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Immigration rejects visa applications of 840 suspected ‘job-hoppers’

19 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao  


Immigration says closer scrutiny of visa applications led to the jump in rejections

A total of 840 employment visa applications by foreign domestic helpers suspected of "job-hopping" were rejected in the first five months of this year, according to the Immigration Department.

The number is higher than the combined total of rejected visa application for the past three years, which totaled only 751. For 2018, there were 165 visa rejections, in 2019 there were 267, and last year, there were 319.

Responding to an inquiry from The SUN, an Immigration spokesperson said the spike in visa rejections was the result of a thorough analysis by its special duties team of cases in which FDHs are suspected of abusing the more relaxed system that allows them to change employers while in Hong Kong.

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The Immigration said the special duties team takes into account all relevant factors, such as the number and reasons for premature termination of contract, the conduct of the FDH and records of the helpers and the ex-employers.

“For individual FDHs suspected of job-hopping, the Immigration will refuse their employment visa applications and require them to leave Hong Kong,” the Immigration said.

Still, the number of rejections Immigration attributed to “job hopping” is a tiny fraction of the number of visa applications actually turned down for the first five months of the year.


Immigration data show that of the total visa applications of 199,488 received from FDHs from January to May this year, only 168,546 were approved. This means the actual number of rejections or those still under process totaled 30,942. It is not clear what other factors were used to reject visa applications.

In a footnote, the Department merely explained the the wide gap in the number of applications received and denied by saying the dates of receipt and completion of processing “may not fall in the same period”.


FDH employment visa applications



Jan to May

Jan to May

Apps received

Apps approved

Apps received

Apps approved

100 385

93 333

199 488

168 546

Note: The number of applications approved does not correspond to the number of applications received since the date of receipt
and that of completion of processing of an application may not fall in the same period.

The figures supplied by Immigration also show a near doubling of applications year-on-year for the same period. In the first five months of 2020, a total of 100,385 applications were reported, which means a 98% jump in the number of applications received for the same period this year, as shown by the table above.

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This indicates a big jump in the number of premature termination of contracts of FDHs, a trend that may not necessarily indicate many are up to “job-hopping.”

Many of the stranded Filipino workers had their new work visa applications denied

As migrant support organizations like the Mission for Migrants argue, the term is just a myth, as FDHs are not likely to terminate their contracts on a mere whim, as many of them had spent huge amounts of money to secure their job.

But because of the unfair labelling, migrant workers are discouraged from taking steps to protect themselves from bad or even abusive employers for fear of having “bad records,” the Mission has said.


Another group, the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, said what happens in most cases is that the workers are forced to quit their jobs because of their slave-like treatment, not because they want to job-hop.

But because of  the high likelihood that their application for new employment visas would get rejected, “they are forced to just accept what the employers want them to do, (knowing that )if they complain, it will cost them their livelihood,” the AMCB has said.

Hong Kong’s existing policy allows FDHs whose contracts are prematurely terminated to remain in the city for only two weeks, before returning to their place of origin. They should apply from there if they wish to work in Hong Kong again.

But as a result of the pandemic, flexible arrangements were put in place, which allowed some of these workers to remain in Hong Kong and process a new work contract here. 

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