following testing or collection of sample by the infected household member is counted as Day 1; if there is no such testing or sample collection record, the day that the infected household member receives the positive test result is counted as Day 1) and self-monitor their health conditions.

Meanwhile, the Health Officer will cancel the quarantine orders issued earlier. In other words, those who are currently under quarantine at their places of residence or quarantine facilities will no longer be required to continue their quarantine starting from December 29. The Government will arrange for those staying in the quarantine facilities to depart in an orderly manner and gazette the notice of relevant cancellation arrangements.

In view of the aforementioned adjustments, the Government will suspend the distribution of anti-epidemic kits to close contacts starting from December 29, and cease to announce the infection status of senior officials and staff of their offices.

A Government spokesperson emphasised that the existing isolation arrangement for infected persons remains unchanged for now, and the Government will continue to distribute anti-epidemic kits to them. The Government will closely monitor the local epidemic development and make reference to the latest development of isolation arrangements for persons infected with COVID-19 (particularly for infected persons who are asymptomatic) around the world to adjust relevant measures in Hong Kong in a timely manner.

Lifting the Vaccine Pass requirement

Since the launch of the Vaccine Pass, it has effectively encouraged citizens to get vaccinated and raised the vaccination rate. The second and third dose vaccination rates have increased substantially from 71 per cent and 23 per cent in late February this year to the current 93 per cent and 83 per cent respectively, building a strong immunity barrier for Hong Kong. Taking into account that the third dose vaccination rate plus the effective vaccination rate equivalent to having received three doses has reached 94 per cent, the Government will remove the statutory Vaccine Pass requirement under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Cap. 599L), including the Provisional Vaccine Pass arrangement currently applicable to inbound travellers.

The spokesman stressed that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases and deaths from infection. The Government will continue to encourage and provide convenience to citizens who have not received suitable doses of vaccine to get vaccinated as early as possible, in particular high-risk persons such as the elderly and the young.

Lifting social distancing measures except mask-wearing

On the premise of safeguarding public health, the Government has been striving to balance the social and economic needs in suitably adjusting social distancing measures such that citizens' daily lives may resume normal in an orderly manner.

Considering the latest epidemic development and citizens' aspiration for resuming normal daily lives, starting from December 29, the Government will lift all social distancing measures except mask-wearing, including the restrictions and requirements in relation to the operation of catering business premises and scheduled premises under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F), (e.g. the maximum number of persons allowed in each group, distancing requirements between groups, closure of facilities such as steam and sauna facilities, requirements for staff of premises to undergo RATs, etc.), and restriction in relation to group gatherings in public places under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G).

At this stage, however, the Government will maintain the mandatory mask-wearing requirements under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I). This means that citizens are required to continue to wear a mask in accordance with the existing requirements when they are on public transport carriers, in specified public places, and at catering business premises and scheduled premises under Cap. 599F. In accordance with existing requirements, persons are allowed not to wear masks if they are present in outdoor public places in country parks and special areas as defined in section 2 of the Country Parks Ordinance (Cap. 208). Details of the mask-wearing requirements applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises are set out in Annex. The Government will review the relevant requirements from time to time and make timely announcements on the latest adjustments.

Wearing mask is an effective measure to prevent the transmission of various respiratory viruses while protecting the wearer and others. Particularly, Hong Kong is facing the winter surge of influenza, so it is imperative to prevent citizens from coinfection of COVID-19 and influenza which would result in severe conditions. Mask-wearing would also help safeguard the healthcare system in Hong Kong.

Enhancing testing arrangements and protecting target groups

The Government will continue to endeavour to protect target groups. Apart from patients in public hospitals, special attention is also given in protecting persons in residential care homes and schools so as to reduce their health risk caused by virus transmission.

For residential care homes, various existing testing arrangements will be maintained. All staff members of residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs) and residential homes for persons with disabilities (RCHDs) are required to conduct RATs daily and undergo a nucleic acid test every two days, with a view to protecting the residents of RCHEs and RCHDs.

The Education Bureau will assess the vaccination situation in schools for reviewing and adjusting the arrangements for conducting RATs, and discuss with schools and seek advice from the Centre for Health Protection.

