The last couple of months have been quite difficult for everyone because of the ongoing pandemic. Work has been affected in all levels of society. This has also been the case for OFWs in Hong Kong, and even those aspiring to travel to the country to work as a foreign domestic helper.
That said, travel is now possible for FDHs with a visa on hand. However, there are additional requirements that you need to comply with to be allowed to board your plane to Hong Kong. If you are planning to work in Hong Kong anytime within this year, continue reading the following sections to learn more about the additional requirements for FDHs and travelers bound for Hong Kong.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Pinoy OFW in Hong Kong, Jean a.k.a. Pinay Nanny Vlogger in Hong Kong on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Hong Kong.
2 Additional Requirements for Domestic Helpers Bound for Hong Kong
The announcement for the additional travel requirements for Hong Kong-bound FDHs and travelers was posted by the government on July 18, 2020, and had been put into effect since July 21 of this year.
According to the advisory, the government has decided to impose conditions based on public health grounds on travelers who have visited or are coming from those specified high-risk places (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa) within 14 days before arrival in Hong Kong, to further reduce the number of imported cases.
The decision was made by authorities since they have found out that most of the new COVID-19 cases were due to travelers and workers entering the country. As of now, travelers from the 7 high-risk places including the Philippines, will need to submit additional requirements to ensure their health and safety when before and during their stay in Hong Kong.
That said, before foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) with work visa enter the country, they need to present the following documents:
1. A letter or certificate in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH to show that:
(a) the relevant FDH underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 the sample for which was taken from the relevant FDH within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
(b) the test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; and
(c) the result of the test is that the relevant FDH was tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19;
2. The original copy of the report for the test issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH;
3. A letter in English or Chinese issued by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located certifying that the laboratory or healthcare institution is recognised or approved by the government; and
4. The relevant FDH has confirmation in English or Chinese of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant FDH in Hong Kong.
The advisory also noted that the costs for the nucleic acid test and the accommodation expenses, as well as the food allowance for the foreign domestic helper during the mandatory quarantine period will be shouldered by the employer in Hong Kong.
To ensure that the above requirements are observed, employers applying for a visa for their FDHs (including those applications having been submitted but pending approval or issuance of visa) will be required to sign an undertaking to indicate that they will arrange for the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their FDHs, and be responsible for the relevant costs, if their FDHs are arriving on or after July 25, 2020.
For employers: The undertaking can be downloaded from the website of ImmD at https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/forms/hk-visas/foreign-domestic-helpers.html and obtained free of charge from the ImmD Headquarters and Immigration Branch Offices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the mandatory quarantine period still in effect in Hong Kong?
Yes. Although the advisory was posted late in July this year, the protocol is still implemented up until today or until changes will be made by relevant Hong Kong authorities.
Until when will this period be put into effect?
This is yet to be determined since Hong Kong is still dealing with fluctuating cases of new infections now and then, and so, the government has to enforce all necessary measures to prevent the spread of infection in the city, which include the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for all incoming travelers.
Who are exempted from the additional travel requirements?
The additional requirements only apply to FDHs and travelers entering Hong Kong from the seven (7) specified high-risk locations. This does not apply to travelers who are on transit flights in Hong Kong.
What happens if the undertaking has been breached?
If employers are found to have breached the undertaking, their FDHs may be denied entry into Hong Kong and future applications from those employers for employing an FDH may be refused.
While there are additional requirements that need to be met by foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), this is to ensure their health and safety as well as their employer’s when they enter Hong Kong for work. The good news is that employers will shoulder the expenses of the quarantine period as well as the nucleic acid test for COVID-19.
That said, it is not known how agencies in the Philippines will adhere to this. They may charge the domestic helper first for the test as well as the accommodation during the quarantine period, and then, later on, will reimburse the payment from the employer.
Have you visited Hong Kong when the additional requirements have been put into effect? What was your experience like? If you’re an FDH, did you pay for your accommodation and nucleic test first before you went to Hong Kong? If so, were you properly reimbursed by your agency/employer for it? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.