Special cases: How do I process a domestic helper visa without an agency?

What is a special case when processing a domestic helper visa?

All domestic helpers who are terminated prematurely should leave Hong Kong within 14 days of termination. However, there are some circumstances under which Hong Kong Immigration may treat the case as a “special case”. In these cases, the domestic helper can stay in Hong Kong and process the new visa locally without having to return and wait for the visa in their country of origin.

Although there is no written guidance on this, in our experience, domestic helpers who are leaving one of the following situations may be treated as a “special case” by the HK Immigration Department when processing a new visa:

  • Their employer passed away
  • Their employer relocated out of Hong Kong
  • Their employer faced financial difficulties

* Note: The employer in question must be the legal employer who signed the contract.

Hiring a ‘special case’ Filipino domestic helper without an agency

If you have already found a Filipino domestic helper you would like to hire who qualifies under any of the above 3 special cases, you can process the visa while the helper is in Hong Kong. For this type of visa processing you do not have to use an agency. We provide you below with a step by step list in case you want to do this by yourself. 

If you prefer to use an agency to process the visa, at the Fair Employment Agency  we are happy to take care of this for you. We will help prepare the documents, make the submissions, and keep you in the loop on all the important updates. Read about pricing and what’s included in our service here

Hiring a ‘special case’ Indonesian domestic helper without an agency

If you would like to hire an Indonesian domestic helper who qualifies as a ‘special case’, you will need to hire the services of a domestic helper employment agency. According to government regulations in their country of origin, Indonesian domestic helpers always need to process their work visas through an employment agency, irrespective of their contract status.

At the Fair Employment Agency we also process Indonesian helper visas. Give us a call or fill out our form to get the process started.

Step-by-step guide to hiring a Filipino ‘special case’ domestic helper without an agency

1) Pick up and sign the contracts

Employers and domestic helpers can pick up the Standard Employment Contract  as well as supporting information at the Hong Kong Immigration Department. You do not need an appointment for this.

You will be given four copies of the contract. All four copies should be signed by both the employer and the domestic helper as they need to be completed identically. If there are any mistakes, make sure that both the employer and the helper sign next to each revision.

The reason why you will need to sign four copies is so that there is a signed copy available for: 

  • The employer
  • The domestic helper
  • HK Immigration Department
  • One extra copy

2) Gather supporting documents ahead of the Hong Kong Immigration Department submission

You will need to submit the following documents:

  • One original signed copy of the contract
  • Completed employer and domestic helper Immigration application forms (forms ID988B and ID988A)
  • Employers need to submit photocopies of:
    • HKID
    • Passport and visa (if not a permanent resident)
    • Proof of address (a recent utility bill is best)
    • Proof of income (recent bank statements showing a salary deposit of at least HK$15,000 for 3 months or total assets of more than HK$350,000 for 6 months)
    • Release letter for previous domestic helper (if applicable)
  • Helpers need to submit photocopies of:
    • HKID
    • Passport 
    • Visa/s
    • Landing slip
    • Previous contract

For more on supporting documents, read this article.

3) Submit documents to the Hong Kong Immigration Department

The earliest an application can be submitted to Immigration is 4 weeks before the previous contract end date. Note that the Immigration Department requires the helper to finish one contract before starting a new one.

Domestic helpers should submit the supporting documents to the Hong Kong Immigration Department in one of the following ways:

  • Book an appointment online
  • Do a walk-in interview at the Hong Kong Immigration Department (Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai)

During the first appointment, the immigration officer will receive all the necessary documents from the helper. Immigration will then call or send a letter to the employer within 2 to 4 weeks, providing information about the exact visa release date and any further supporting documents needed (if any).

4) Provide supplementary documents and collect the visa

Employers and domestic helpers may be asked to provide supplementary documents, and/or come in for additional interviews at the Immigration Department. Once the visa is approved, both the employer and the helper will be notified of the visa release date by post or email, if provided. On the visa release date, the domestic helper should attend the appointment in person bringing with them the following:

  • Original passport
  • One copy of contract
  • Visa fee as stated in the letter – HK$230 or HK$460.(Employers should reimburse domestic helpers for this fee).

*In addition to the above documents, and depending on the type of application specified on the ID988A form, a helper expected to take home leave before starting the new employment will also need to provide the immigration officer with a copy of the flight ticket leaving Hong Kong to their country of origin.

5) Submit contracts for notarisation at the Philippines Consulate in Hong Kong

Next, the domestic helper will need to submit two copies of the signed employment contracts to the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) at the Philippine Consulate for notarisation. There is a fee for this service which the employer should reimburse the domestic helper for.

These are the contract notarisation steps:

  1. Prepare the following documents
    • 2 original sets of the Standard Employment Contract
    • Original and photocopy of the domestic helper’s passport
    • Copy of the new visa
    • Copy of the employer’s HKID including a contact number
    • Copy of the domestic helper’s HKID including a contact number
  2. Attach the completed OFW Information Sheet to the signed Employment Contract copies and the other required supporting documents listed above.
  3. Go to the Migrant Workers Office (MWO), located inside the Philippines Consulate at Office No.2, 29/F United Centre,95 Queensway Admiralty, Hong Kong.
  4. At the Contract Notarisation/Verification counter, submit the documents and pay the fee (HK$80).
  5. At the OWWA counter, submit the documents and pay the mandatory membership fee (HK$196).
  6. Collect the verified contracts on the same day (within 2 to 3 hours). Make sure to keep 1 copy for the employer and 1 copy for the domestic helper.
  7. Keep the original receipt/record of the OWWA Membership as it is necessary for the processing of their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). 

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Last updated on March 8th, 2024

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