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Can domestic helpers process in Hong Kong since it is difficult to travel with COVID-19?

Covid-19 difficulties : Processing helper visas in Hong Kong

With the travel challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many domestic helpers and their employers are asking if it would be possible for domestic helpers to stay in Hong Kong while processing their new visas.

Normally, domestic helpers with broken or terminated contracts are required to return home while their visa is in processing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong Immigration may make an exemption and allow these domestic helpers to process locally but the final decision of visa approval lies solely with the Hong Kong Immigration.

14-day permission to remain after end-of-contract

When a domestic helper’s contract is terminated, she is permitted to remain in Hong Kong for 2 weeks after the termination of the contract or the remainder of the permitted stay, whichever is earlier (HK Gov). Because of this, the domestic helper must submit a new visa application within 14-days of termination of their previous employment contract. 

Potential visa rejections

What do you need?

When submitting to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, the domestic helper should prepare a letter to request to be able to process locally and supporting documents. This can include:

  • An explanation that the current COVID-19 restrictions and measures will mean that she will not be able to report to work at the necessary time. However, the government announced the flexibility arrangements to assist foreign domestic helpers and their employers under the epidemic of Covid – including extending their contracts and deferring returning their origin places – will be discontinued by May 2023.
  • Show that there are limited travel options to her hometown. This could be a screenshot of a flight search showing the limited/expensive flights available. There may also be information about limited transportation from the airport to her hometown.
  • An explanation for leaving the current contract 
  • Any supporting letter from the current employer 

It would be helpful if the new employer can write a supporting letter to the Immigration too.

Does processing locally mean that timelines will be the same as finished-contract processing?

No. Processing timelines for broken and terminated contracts are longer than that for domestic helpers with finished contracts. Even with permission to process locally, the process will take at least 6-8 weeks minimum.

Need help?

Get in touch with Fair Agency to help you and your domestic helper with this process with our Direct Hire service.

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Last updated on December 20th, 2022