What do I need to know about hiring a domestic helper with motor driving duties?
In this article, we highlight some important points for employers to consider when hiring a domestic helper with driving duties in Hong Kong.
Special permission to perform motor driving duties
Migrant workers who are hired to provide driving service for their employers in Hong Kong are described by the Hong Kong Immigration Department as foreign domestic helpers with special permission from the Immigration Department to perform motor driving duties. This means that aside from this special permission, the visa status of drivers is the same as that of domestic helpers, including the live-in requirement.
Restrictions to motor driving duties
Employers must be able to justify the specific duties of the domestic helper that require driving duties under these 5 broad categories:
- Household chores
- Looking after aged persons in the household
- Baby sitting
- Child minding
If the current transportation options available do not fulfill the needs of the household, the Immigration Department will consider the application on its own merits. An example of acceptable situations include the domestic helper needing to bring children to multiple extracurricular activities, performing marketing duties, and accompanying elderly family members to their medical appointments.
The Immigration Department does not allow domestic helpers to drive their employers exclusively. Therefore, performing driving duties to pick up or drop off the employer at work is not acceptable.
Additionally, the Immigration Department limits the special permission to family-friendly vehicles, such as family saloon car, station waggon or a mini-van of no more than eight seats. Sports cars or convertibles are not permitted.
Processing timeline for driving duties application
Processing a driving duties application takes longer than the standard domestic helper processing timeline. Based on our experience at the Fair Agency, the Hong Kong Immigration Department takes approximately 6 weeks to process the application. Additionally, the process may be longer for employers who are hiring domestic helpers with driving duties for the first time.
Document requirements for driving duties application
These are the required documents for processing a domestic helper for driving duties:
- ID407 Original Standard Employment Contract
- ID934A Application for Special Permission for Performance of Motor Driving Duties
- Supporting letter and other supporting documents (See more important details on this below)
- Valid Hong Kong driving license. The domestic helper’s license must be valid and available at the time of application.
- Vehicle registration document. The vehicle must be registered under the name of the employer or spouse. If the vehicle is registered under the name of a company, the employer must provide a certificate / letter from the company stating that the vehicle is provided for the personal and family use of the employer.
- Valid motor vehicle license
- Documentation of insurance coverage of the domestic helper for the vehicle they will be driving. (See details below)
*Please note that the Hong Kong Immigration Department will take into consideration the workers’ previous traffic conviction records in Hong Kong to determine whether they will be granted permission for driving duties.
Supporting letter and other supporting documents
In the ID934A form, employers are asked to provide justification for why the domestic helper is needed to perform driving duties. We suggest attaching a supporting letter to your application in order to fulfil this requirement. From our experience, these are the questions that are helpful to address in the supporting letter:
- What are the main journeys that the driver will be driving? (From home to school, home to after-school activities, home to frequent doctor visits, etc.)
- Details for each destination and how far they are located from the employer’s home
- Details about the frequency of the journeys (Daily basis, weekly basis, etc.)
- Reasons for why public transportation is either not available or not enough
In addition to this, submitting other supporting documents will strengthen your application. These may include:
- Children’s school admission documents if the domestic helper will be driving the children to school.
- Proof of enrollment to after-school activities if the domestic helper will be driving the children to extracurricular activities.
Insurance coverage for the domestic helper
Employers should inform their insurance company in order for the helper to be included in the “Named Drivers” list and avoid paying the “Unnamed Driver” excess. In addition, please note that Hong Kong car insurance companies often include an excess for “Inexperienced Driver” for those holding a Hong Kong driving license of less than two years. Check with your insurance company for these options and excesses.
Interviewing for a domestic helper with driving duties
From our experience, domestic helpers applying for driving positions ask for a monthly salary of HK$10,000-15,000 depending on their level of experience, and generally expect overtime pay. These helpers will also prefer to focus on driving as their main domestic duty.
Here are some suggested questions for interviewing applicants:
- How well do you know the roads in HK island/Kowloon/NT?
- What types of vehicles can you drive?
- What were your previous driving duties and what were the main journeys that you drove?
- What was your previous schedule like? How do you feel about overtime?
- Do you have any mechanical knowledge regarding vehicles? (e.g. changing a tire or handling minor common repairs)
- Do you do car washing?
- Are you willing to help with household chores (gardening, housekeeping, pet care etc)?
- Have you had any car accidents before?
- How many points do you have in your driving offence points system?
*Note that during the recruitment process, applicants cannot be asked to do a test drive. This is because the special permission granted to the domestic helper to drive is tied to the legal employer and the specific driving duties with that employer.
The live-in requirement for domestic helpers
Domestic helpers are required to live in their place of work which is the same as the residence of the employer. Employers who are hiring a male helper with driving duties while employing a female domestic helper will need to provide both helpers with accommodations with adequate privacy within their home.
Last updated on September 18th, 2023