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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Government today announced adjustments to the measures for assisting foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures include the Government further extending the flexibility arrangement to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs.

For all FDH contracts, including those extended under the previous flexibility arrangements, that will expire on or before March 31, 2021, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for extending the employment period for a maximum of three months, on the basis that it is mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the helper.

The Government said based on the experience from the previous flexibility arrangements, a three-month extended period should allow sufficient time for employers to arrange for their newly hired helpers to come to Hong Kong.

If a newly hired FDH cannot be arranged to come to Hong Kong within the three-month extended period and the employer needs to continue to employ his or her existing helper beyond the extended period, the employer should apply for a contract renewal with the existing helper and further extension of the contract will not be considered.

In view of recent concerns about the health risks posed to FDHs staying in boarding facilities and to prevent abuse through job-hopping of the facilitation measure under which the Government will flexibly consider to extend helpers’ limit of stay in Hong Kong as visitors for the purpose of finding a new employer, the Government decided that helpers whose contracts are prematurely terminated can no longer apply for an extension of limit of stay as visitors.

In accordance with the prevailing policy, helpers are required to leave Hong Kong upon completion of their employment contract or within two weeks from the date of termination of their employment contract, whichever is the earlier.

In exceptional circumstances that warrant special consideration, helpers may submit to the Immigration Department applications for extension of stay in Hong Kong as visitors.

The department will continue to consider and expedite the processing of employment visa applications submitted by helpers who are in Hong Kong. It will also further combat job-hopping and step up scrutiny of the applicants’ details.

On the deferral of home leave, if a helper is unable to return to his or her place of origin for home leave within the required period, the helper may, upon agreement with the employer, apply to the department for a further extension of limit of stay until the end of the contract.

Call 2824 6111 or email the department for enquiries.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News