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Expiring FDH contracts may now be extended for up to 6 months

28 September 2021

By The SUN 

FDH contracts that will expire before Dec 31 may now be extended for up to 6 months

Foreign domestic helper contracts that will expire on or before Dec 31 this year may be extended for a maximum period of six months, according to new “flexibility arrangements” announced by the Hong Kong government today, Sept 28.

If the existing contract has already been extended previously under the same arrangement announced on Jun 28, the employer may extend the period of employment for an additional six months, as long as the FDH agrees.

The statement said that if a new FDH being hired by the employer cannot be arranged to come to HK within the six-month extension and the existing worker’s services are still needed, then the current contract should be renewed.

The new rules mark a radical departure from the previous practice of allowing only a maximum of three months’ extension to FDH contracts. After the extension lapsed, employers were told to either sign up the helper for a new contract, or release her.

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It comes amid a clamor for more FDHs stranded abroad, mostly in the Philippines and Indonesia, which were both placed under a flight ban in April and June, respectively, to be allowed in.

Thousands of workers from both countries are waiting to come in, but only 50 of them are allowed to come in each day, as part of Hong Kong’s effort to curb the number of imported infections.

According to the government statement, the measures are meant “to assist foreign domestic helpers and their employers to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.”


In line with this policy, FDHs who have been told to return to their home country within one year of renewing their contracts or signing up with the new employer, may also now ask for a deferment of up to the end of their contract period.

“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government will further extend the relevant flexibility arrangement announced on December 30, 2020,” said the announcement.

“If an FDH is unable to return to his/her place of origin within the aforementioned one-year period, he/she may, upon agreement with his/her employer, apply to the Immigration Dept for a further extension of the limit of stay until the end of his/her contract…”


As with contract renewals, applications for deferring home leaves can be made with the Immigration Department within eight weeks before the expiration of the existing contracts.

However, the statement said the requirement that FDHs should return to their place of origin continues to be in place.

“Employers should arrange for their FDHs to return to the place of origin within the extended limit of stay,” it added.

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The government said it will continue to monitor the situation and review the new measures and flexibility arrangements when necessary.

FDHs are urged to apply for visas online instead of queuing at Immigration offices

To reduce the number of people at Immigration, those who wish to submit visa applications for FDHs are urged to do so online by visiting .

In addition, Immigration has introduced the Smart Renewal service that enables persons to submit visa applications for FDHs online, by post or by drop-in box and, upon approval of their applications, pay the visa fee through various means and collect the visas by post (except for special or individual circumstances).

Those who wish to enquire about application status, submit supplementary documents, and give notification of premature termination of employment contract may do all these via the dedicated webpage mentioned above.

“There is no need for them to attend an office of the ImmD in person for going through the formalities, which is both convenient and time-saving while reducing travelling and contributing to the efforts to fight the virus together,” said the statement.

For enquiries on employment rights and benefits, contact Labour’s dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by 1823) or by email to

The dedicated FDH Portal ( set up by the LD also provides information and useful links relating to the employment of FDHs.

For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by sending email to

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