Hiring Domestic Helpers through Agency and Direct Hire
There are multiple employment agencies for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, regulated by Labor Department and the government. It is important to understand packages offered by Hong Kong employment agencies to avoid deception.
Domestic worker agencies allocate different “categories” for different domestic workers. Some employers prefer to hire locals as helpers whereas others prefer to hire foreign domestic workers coming from Philippines and Indonesia. The cost involved in hiring these helpers ranges from 2,500 HKD to 10,000 HKD, depending on the agency offerings as well as the original domicile of the helper (local or overseas).
Employment Agencies and their Duties
Agencies need to match domestic helpers with employers based on their needs and guide employers through the entire hiring process. They are responsible for paperwork including the process of signing the contract, the correct filling of details and documents submission for Visa application. Domestic helper agencies also aid in matching domestic helpers and employers, also assisting employer and helpers to sign Standard Employment Contract (form ID407). After the signing, agents will notarize the contract from the Philippine or Indonesian consulate. Employment agencies also aid employers and helpers to renew contracts, terminate them, book medical check-ups and the like.
Packages offered by employment agencies
Employment agencies offer multiple services to employers other than contract and visa processing. Ask the agency about contract costs, visa fees and even the medical check-ups. One can pick and choose the packages and services:
- First entry visa fees as levied by Hong Kong Immigration Department
- Medical check-up fees for locals and overseas hires
- Philippine OWWA membership fees and mandatory insurance
- Employer mandatory insurance;
- Accommodation fees if included by agency
- Housekeeping training and language training fees
- Departure fees (for overseas hire);
- One-way air ticket from origin country to Hong Kong;
- Airport pick up service for helpers
- Application for HKID card as required
- Consultation on Labor Department legislations and other Hong Kong government entities
Medical check-up in Hong Kong usually consists of several checkups and assessments including VDRL, testing for syphilis, testing for hepatitis B, HIV, testing for diseases affecting the digestive tract, Urine Routine, Urine for Pregnancy and X-Rays.
Direct Hire of Domestic Helper in Hong Kong
One should know the main differences between employing overseas helpers or locals in Hong Kong. One should have the employment contracts in place and understand the issues involved in the hiring process.
Eligibility criteria of employers
An employer is actually the sponsor of their helper, and as per legislations by Hong Kong Immigration department, the following criteria is required for sponsorship:
- The Employer should be financially sound with income exceeding HK$ 15,000.
- Employer should be a Hong Kong Resident.
- Employer needs to pay at least minimum allowable salary (HK$ 4,410) and accommodation to the helpers.
Things one should expect when hiring a helper directly
Employers need to hire someone with finished contracts or helpers with a released contract! If it is not urgent then one can opt for a longer process to hire overseas domestic helpers.
- To find someone urgently, you will need one week to identify and interview helpers with the right profile.
- Use your network of friends and relatives to find the right helpers.
- If you do not opt for direct hire, some agencies can do this job for you. Hiring an agency is a bit expensive but they will handle paperwork too.
- Rely on particular websites and social media groups to find domestic helpers in Hong Kong and then interview helpers for the new position.
- Make sure that the helpers are already in Hong Kong for quick hire or their contract has been terminated by an employer.
The Immigration Department can prepare a new working visa for domestic helpers who finished their contract or a helper whose contract was terminated for different practical reasons.
Check the status of the previous contract during the interview with the helper. The reasons for termination need to be clarified by the helper without flinching. As soon as you find a good helper with respect to the profile you need, prepare an employment contract and visa application. All the required forms are available at the Immigration Department Offices in Wanchai. Alternatively, you can download them from the website. Employers are responsible for all expenses paid by the domestic helper although they need to request for receipts, before taking employment with you.
Hiring domestic helpers living outside Hong Kong
Hiring a domestic helper who lives outside of Hong Kong, it is recommended to call candidates or arrange Skype meetings with them.
The process for hiring domestic helpers from overseas usually takes up more than 4 months and includes a lot of paperwork. Direct hire of domestic helpers outside Hong Kong is fraught with huge hassles. Take your time to appoint an agency. Check their work ethics, the terms and conditions when you are not satisfied with your helper, time required to start an employment contract and their fees along with the breakdown.