It is probably time for you to hire a Domestic Helper in Hong Kong. What are the main differences between employing an overseas helper or someone already in Hong Kong? Are you ready for hiring and preparing the famous employment contract? We prepared a guide to help you understand the issues and collect the most important information.
What are the eligibility criteria for hiring a domestic helper?
An employer is the official sponsor of his helper, and the Hong Kong Immigration department strictly requires the following criteria to accept a sponsorship:
- Employer is financially capable (income > HK$ 15,000)
- Employer is a Hong Kong Resident
- Employer undertakes to pay at least the minimum allowable salary (HK$ 4,520) and accommodation
If you have any doubt about your eligibility, don’t hesitate to call Hong Kong Immigration Department.
When do you expect starting your helper’s contract?
Your reply is tomorrow? If so, your choice will be limited, and you need to hire someone with a finished contract or a released contract! If you have more time, you can start a longer process to hire an overseas domestic helper.
1) Quickly hiring a domestic helper (less than 1 month)
You don’t know who will be your next helper and you have only few weeks to find the best profile. 1 week will be enough to identify and interview the right profile.
- Use your Network (your friends probably have domestic helpers who will recommend people looking for a job)
- You don’t want to spend any time searching? Some agencies will do this job for you. This kind of service is a little bit expensive but they will handle all the paperwork
- Websites and Facebook Group are the best way to interview helpers looking for a new position
A lot of helpers are looking for a new employment contract but if you want to quickly hire an employee, you need to focus on these 2 criteria:
- Helpers must be already in Hong Kong
- And helpers are working or their contract has just been terminated by an employer
The Immigration Department will be able to prepare a new working visa quickly for a domestic helper who just finished her contract (after 2 years of contract) or a helper whose contract was terminated for a particular reason (relocation of previous employer, financial issues…).
During an interview or during your search, check carefully the status of the current or previous contract. Our advice is to hire a domestic helper who will answer as follows:
- Current contract will be finished soon
- Terminated due to relocation
- Terminated for other reasons (financial issues)
As soon as you find a good candidate (qualifications, personality and salary package), prepare immediately an employment contract and the visa application (ID 407, ID988A, ID988B).
You will find all the required forms at the Immigration Department Offices in Wanchai, and you can also download the employment documents. Please note that you will be responsible for all expenses paid by your helper (request receipts) in order to taking up employment with you (notarization fee, visa fee, medical examination fee…).
If you follow these steps, your helper will start working for you in 4 to 6 weeks.
2) Domestic helper coming from overseas (up to 4 months)
If you hire a domestic helper currently living outside of Hong Kong (Philippines, Indonesia or Thailand), it will be difficult to meet her! We recommend at least that you should call the candidates or to arrange a Skype meeting.
As explained above, the process for hiring a domestic helper from overseas is long (up to 4 months) and generates a lot of paperwork (immigration requirements in Hong Kong and in the helper’s country). To save your time, it will be easier to appoint an agency. Take your time to select a good agency. The “bad” agencies are abusing the domestic helpers (charging huge placement fees).
To choose the best agency to support you, we recommend that you should check the following information with each agency:
- Work Ethics (how the agency has connected with helpers, why they recommend these helpers)
- What happens if you are not satisfied with your helper (after the starting date)?
- From now, how much time is needed to start an employment contract
- Payments and fees
- How much is the agency fee? Check carefully if it includes agency fees, immigration fees, medical fees, visas, flight ticket…
- Are there any fees paid by the candidates (agency fees or training fees)? We don’t like this practice!!!
If you have any doubt, look for another agency!
Once you give your agreement to work with an agency, the hiring process will start. They will introduce you to some profiles matching with your expectations. Take your time to select the best candidates (compare the profiles, arrange a phone call with each helper and get reference letters).
What if you don’t like the candidates proposed by your agency? You already know a candidate from abroad? If you found a profile by yourself, your agency will work only on the paperwork and they will decrease your fees (a lot of websites connect helpers & employers).
As soon as you have chosen the best candidate, the agency will start the immigration process (medical check, visa, employment contract, notarisation…). You will be responsible for all expenses paid by your helper (request receipts) in order to take up this employment (including flight ticket). A few months later, your helper will arrive in Hong Kong, and it will be time to introduce her to your family.
What is the minimum salary/wage for a domestic helper?
Before hiring a Domestic Helper you need to be aware of the minimum salary and accommodation requirements to offer your helper. Please find below the minimum requirements:
- Minimum salary/wage is at least HK$4,520 per month
- Food allowance of HK$1,075 per month or Free Food
- Accommodation with reasonable privacy (living out of your home is not allowed)
- Flight ticket will be paid by employers to allow domestic helper to go back to his or her country
- Employer needs to pay Medical Insurance for his helper
Don’t forget to follow the rights and obligations of the employment contract signed with your helper (annual leave & statutory holidays, termination, renewal…).
We hope that this guide will help you to make good choices when you hire your domestic helper in Hong Kong. If you recruit the right helper, we are sure that your daily life will be better. The process is sometimes too long but the result is often great!