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Can domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia travel to Hong Kong?

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On 26 August the bilateral agreements of the Hong Kong government and the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines on vaccination record recognition was announced. (gia.info.gov.hk, 26 Aug)

Starting 30 August 2021, domestic helpers who were fully vaccinated may enter from Indonesia and the Philippines, provided they fulfil the following requirements:

  • Fully vaccinated: Received all required doses and have been 14-days since final dose.
  • Validated vaccine records (See details below for separate requirements in the Philippines and Indonesia) 
  • 7-day Compulsory Quarantine at Overseas Worker Designated Quarantine Facility (DQF) OR Designated Quarantine Hotel (DQH). 
  • Upon completion of the 7-day compulsory quarantine at DQHs/DQFs, domestic helpers should undergo 7-day self-monitoring at the employer’s residence and will be subject to compulsory testing. 
  • A negative PCR-Covid19 test done within 48-hrs of flight.
  • Present confirmation of room reservation in a designated quarantine hotel for not less than 7 nights starting from the day of arrival at Hong Kong
  • Other usual requirements: a valid Hong Kong employment entry visa; a valid medical certificate; a valid Philippine Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

Important notes:

Once the domestic helper has been fully vaccinated and “other usual requirements” have been fulfilled, the first step is to get fully vaccinated and vaccination records verified. If the domestic helper has not yet been fully vaccinated, see below.

There are thousands of domestic helpers waiting in the Philippines and Indonesia. Their arrival will still take time as a number of limitations due to Covid-19 remain.

  • Limited vaccine record validation appointment slots: In the past weeks, appointment slots at the Bureau of Quarantine for the ICV vaccine record validation were very limited. Some ICVs did not include passport details. The Philippines Government is further streamlining the process, and will begin to include the passport details on 20 August 2021.

Vaccine Record Verification

Hong Kong Government’s recognised vaccination records: See HERE

In the Philippines, domestic helpers need to go to the Bureau of Quarantine to get an International Certificate of Verification (ICV) or “Yellow Card”.

In Indonesia, domestic helpers need to go to the Pedulilindungi

After vaccination verification is secured, next arrange the Quarantine in Hong Kong, 

Arranging the Quarantine in Hong Kong

  1. 7-day Compulsory Quarantine (from 1 April, 2022)

From March 1, 2022, all foreign domestic helpers coming to work in Hong Kong may choose to undertake compulsory quarantine at both designated quarantine facilities (DQFs) or designated quarantine hotels (DQHs).

Points to note when booking DQF:

Documents required for booking at the DQF or DQH must include: 

    • Domestic helper’s passport copy, 
    • Valid employment visa and 
    • Recognized vaccination record 
  • Domestic helpers will need to provide the above documents for verification upon check-in.
  • The Government reminds employers and EAs that they should not book flight tickets for their FDHs until they have successfully reserved rooms in a DQF or DQH. This is to avoid FDHs not being able to check into a DQF or DQH after arriving in Hong Kong. 
  • Employers and EAs must register using the real name as shown on the valid passport of the residing FDHs, and rooms reserved are not transferrable. Reservation applications made under the name of another person or party will not be processed.
  •  The hotel will adjust the number of rooms open for reservation each day having regard to the overall booking situation. The hotel will confirm with the persons making the reservations individually and arrange to complete the relevant procedures upon receipt of their bookings. It will require the person making a reservation to provide the FDH’s passport copy, valid employment visa and recognised vaccination record to verify the identity of the FDH. The booking process will be completed upon issuance of a booking confirmation by the hotel.

Designated Quarantine Hotel (DQH):

Click here for a list of DQH available.

Designated Quarantine Facility (DQF): 

Currently, there are four Designated Quarantine Facilities (DQF) for arriving domestic helpers:

  • O’Hotel, To Kwa Wan

    • Bookings can be made directly to the hotel for room bookings on or after January 5, 2022 at 
  • Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong, Sha Tin
    • Bookings can be made directly to the hotel at 
  • Rambler Garden Hotel, Tsing Yi

Once the Quarantine Arrangements have been made, book the flight & arrange for the negative PCR Covid-19 Test.

