In Hong Kong, the recruitment process of the right domestic helper can be fast or very long… If you only have a short time to hire, one of the most important information to check is the working status of each candidate. There are differences between the following terms: terminated, break contract, finished contract or from overseas. In order to gain more understanding, we have prepared the following guide.
To finish a contract would mean that the worker has completed the contract (the standard employment contract is effective for two years). At that moment, the worker has the possibility to renew or move on.
A domestic helper with a finished contract can apply for a new job (or renew her current contract). She can go for interviews and get appointed into employment without having to go through an employment agency and without going back to her country of origin. The helper is able to apply for the stay visa to be extended, thereby delaying annual leave at the end of the contract.
If you find a candidate who is already in hong kong and finishing her contract (or just finished contract), the visa processing time is only from 2 to 4 weeks. A lot of finished contract candidates are available on HelperPlace.
Termination due to relocation
With the abundance of expatriates being moved from country to country, a lot of domestic helpers are terminated due to relocation. In this specific case, the helper can apply for work without having through employment agency and without going back to her country of origin. The visa processing time is only from 2 to 4 weeks.
Termination due to financial reasons
This happens when the family finds itself in financial trouble and can no longer afford to pay a domestic helper. This could be due to the breadwinner of the family losing employment, or through illness affecting the breadwinner’s ability to earn a living. In this case, the employer would be unable to afford to continue with the helper’s employment contract. In this specific case, the helper can apply for work without having through employment agency and without going back to her country of origin. The visa processing time is only from 2 to 4 weeks.
Break contract, by the Helper
To break a contract, the helper leaves the job. It may be due to many reasons. The main reason is because some employers are treating the helper unfairly:
- making the worker toil for unreasonable hours, or more than is usual
- not giving the helper enough food
- not paying the salary
- making the worker sleep in poor conditions due to lack of space in the apartment
- refusing medical attention
The Labour Department should be the one to intervene if a worker is being exploited in any of these instances, but the onus of providing the proof falls on the helper and a lack of evidence will not support a claim.
Some helpers are also breaking their contract due to personal reasons (medical emergency, family issue in her country…) or because they don’t like to work for their employers!
In these cases, the helper invariably chooses to leave the job, and not prolong her contract. The helper must perform her notice period of one month and then she will go back to her country of origin.
An employer who wants to hire a break contract has the obligation to use an employment agency. In this case, a new immigration process is required (at least 8 weeks, average 12 weeks).
Termination for other reasons, by the Employer
A terminated contract occurs when the helper is fired from the job. The reason can be due to misdemeanours such as theft, laziness, harming children in their care… The Immigration Department takes the reason an employee has left employment very seriously.
An employer who wants to hire a terminated contract for other reasons has the obligation to use an employment agency. In this case, a new immigration process is required (at least 8 weeks, average 12 weeks).
A lot of employers are hiring Filipino or Indonesian who are living in their country of origin. They are looking the Right Helper (time and cost are not the main criteria for them!). In this case, an employment agency must be used to notarize the employment contract. The role of the agency is to handle the visa application and assist helper to report to their own country’s consulate and apply for the Hong Kong ID. Choose carefully an ethical employment agency to help you for immigration process (at least 12 weeks).
By law, it’s not allowed for a helper to work for a new employer until the helper get the work visa.
The Immigration Department has a very complex and thorough employment contract form for foreign workers. This appears to cover all eventualities:
- Hours of work
- A job description
- Salary offered – which may not be below the Hong Kong minimum wage
- The accommodation offered
- Medical Insurance
- Compensation would be paid
- Vacation conditions – which include public holidays, rest days and annual leave and many more factors
More information about how to hire a domestic helper?