With demands for helpers in Hong Kong rising, knowing how to apply for a visa there would get you a step ahead of your career plans. It is very important to know what documents you need, eligibility requirements, along with some fees you need to pay and the step-by-step process itself. Listed below are the facts you need to know to apply for a domestic helper visa in Hong Kong.
What visa should a domestic helper apply for?
As the job implies, a domestic helper must get a domestic helper visa. Applicants for the said visa are required to have certain qualifications and certificates to qualify for this kind of visa.
Who is eligible to apply for an Domestic Helper Visa?
The website www.gov.hk already provided a link where applicants for a domestic helpers’ visa can apply. However, there are certain conditions in which you are NOT eligible to apply.
Firstly, you are not allowed to apply if you are physically present in Hong Kong at the time of collection of the visa label. Next off, you are not allowed to apply if your travel document will expire within 3 months or if you have been given notice that your visa extension is subject to review. Keep these conditions in mind to avoid inconveniences in the long run.
To be eligible for the domestic helper visa, an applicant must hold a valid travel document with adequate returnability to their home country, be cleared of any criminal record, and not raise any concern– whether security or criminal– to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. A candidate should also prove less likely to be a burden to the special administrative region. However, compliance with the given criteria does not automatically guarantee approval of an employer’s helper.
Upon approval of the domestic helper visa, the holder is not allowed to bring dependents to Hong Kong for residence.
What are the documents needed for a Domestic Helper Visa?
With the access and convenience offered by the internet, submitting documents for immigration for domestic helpers is already a viable option. Before submitting, make sure you follow the standards and instructions below for any document to be submitted online.
Firstly, file types that the website allows are JPEG, PDF, GIF, PNG or TIF (RAW, LZW, JPEG, CCITT-G4). As for file size, be sure to submit files less than 5MB, you can utilize compressors and converters online to be able to comply with this requirement. Lastly, documents without photos can be submitted in grayscale. However, for forms with photos, a fully-colored file must be submitted.
|Documents||Maximum no. of files for upload|
|Form ID407 – Employment Contract for a Domestic Helper Recruited from Outside Hong Kong (New)||
|Undertaking of Employer (New requirement for FDH visa application during the epidemic situation)||
|Copy of the helper’s travel document including the pages showing his/her personal particulars, photo, passport validity, latest visa label and the latest landing endorsement/landing slip, and/or latest “e-Visa” (if applicable)||
|Copy of the Helper’s Hong Kong Identity Card (if any)||
|Copy of the employer’s Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card/Hong Kong Identity Card/passport||
|Proof of the employer’s financial position (Copy)||
|Proof of the employer’s residential address (Copy)||
|Testimonial of the Helper||
|Other supporting documents||
Form ID934A and Undertaking of the Employer can be downloaded through the government’s website. If the job of the domestic helper involves usage of vehicles additional documents are required, such as:
|Documents||Maximum no. of files for upload|
|Form ID934A – Application for Special Permission for Performance of Motor Driving Duties by Foreign Domestic Helpers (first 2 pages only)||
|Vehicle registration document (if the applicant is required to perform motor driving duties)||
|Motor vehicle license (if the applicant is required to perform motor driving duties)||
|Driving license of applicant (if the applicant is required to perform motor driving duties)||
Special Visa requirements for 3 types of domestic helpers
As indicated in the chart above, Form ID407 is required for first-time applicants in the immigration for a domestic helper visa. On top of that, because of the demands brought about by the pandemic, the immigration added a requirement which is the Undertaking of the Employer, which can be downloaded from the website.
2. Terminated/ Break Contract
The Standard Employment Contract states that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the contract 30 days prior to the effectiveness of the termination. The employer also needs to pay a month’s worth of salary in line with the termination. The Notice of Termination of the domestic helper must be submitted to the immigration office within seven days. The following are list of the requirements:
- Termination or Resignation Notice Letter: Giving Notice
- Immigration Termination Form (ID407E)
- Termination Entitlement Receipt
- Reference/Recommendation Letter (Optional)
3. Finished Contract
Hiring a helper who has just finished his or her two-year contract and who is still staying in Hong Kong is possible. An employer can process his or her visa while he or she is still in Hong Kong.
The employer and the helper should sign four copies of the contract, a copy to be given to the employer, the helper, the Hong Kong immigration, and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.
Step-by-step guide to applying for a domestic helper visa
1. Sign the employment contracts
No appointment is necessary to complete this initial step as the helper and employer can pick up the documents from the Hong Kong immigration whenever they can within the office’s operating hours. Both parties simply need to sign all the four copies of the contract.
Make sure to complete all the other requirements as well, especially for first time applicants to maximize the possibility of getting approved. If possible, get help from a visa services agency and request for assistance for immigration for domestic helpers.
2. Submit documents to the Immigration Department
Once all the documents are ready, be sure to submit them online in the correct tabs and links. Domestic helpers can also opt to book an online appointment if they want a secured time and date in which they can be entertained. They can also choose to have a walk-in appointment at the Hong Kong Immigration Department which is located in Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai.
3. Processing & Visa Release
Visa processing fee could cost either HKD230 or HKD460, depending on what is stated in the document. Employers are required to reimburse this fee to domestic helpers.
The processing time usually takes about 8-16 weeks after the submission of the documents. An initial approval will only be valid for a maximum of 24 months. After which, it can be renewed, depending on the working conditions and evaluation of the employer. Take note that domestic helper visa holders are not entitled to permanent residency even after seven years of working in Hong Kong.
A case reconsideration for rejected visas can be pursued. However, with its length that lasts half a year to almost a full year, most applicants choose to just let it go. It also entails spending money all over again.
4. Submit employment contract to the Consulate
One of the four copies of the contract is meant for the Consulate to keep. Make sure to duly accomplish it and submit it.
Getting a domestic helper visa need not to be a tedious task, it will help if you have some guidance and preparations to maximize your chances of approval.