The Government will suspend the issuance of daily compulsory testing notices for residential buildings. Nevertheless, some 80 community testing centres and stations (CTC/CTSs) in various districts across the city will continue to provide nucleic acid testing services for members of the public, including free nucleic acid testing service for persons undergoing voluntary testing; as well as self-paid nucleic acid testing service for persons who need to obtain test results (such as certifications for travelling purpose).

Maintaining local healthcare services

The Government will make every effort in protecting local healthcare system and resources and ensure that Hong Kong residents in need will be accorded priority in receiving medical services and drugs. The Hospital Authority (HA) will continue to strengthen its emergency response and medical systems to ensure the efficient utilisation of resources and to improve its handling capacities. Eligible Persons (EP) who are infected will have the priority to receive medical services and drugs.

Starting from December 29, Non-eligible Persons (NEP) (such as non-Hong Kong residents and travellers, etc.) will not be able to receive services at the designated clinics and through tele-consultation services provided by the HA. While the Accident and Emergency Departments of the HA will still provide urgent treatment and services to NEP with genuine urgent medical needs, they are required to pay for the treatment fees according to the established mechanism to be gazetted, which are calculated by costs and at a higher rate than those applicable to EP. If COVID-19 oral drugs (e.g. Paxlovid and Molnupiravir) are prescribed in the treatment process, the non-eligible COVID-19 patients are also required to pay for the relevant drugs.

Private hospitals and clinics have already been allocated COVID-19 oral drugs through the DH and the HA. The Government urges private hospitals and clinics to provide medical services to patients, in order to alleviate the load on the public healthcare system. Moreover, private medical institutions can order the two COVID-19 oral drugs directly from the relevant drugs manufacturers. Non-eligible COVID-19 patients should receive treatment and be prescribed relevant drugs directly from private medical institutions.

The spokesperson emphasised that there is sufficient stock of drugs within the public healthcare system for prescription to COVID-19 patients (including medicine containing paracetamols and the aforementioned oral drugs, etc.). The DH and the HA are also increasing their procurement volumes and will streamline the distribution arrangement to ensure that there are sufficient medical resources to meet local needs.

As regards COVID-19 vaccines, it has all along been the Government's policy objective to ensure sufficient supply of vaccines under the Government's vaccination programme. Hong Kong residents have already been accorded priority to receive free Comirnaty bivalent vaccine and the paediatric and toddler formulation of the Comirnaty vaccine. For Comirnaty ancestral strain and the Sinovac vaccines, only non-Hong Kong residents who can prove to have met the specified staying requirement (i.e. staying for at least 30 days) are eligible for receiving the relevant vaccines as boosters free of charge.

In addition, it is expected that non-Hong Kong residents would be able to receive Comirnaty bivalent vaccine at private medical institutions at their own expense in the near future. Vaccination for non-Hong Kong residents is provided by the private market and under a system separate from the Government's procurement. The Government will closely monitor the supply of vaccines under the Government's vaccination programme to ensure that the vaccination arrangement of Hong Kong residents will not be affected. Non-Hong Kong residents visiting Hong Kong for a short term of stay will not be allowed to receive free vaccination under the Government's vaccination programme.

Continue to monitor the virus trend

The Government adheres to the protection of public health and closely monitors the local epidemic development, including maintaining sewage surveillance by collecting sewage samples for virus testing in all districts; inspecting on a random basis the cases admitted to public hospitals and the positive specimens collected at CTC/CTSs; and follows the World Health Organization's advice to keep monitoring the variants of COVID-19 and epidemic development, including the emergence of variants of concern.

The spokesperson said, "The HKSAR persists in relaxing yet does not give up in fighting against the epidemic. The Government has all along been tackling the COVID-19 epidemic under the principles of science-based and targeted anti-epidemic measures, as well as the proper management of risks and citizen-focused facilitation. While safeguarding the well-being of citizens and protecting the public healthcare system, we also seek to reduce the disruption to normal social activities with a view to achieving the greatest effect with the lowest cost. The Government will closely monitor the mutation of COVID-19 virus and epidemic development, and adjust anti-epidemic measures in a timely manner based on analyses of scientific data."


