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Terminated FDHs can no longer stay and change employers

01 January 2021

By The SUN 

The return to the 14-day rule could see thousands of FDHs heading for home soon

The Hong Kong government will no longer allow foreign domestic helpers whose contracts have been prematurely terminated to remain beyond the 14 days provided by law so they can change employers. 

But those whose contracts are already under process will be allowed to remain and wait for the release of their employment visas.

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In a press release issued on Dec 30, the government said the decision to revert to the prevailing policy was meant to avoid overcrowding in boarding houses and prevent FDHs from job hopping.

 “In view of recent concerns about the health risks posed to FDHs staying in boarding facilities and to prevent the abuse by FDHs of the aforementioned facilitation measure to change employers frequently (commonly known as "job-hopping"), the Government decided that FDHs whose contracts are prematurely terminated can no longer apply for extension of limit of stay as visitors; and that, in accordance with the prevailing policy of the Government, FDHs 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,” said the government statement.

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The move could lead to thousands of FDHs currently staying in boarding houses to leave Hong Kong in the next few weeks. Many have left their employment or were terminated, and are hoping to find new employers in line with a relaxation of the policy adopted since the pandemic caused travelling to other countries more difficult.

It comes at an inopportune time, as the Philippines has just imposed a strict 14-day quarantine rule in a government-approved facility for all Filipinos coming from Hong Kong, as one of the 20 places flagged for having cases of Covid-19 acquired from a highly transmissible coronavirus variant.

At least 12 infections were recorded from a boarding house in Fung Nin building in Taipo

The Hong Kong government has been under pressure in recent days to tighten visa restrictions on FDHs after a recent outbreak of Covid-19 in a Tai Po boarding house led to at least eight helpers being infected, along with four members of an employer’s family.

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Only those whose termination is due to “exceptional circumstances” such as the death, relocation or financial hardship of the employer, may an FDH still apply for an extension of visa as a visitor, and process a new employment contract without leaving Hong Kong.

However, the statement said Immigration will continue to consider and speed up the processing of employment visa applications already submitted by FDHs who are in Hong Kong. But it will continue to step up scrutiny of the job applications, such as the number and reasons for their premature termination in the last 12 months.


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“For suspected "job-hopping" cases, the ImmD will refuse the employment visa applications concerned and require the applicants to leave Hong Kong,” said the statement.

Thousands of Filipino migrant have been stranded in HK because of the pandemic

In another move, the government said it will continue the flexibility arrangement it adopted on four previous occasions to allow employers to extend the validity of their existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs for up to three months. This rule will apply to contracts that will expire on or before March 31, 2021.

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However, if the newly hired FDH cannot still come to Hong Kong within the three-month extension, the employer should apply to retain the existing FDHs as a further extension of their prevailing contract will no longer be allowed.

For FDHs who have renewed their contracts with their employers, or are due to start working for a new employer after their previous contract had ended, they can apply to Immigration, with their employers’ consent, to defer their home leave for not more than one year after the existing contract ends.

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But if the FDHs are still unable to return to their place of origin because of the pandemic, they may, with their employers’ agreement, apply to Immigration to extend their visa until the end of their contracts.

The same rule applies to those who have already been granted an extension of stay under the previous flexibility arrangement announced by the government on Mar 21, Jun 30 and Sept 30.


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But, the government said the requirement for FDHs to return to their place of origin for vacation continues to be in place. 

Thus, employers should arrange for their FDHs to take their home leave within the extended period “as far as practicable.”


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All enquiries on employment rights and benefits may be directed to the Labour Department’s dedicated FDH hotline, 2157 9537 (manned by "1823") or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk. For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


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