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HK govt confirms stranded FDHs may be allowed in by next week

22 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Chan confirms stranded FDHs may start coming in by next week

Hong Kong government officials have confirmed that thousands of stranded foreign domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia may be allowed to come in as early as next week.

Unnamed labour department officials were quoted in several news reports as saying they were nearing agreement on verifying vaccination certificates issued by the two countries, both designated by Hong Kong as high-risk places for Covid.


The same information was given to The SUN by Consul General Raly Tejada last week, who said Hong Kong was very close to giving recognition to vaccination records issued by Philippine authorities.

Later on Saturday, Health Secretary Sophia Chan also told reporters discussions between the governments have been going well, and details will be announced as soon as possible.

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Chan reminded the public that since the Philippine and Indonesia are both high-risk places, everyone who will be coming in from these countries will have to be fully vaccinated, and quarantine for 21 days in designated hotels.

She also said the Labour Department is in the process of designating the two quarantine hotels which will be used exclusively for incoming FDHs.


Employment agencies say up to 7,000 FDHs have been unable to enter Hong Kong since a flight ban was enforced on arrivals from the Philippines on Apr 20, and from Indonesia on Jun 25.

However, this could not be independently confirmed, and Immigration figures show a much higher figure for FDH job losses of no less than 10,000 since the pandemic hit Hong Kong early last year.


Hong Kong has previously announced that vaccinated residents from the high risk or category A countries could start coming in by Aug 9, but with the additional requirement that they should hold recognized vaccination records.

By this, the government said their vaccination records should have been issued only in Hong Kong, China, Macau, and all countries with a stringent regulatory authority as designated by the World Health Organization.

HK is expected to accept the Philippines' yellow vaccination cards  

Recently, the list was expanded to include countries with bilateral agreements with Hong Kong on a mutual recognition of vaccination records, apparently to pave the way for all other residents and FDHs stuck in the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and most of the 24 countries in the high-risk group to come in.


The selective lifting of the travel ban on the most restricted countries on Hong Kong’s list, plus the designation of quarantine hotels exclusively for FDHs, has sparked accusation of discrimination from migrant organizations.

Indonesian helper Eni Lestari, who chairs International Migrants Alliance, questioned the move to herd FDHs into just two quarantine hotels.

“Why should they create designated hotels for domestic workers when it is not even free?,” Lestari asked. “It will (just) create another form of discrimination.”

Dolores Balladares, chair of United Filipinos in Hong Kong, echoed the sentiment. She said it did not make sense to segregate FDHs when they will be coming from the same high-risk places as the other travelers.

Employment agency operators, on the other hand, are concerned about cramming FDHs in just one or two hotels where they should quarantine for 21 days, saying this could mean another long wait for most of them.


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