2. Post-Quarantine Self-monitoring Period:

Upon completion of the 7-day compulsory quarantine at DQHs/DQFs, domestic helpers should undergo 7-day self-monitoring at the employer’s residence and will be subject to compulsory testing. If the employer has concerns whether their household environment allows for their helper to complete the self-monitoring period, the Labour Department announced that domestic helpers who have completed a 7-day compulsory quarantine to stay at licensed hotels or guesthouses which are not DQHs/DQFs to complete the subsequent self-monitoring. The relevant arrangement should be mutually agreed by the employer and the helper. Domestic helpers are not allowed to undergo self-monitoring at places which are not the employer’s residence apart from licensed hotels or guesthouses.

The list of licensed hotels and guesthouses can be referred to at this link.

Upon departure from the DQHs/DQFs, domestic workers should undergo compulsory testing on the 12th day of arrival at Hong Kong in accordance with the compulsory testing notice. The compulsory PCR-based nucleic acid test must be completed at a community testing centre (CTC) or a mobile testing station (MTS), or arrange a self-paid test by professional swab sampling at a local medical institution recognised by the Government.

Flights

  • All passengers on Cebu Pacific flights to Hong Kong are required to take a free Antigen Test on the day of their flights starting from 17 September. (Click here for the latest advisory)
  • All passengers on Philippines Airlines flights to Hong Kong are required to present a negative Antigent Test within 5 hours before the flight starting from 1 October until 15 October. The Antigen Test will be free of charge in PAL Gate 3 testing facility. (Click here for more information)

PCR Covid-19 Test

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 should be conducted within 48 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft. The Negative result proof of PCR-based nucleic acid test report for COVID-19 should: 

  • Be in English or Chinese, and issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the relevant traveller matching that in his or her valid travel document
  • Show the time and date when the sample was taken, which should be within 48 hours before the scheduled time of departure of flight to HK. 
  • That the test conducted on the sample is a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19;
  • That the traveller was tested negative for COVID-19;
  • If the relevant report is not in English or Chinese or does not contain all of the above information, a written confirmation in English or Chinese issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the relevant traveller matching that in his or her valid travel document and setting out all of the above information.The said written confirmation should be presented together with the test report; and Documentary proof in English or Chinese to show that the laboratory or healthcare institution is ISO 15189 accredited or is recognised or approved by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located

What if the domestic helper was vaccinated in a different country – not Hong Kong, Indonesia, or the Philippines?

The only vaccination records that Hong Kong recognises are those from:

  • Hong Kong, 
  • Mainland China,
  • Macao, 
  • an institution recognised by Mainland or Macao authorities, 
  • a country with bilateral vaccination record recognition agreement with Hong Kong. Now including the Philippines and Indonesia, or
  • a country where its national regulatory authority is designated by the World Health Organization as a stringent regulatory authority which are: 
    • Australia
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Canada
    • Croatia
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America
    • Norway

Not yet vaccinated?

All travellers from the Philippines and Indonesia and other Group A Countries are required to be fully vaccinated and hold recognized vaccination records.

For domestic helpers in the Philippines, read: Can domestic helpers get vaccines in the Philippines before coming to Hong Kong? What is the COVID-19 situation there?

What are the requirements at the Airport and during the Quarantine Period?

  • There is a health declaration and testing at the Hong Kong airport.
  • All persons arriving into Hong Kong International Airport will be required to conduct a PCR test and RAT with professional specimen collection at the same time upon arrival under the “test-and-hold” arrangement at the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) at the airport.
  • The quarantine period is 7 full days meaning 7 nights and 8 days hotel booking. 
  • If the results of the PCR-based nucleic acid test conducted on the fifth day and the rapid antigen test (RAT) conducted on the sixth and seventh days are all negative, they can be discharged from after the 7-day compulsory quarantine period.
  • After the 7-day quarantine period, domestic helpers must Self-monitor for the subsequent seven days; and
  • Go for Compulsory testing in a Community Testing Centre on the 12th day of arrival at Hong Kong.
  • Read more about this here: COVID-19 Quarantine arrangements for domestic helpers arriving to Hong Kong from the Philippines and Indonesia

Will fully vaccinated domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia be able to have reduced hotel quarantines?

No. Fully vaccinated individuals would still be subject to 7 days of quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel followed by 7-days of self-monitoring, and testing on the 12th day upon arrival in Hong Kong.

Read more: COVID-19 Quarantine arrangements for domestic helpers arriving to Hong Kong from the Philippines and Indonesia

How about transiting to a lower-risk country to work around the flight suspension?

This is extremely risky for domestic helpers and should not be attempted. Read more: Can domestic helpers fly to different countries to work around travel and entry restrictions to Hong Kong?

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Last updated on May 13th, 2022
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