Within the busy urban landscape of Hong Kong, numerous households rely on the expertise and commitment of domestic helpers. They become an integral part of daily life, offering assistance that ranges from childcare to household management. When the time for the end of contracts comes or when unexpected circumstances arise, the topic of visa extension for domestic helpers emerges as a priority. This blog will detail the process and requirements surrounding domestic helper visa extension in Hong Kong so you can handle this situation with ease.
Applications for visa extensions can be sent physically in two primary ways: in-person submission or postal delivery to the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section situated in the Immigration Tower, Wan Chai. An online application option is now also available, which will be explained further below.
The decision to extend a domestic helper's visa requires attention to detail, as even small oversights can lead to complications or delays. Thus, understanding the intricate steps and specific requirements is crucial for a hassle-free visa extension process.
Before embarking on the visa extension journey, take some time to converse with your domestic helper. Ensure you both are on the same page regarding the decision to extend. This conversation is foundational and serves as a starting point for all the subsequent procedural steps.
Collecting and verifying all required documentation is paramount to ensure a successful extension of your domestic helper’s visa. As such, you will need to organise the following forms, documents, and fees:
Form ID988A: This needs to be comprehensively filled out and then signed by the domestic helper.
Supporting letter for domestic helper visa extension: Written by the employer, this document should clearly spell out the reasons driving the extension request. A sample can be found below.
Passport details: A photocopy or the original document of the domestic helper's passport is mandatory.
Current employment agreement: You must provide a copy or the original document of the presently active contract that was signed at the commencement of the helper’s employment.
Visa processing fee: Every application necessitates a standard domestic helper visa renewal fee of HK$230.
Crafting an effective supporting letter can sometimes pose a challenge. Here is a sample to guide employers:
I am writing to request a visa extension for my domestic helper, [Domestic Helper's Name]. Over the course of her current contract, she has shown consistent dedication and professionalism, making her indispensable to our household.
We are both keen on continuing this professional relationship and have thus decided to extend her employment contract. I hereby kindly seek your assistance in facilitating the domestic helper visa extension.
Enclosed, you will find the completed ID 988A form, a copy of [Domestic Helper's Name]'s passport, the current employment contract, and the required visa processing fee.
For any additional details or clarifications, please feel free to contact me at [Your Contact Information].
Online applicationfor extension of stay is now available for domestic helpers who want to renew their contract with the same employer. The following documents will need to be submitted online:
Form ID407: Employment Contract for a Domestic Helper Recruited from Outside Hong Kong
Passport details: A photocopy of the domestic helper's travel document is mandatory, including the page of the latest landing endorsement/landing slip and/or latest ‘e-Visa’ (if applicable)
Form ID934A: Application for Special Permission for Performance of Motor Driving Duties by Foreign Domestic Helpers (first 2 pages)
Other supporting documents: You could provide proof of the employer’s financial position and residential address (especially if there is a change in information since the previous employment contract)
Ensure that all your files are in the right format before uploading and that all information is filled out correctly as this may result in voided applications.
In the event that a domestic helper's contract is approaching its expiry date or has already been terminated, and they are facing difficulties returning to their homeland or finding new places of work, there are measures in place to assist.
Such domestic helpers can approach the Immigration Department to seek an extension of their stay limit in Hong Kong. This extension will come in the form of a tourist visa, provided with the intent of giving them additional time to find new employment within Hong Kong or make alternative arrangements.
A formal letter confirming the cancellation of their flight, accompanied by relevant flight details.
The domestic helper's passport.
The visa fee, which amounts to HK$230.
Once these documents are presented and the application is processed, the duration of the extended stay will be determined by the immigration officer. This duration can be up to a month.
It is important to note that during this extended period, the domestic helper might need accommodation, typically in a boarding house. For any domestic helpers who require assistance finding boarding houses or temporary accommodation during this period, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) can provide invaluable support. They have a well-established network and resources to assist in such situations.
For many employers in Hong Kong, domestic helpers are more than just employees; they are integral parts of the household ecosystem. As such, understanding the domestic helper visa extension process is paramount. It is not just about ensuring continuity in daily routines but about fostering trust and demonstrating value to these dedicated individuals. Being well-versed in the steps, from having all the necessary requirements for visa extension to navigating potential bumps like contract shifts, gives employers the upper hand in seamlessly managing transitions. This, in turn, strengthens the bond between employer and helper, ensuring a harmonious household and solidifying the mutual respect that underpins a successful working relationship.