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Flexibility arrangement to extend validity period of foreign domestic helpers' contracts
     In response to the temporary suspension of issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates to all workers going overseas (including domestic helpers) by the Philippines Government, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today (November 16) announced a flexibility arrangement to process employers' applications for extending the validity period of the contracts with their outgoing foreign domestic helpers (FDHs). The flexibility arrangement aims to mitigate the potential impact on relevant families in the case of some employers whose contracts with their existing FDHs are due to expire soon, but the newly hired FDHs or the FDHs they intend to hire may not be able to report for duty as scheduled due to the situation.

     "According to Clause 15 of the Standard Employment Contract (SEC), an employer may vary Clause 2 of the SEC to extend the period of employment by not more than one month by mutual agreement between the employer and the FDH, and with approval from the Director of Immigration. Prior consent from the Commissioner for Labour is required for extending the period of an FDH contract beyond a month," a Government spokesman said.

     "In order to assist families with the need to extend the contract with their current FDH for more than a month, the Commissioner for Labour has given in principle consent for all FDH contracts that will expire on or before December 31, 2017, to vary the period stated in Clause 2 of the SEC by extending the period of employment up to February 28, 2018, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed by both the employers and the FDHs. Under the above-mentioned circumstances, employers and FDHs may directly apply to the Director of Immigration for extension of stay of their FDHs. The Immigration Department will process the applications upon receipt in accordance with its established procedures and policies. Employers in need may apply to the Immigration Department for extension of stay of their FDHs on or before December 31, 2017," he further said.

     "We hope that the above-mentioned flexibility arrangement can help the families affected by the situation or in need, especially those who need help in taking care of the elderly and children, so that they can continue to retain their current FDHs temporarily while waiting for the new FDHs that they intend to hire to report for duty upon the resumption of issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificates by the Philippines Government, so as to mitigate the impact of the situation on them," the Government spokesman said.

     The application for extension of stay of FDHs may be submitted directly during office hours or by post to the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section at Immigration Tower in Wan Chai. The required documents for submitting the application are as follows:
  1. Visa/Extension of Stay Application Form for Domestic Helper from Abroad (ID 988A) completed and signed by the FDH;
  2. original copies (copies only for applications made by post) of the current SEC (ID407) kept by the employer and the FDH with an amendment clause on extending the period of employment duly signed by both parties at the end of page 4;
  3. a supporting letter signed by the employer stating the reason(s) for extending the period of employment;
  4. the FDH's travel document (copy only for applications made by post); and
  5. a visa fee of $190.

     In addition, members of the public may approach the Social Welfare Department if they have special needs for elderly and child care services. The Government will continue to liaise with the Philippines Consulate General and request the Philippines Government to exempt Hong Kong from the suspension order, as well as to complete the investigation and resume the issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificates to Filipino FDHs coming to Hong Kong as soon as possible.
Ends/Thursday, November 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:10
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