How Long Does it Take to Process Helper Visa in Hong Kong?
Domestic help is voluntarily available in Hong Kong and it is quite affordable too. In a city like Hong Kong where life is fast paced, most people find it difficult to balance work and life. This leaves them with a choice of hiring a full time domestic help who can stay with the family to clean the home and even take care of children. How to easily get a helper visa is key is the hiring process.
Majority of the foreign domestic helpers are from Indonesia and Philippines in Hong Kong. Hiring a domestic helper in Hong Kong is quite easy and it hardly requires time. If you are hiring a domestic helper from a foreign country, it will be mandatory by law to process the helper visa through a licensed domestic helper agency. Nevertheless, If your domestic helper is from Philippines and finishing her current contract, you will have the possibility to handle the process without an agency.
Documents Required For Hiring a Domestic Helper
Before to initiate the paperwork part, you need to check the working status of the potential candidate. The process will be different if your candidate is in Philippines, finishing her contract or terminated for some reasons.
There are basically three types of documents that both the domestic helper and the employer need to sign before hiring.
Domestic helper visa
Standard employment contract
Application for employment of domestic helper
You can process all the required documents with or without an agency. Most of the domestic helper agencies promise quick visa processing but the truth is they have little control over the entire processing time. It takes almost 8-12 weeks to hire a domestic helper from abroad. The real strength of a good agency is to find the right candidate and manage all the immigration process for you. The timeline might vary according to the experience and contract of these helpers (from 4 to 12 weeks).
Hiring a Domestic Helper is Not a Difficult Task
Finding and hiring a domestic worker is not a difficult task as it might seem. There are several ways to find a domestic helper. Although one of the most conventional ways of hiring a domestic helper is through an agency, it is often criticized due to many unethical ways and time lags. However, there are many other platforms that can be used to find and hire a domestic helper quickly and without any hassles.
When you have found a suitable domestic helper, you need to initiate the paperwork by collecting some documents and submitting them to the consulate of your helper and hong kong immigration department. Only after the approval of the visa by immigration department, your helper will be authorised to work legally in Hong Kong.
Processing the Paperwork
Obtaining a helper visa in Hong Kong through an employment agency will helper you to save considerable amount of time. However, when you process the paperwork by yourself, you will save the agency fees! An agency is unnecessary if the domestic helper is from Philippines with a ‘finished contract’ status. This is also applicable for helpers who have been terminated for valid reasons (termination due to relocation, termination due to financial issues of the employer and termination due to death of the employer).
However, it is to be noted that in other cases (overseas, break contract, terminated for other reason), you will require the assistance of an employment agency to secure a helper visa in Hong Kong.
Time Taken to Process the Helper Visa Application
Majority of the employment visa applications take 6 weeks to process. However, the time period may vary according to the number of applications received by the Immigration department during the same period. If the number of visa applications is less, it might just take a period of 4 weeks to process the helper visa application. It is also essential to know that if your domestic helper is from Hong Kong, it might take only a period of 14-8 days to process the visa. But it will take up to two months for the immigration department to process the helper visa if she is in her home country.
However, there are several rare cases in which the immigration department might take a longer time to process the helper visa. This might happen if the immigration department has to investigate further or if the employment contract is incomplete. In such cases, it might take few months to obtain a helper visa in HK.
There are several rules and regulations related to domestic helpers in Hong Kong. It is quite important to know these rules before applying for an employment visa. Domestic helpers who are planning to stay with the same employers must submit an application for a renewal eight weeks before the current visa expires. In these cases, the immigration department issues the visas the same day of the application.
Domestic helpers who are planning to change their employers must submit their visa applications 4 weeks before the contract expires. Once the application is submitted at the Immigration department, there are online facilities to make status enquiries. In some cases, immigration department also conducts an interview of the employer before processing the visa. When the visa application is reviewed successfully, the employer will be notified by a letter.
Collect the Visa
The domestic helper (but also the employer or the agency) can then collect the visa after submitting travel documents and other necessary identity proof. The visas can be collected from the Foreign Domestic Help section at the immigration department. You need to pay a visa fee while collecting the visa from the department. The payment can be made in check or cash. The checks must be crossed and paid to the HKSAR government.
There are many reliable employment agencies that can assist you to procure a helper visa in Hong Kong if you are unfamiliar with the rules and regulations of the government.