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Employer faces $50k fine for allowing DH still waiting for visa to work

26 November 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Alba's $51k hospital was waived but she was not told the doctor's diagnosis 

A prospective employer is facing a $50,000 fine for letting her incoming Filipina helper work in her house even if her employment visa application was still being processed. The worker herself reportedly faces a $3,500 penalty.

The Immigration Department today informed the Filipina, A. Alba, that it has discontinued processing her visa application because her prospective employer has either backed out or is not eligible to hire a foreign domestic worker.


She was told she could file another application for a new employer, but this second application will be “final,” said Immigration in a letter to her, dated yesterday.

“If you or your prospective employer backs out again, your prospective employer withdraws his/her sponsorship of you for whatever reasons, or your prospective employer is not eligible for employing a foreign domestic helper, your further application will not be considered,” said the letter.

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“If you still wish to work for a new employer in Hong Kong, you must return to your place of origin and then submit a fresh application.”

Despite this assurance, Alba’s visa was extended for only three more days, which makes it hard for her to get a new employer willing to sign her up.

Immigration said in a letter that Alba has one more chance to process a new work contract

On Wednesday, when the worker picked up her luggage in the flat of her intended employer, the latter laid on the table a document from the labour prosecutor’s office that reportedly stated the employer will be fined $50,000 and Alba, $3,500.


The patient’s concern about her $51,000 bill from Queen Mary Hospital, incurred when she was admitted on Nov 19 after suffering seizures, was resolved before she was discharged on Nov 23 when the bill was waived by due to her inability to pay.

But the waiver was attached to a condition that she can’t find out what the doctor’s diagnosis of her illness is or be given medicines to treat her ailment unless she pays the bill.


Police discovered the breach of immigration rules on the night of Nov 19 when Alba suffered a seizure while attending to her future employer’s baby. An ambulance took her unconscious to Queen Mary Hospital in Pokfulam.

Alba said she went for her first dose of Sinovac vaccine on Nov 18. The next day she felt so unwell that she collapsed and her mouth frothed.


The officers reportedly asked the employer why the sick worker was in her house when she was still waiting for her new work visa, and told her the helper would be interviewed after her release from hospital.

The helper, still weak when discharged on Tuesday, said doctors found a blood clot in her head and a hole in her heart during a CT scan and electrocardiogram examinations. This was why her heartbeat hasn’t normalized, she said.

Alba said she begged for temporary accommodation in the flat of her first employer, who released her on Jun 14 after her husband died of colon cancer and the family had run into financial difficulties.

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Her most pressing need now is an air ticket, Alba said, as she has only until Sunday to remain in Hong Kong.

She said she went to ask help from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration but was told that they have no funds to pay for the tickets of destitute workers. She received the same advice from the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section.


She has now turned to worker support groups to help her book an air ticket back to Manila before her visa expires on Sunday.

Alba came to Hong Kong on Jun 14, 2019 to work for her first employer. She finished her contract on Jun 14 this year, but the employer told her she could no longer retain the Filipina.

The helper moved in with a new employer on Jun 16 but decided to leave on Oct 16 due to what she called unbearable conditions in that household. The next day her prospective employer signed her up, and she said she was looking forward to moving there when the unexpected  happened.


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