2022.12.28

Government adjusts testing arrangements for inbound persons

The Government announced today (December 28) that starting from tomorrow (December 29), the pre-departure testing arrangements for all inbound persons will be standardised and all nucleic acid testing requirements after their arrival at Hong Kong will be lifted. Inbound persons are advised to conduct daily rapid antigen test (RAT) until Day 5 after their arrival at Hong Kong.

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The Government announced today (December 28) that starting from tomorrow (December 29), the pre-departure testing arrangements for all inbound persons will be standardised and all nucleic acid testing requirements after their arrival at Hong Kong will be lifted. Inbound persons are advised to conduct daily rapid antigen test (RAT) until Day 5 after their arrival at Hong Kong.

To fully leverage Hong Kong's strengths in connecting with the world and to prepare for the resumption of travel with the Mainland, the Government will further streamline inbound control measures starting from 0.00am tomorrow on the premise of striking a balance between risks and economic impetus. Details are as follows.

Standardising pre-departure testing requirements

All inbound persons (aged three or above on the date of arrival at Hong Kong), regardless of being from the Mainland, Macao, Taiwan or overseas places, are required to conduct an RAT within 24 hours, or undergo a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test within 48 hours, prior to the scheduled time of flight departure (for those entering Hong Kong via the airport) or the scheduled time of arrival at Hong Kong (for those entering Hong Kong via other boundary control points), and obtain a negative result for entering Hong Kong. Upon receiving the test results, relevant persons should keep the photos showing the test results or the test report for 90 days for presentation for checking on request by Government personnel. They may also voluntarily declare the test result via the Department of Health's electronic health declaration form.

Lifting post-arrival nucleic acid testing requirement

Starting tomorrow, the Government will also lift all existing nucleic acid testing requirements applicable to inbound persons, including:

(1) Lifting the nucleic acid test under the "test-and-go" arrangement on the day of arrival (Day 0) at the airport and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan

(2) Lifting the nucleic acid test on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong (and an additional nucleic acid test on Day 1 after arrival at Hong Kong for those who have stayed in any place on the List of At-Risk Places within the Mainland or Macao under the Return2hk / Come2hk Scheme) for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao

After the aforementioned nucleic acid testing requirements have been lifted, relevant inbound persons who had already arrived at Hong Kong today or earlier will no longer be required to undergo the relevant post-arrival nucleic acid tests according to the original requirement.

Health advice on conducting RATs after arrival at Hong Kong

The Government continues to advise all inbound persons to conduct daily RATs using self-arranged RAT kits during the period between the day of arrival (i.e. Day 0) and Day 5 after arrival at Hong Kong.

The handling arrangements for inbound persons tested positive align with that for local cases. Relevant persons should provide information to the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health through the online platforms (for nucleic acid tests or RATs) as early as possible. For further details, please refer to the webpage on Points to Note for Persons who Tested Positive.

Cessation of the Provisional Vaccine Pass arrangement

In alignment with the cessation of implementation of the Vaccine Pass arrangement under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Cap. 599L) by the Government, the arrangement for inbound persons to obtain a Provisional Vaccine Pass will cease.

The requirement for non-Hong Kong residents to be fully vaccinated for boarding a flight to Hong Kong from overseas places will remain unchanged for the time being.

The Government will gazette the relevant specification notices under the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C), the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to effect the above measures.

The Government will continue to suitably adjust anti-epidemic measures based on scientific analyses of data. While safeguarding the well-being of citizens and protecting the public healthcare system, the Government also seeks to reduce the disruption to normal social activities with a view to achieving the greatest effect with the lowest cost.


2022.12.19

Flexibility arrangements to assist foreign domestic helpers and employers cope with COVID-19 pandemic will be discontinued on May 1, 2023

The Government today (December 19) announced that the flexibility arrangements to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be discontinued on May 1, 2023.

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The Government today (December 19) announced that the flexibility arrangements to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be discontinued on May 1, 2023.

