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Employment visa processing can be as fast as 2 weeks, says Immigration

25 September 2020

 By Daisy CL Mandap

Those who finished their contracts can expect to have a new employment visa in 2 weeks

There is good news, but there is also bad news, from Hong Kong Immigration.

For the good news: it’s not true that all terminated foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) are now being sent home immediately, and not even given the customary 14-day grace period after their contracts are prematurely terminated.

What’s more, the processing of new employment visas can be as fast as two weeks for those who completed their previous two-year contracts. Various reports indicate that for terminated FDHs, employment visas are released faster as well, in most cases, in less than a month from the filing of the application.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

The assurance about the faster visa processing came from Immigration Department itself, in the wake of widespread talk about a supposed new policy to refuse new employment visa applications from terminated workers, who are also told to leave immediately.

What is actually happening, Immigration’s information office told The SUN in response to an emailed query, is that several measures had been taken to provide “more flexible visa arrangements to FDHs and their employers” in the wake of the pandemic.

Such measures were relaxed further after a series of Covid-19 infections were reported in dormitories run by employment agencies, all involving FDHs who were in-between jobs.


An outbreak among FDHs in agency dorms prompted the faster processing of employment visas

“(To) reduce as far as possible the number of FDHs and their length of stay in boarding facilities, ImmD has expedited the processing of work visa applications submitted by those FDHs who are in Hong Kong, especially the applications from those whose employment contracts expire normally.  The processing time for the applications concerned has been reduced from between 4 and 6 weeks to about 2 weeks only at present,” said the Immigration statement.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

As for entry visa applications, meaning those pertaining to FDHs who are outside Hong Kong, the statement said the processing time of 6 weeks is still the norm.

No mention was made as to how long a terminated worker can expect her new employment visa to be released, but various testimonies from FDHs who recently switched employers indicate the waiting time is now less than 4 weeks in most cases.

But, the bad news is, not everyone with terminated contracts can expect to be allowed to stay and process a new employment visa here.

Pindutin para sa detalye

According to Immigration, those who will not be allowed to remain and change employers in Hong Kong are those found to be “job-hopping.”

“ImmD will closely scrutinise the case details such as the number and reasons for premature contract termination in the last 12 months in assessing FDHs' applications for employment,” said the Immigration statement. 

“For suspected "job-hopping" cases, ImmD will refuse their applications for working for a new employer and require them to leave Hong Kong.”

PINDUTIN PARA SA DETALYE

The statement said Immigration does not keep a record of those refused to process new contracts due to job-hopping, but said there were 237 FDH visa applications refused from January to August this year.

In a series of moves since the coronavirus outbreak made international travel difficult, Immigration has taken steps to respond to problems faced by both employers and FDHs.

These measures include: (1) allowing employers to have the visa of their current FDHs extended up to Oct 31 this year; (2) allowing FDHs whose contracts are about to end, or have been terminated, to apply for an extension of stay, and process new employment applications here; and (3) deferring the home leave of newly hired FDHs by at least one year, with subsequent applications for further deferrals to be decided on a case to case basis.

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