A Government spokesman said, "In order to assist FDHs and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has since early 2020 implemented a series of facilitation measures for FDHs and their employers, including the flexibility arrangements of allowing an extension of the validity period of existing employment contracts and a deferral of FDHs' return to their places of origin. The Government has closely monitored the development of the pandemic to review and adjust the measures. Taking into account that flights between Hong Kong and major FDH-sending countries have gradually resumed after the lifting of the place-specific and route-specific flight suspension mechanisms on April 1 and July 7 respectively this year, the lifting of the compulsory quarantine requirement on arrival in Hong Kong with effect from September 26, as well as the gradual relaxation of inbound control measures, the Government has reviewed the situation and decided to discontinue the abovementioned flexibility arrangements from May 1, 2023 onwards. To allow sufficient time for FDHs and their employers to make corresponding arrangements, the following flexibility arrangements announced today will be implemented until April 30, 2023. The Government reminds employers and FDHs to discuss matters relating to employment, contract renewals or the return to FDHs' places of origin as soon as possible to avoid breaching the relevant requirements."

The flexibility arrangements are set out below:

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

For all FDH contracts expiring on or before April 30, 2023, employers may apply for extending the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs. For such contracts, 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 employers and FDHs concerned. However, applications for further extension of contracts which have already been extended under the previously announced flexibility arrangements will not be considered. If an 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. All applications should reach the Immigration Department (ImmD) on or before April 30, 2023. Late submission will not be accepted.

Deferral of return to 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 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. Under the relevant 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.

If the aforementioned one-year period expires on or before April 30, 2023, the FDH may submit such application to the ImmD within eight weeks prior to the expiry of the existing limit of stay to further extend the limit of stay until the end of his/her contract. All applications should reach the ImmD on or before April 30, 2023. Late submission will not be accepted. 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. For FDHs with the aforementioned one-year period expiring on or after May 1, 2023, the period for them to return to the place of origin will not be further extended.

In addition, the Government reminds FDHs and potential FDH employers that, in accordance with the prevailing FDH policy of the Government, an FDH shall leave Hong Kong upon completion of an employment contract or within two weeks from the date of contract termination, whichever is the earlier. Save for exceptional circumstances deemed reasonable by the ImmD (including the premature termination of contract owing to the transfer, migration, death or financial reasons of the original employer, or where there is evidence that the FDH has been abused or exploited), an application from an FDH for a change of employer in Hong Kong within the two-year contract period will normally not be approved. An FDH who wishes to have a new employer must leave Hong Kong and submit a fresh employment visa application to the ImmD.

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.

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.


2022.12.08

Latest inbound control arrangement for foreign domestic helpers

The Labour Department (LD) today (December 8) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from December 9 (Friday).

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The Labour Department (LD) today (December 8) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from December 9 (Friday).

An LD spokesman said, "Currently FDHs are required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the date of arrival at Hong Kong and on Day 2 after arrival. They have to take a rapid antigen test (RAT) every day until Day 7 after arrival in Hong Kong, and can only leave the place of stay after obtaining a negative result. Starting from tomorrow, FDHs coming to work in Hong Kong on or after December 2 are only required to undergo daily RATs until Day 5 after arrival. The testing requirement of undergoing nucleic acid test upon arrival and on Day 2 after arrival remains unchanged. 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 during those five days. It is not necessary to make an application to the LD. If employers arrange FDHs to stay in licensed hotels or guesthouses, they should bear the accommodation expenses and provide food allowance to FDHs for that period."

As for FDHs arriving Hong Kong before December 9 and are still staying at licensed hotels or guesthouses for the three-day medical surveillance and four-day self-monitoring, they are allowed to continue to stay at the hotel or guesthouse for not more than seven days to complete the surveillance and monitoring. 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 stay at a licensed hotel or guesthouse during the above-mentioned period, 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.

Upon arrival, FDHs are subject to Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass. They 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., though they are not allowed to enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection (For details, please click here). Upon receipt of consecutive negative test results, the FDHs' Vaccine Pass will be changed to Blue Code on Day 3 after arrival at Hong Kong.

Separately, the requirements of inbound FDHs presenting a proof of negative result of a RAT conducted within 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure and completing the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the Department of Health (www.chp.gov.hk/hdf) prior to boarding a flight remain unchanged.

For details of the above arrangement, please refer to the press release issued by the Government on December 8 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202212/08/P2022120800701.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).


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).