More than 1,800 ‘job-hopping’ FDHs denied entry in HK

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Filipino domestic helpers during their rest day in Hong Kong.

THE Immigration Department (ImmD) has denied the visa applications of more than 1,800 foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) since 2013 after complaints of “job-hopping,” according to Labour and Welfare Secretary Dr Law Chi-kwong.

Law said on December 12 that the ImmD had rejected 1,817 employment visa applications from FDHs as part of its efforts to crackdown on “job-hopping” among foreign domestic workers since June 2013.

“The ImmD has all along been processing employment visa applications of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in a rigorous manner. If the applicant has any adverse records or breaches, ImmD will refuse his/her application,” Law told the Legislative Council.

“Since June 2013, ImmD has strengthened the assessment of employment visa applications from FDHs who changed employers repeatedly to combat abuse in changing employers through the arrangement for premature contract termination (commonly known as “job-hopping”),” he added.

Law said the ImmD received around 544,000 employment visa applications from FDHs from June 2013 to the end of October 2018.

He said 11,077 applications or two percent of the total number were “subjected to further scrutiny.”

“Among the 11,077 cases closely scrutinised by ImmD, various exceptional circumstances may be involved, including premature contract termination on grounds of the transfer, migration, death or financial reasons of the ex-employer, or where there was evidence suggesting that the FDH had been abused or exploited,” Law said.

“Of these 11,077 cases, ImmD refused 1,817 applications, 819 applications were withdrawn by the applicants, and 658 applications could not be processed further,” he added.

In assessing FDHs’ applications for employment visa, ImmD “closely scrutinized the case details” such as the number and reasons for premature contract termination in the last 12 months, with a view to detecting any abuse of the arrangements for premature contract termination.

From June 2013 to November 2015 (a period of 29 months), the Immd rejected 582 visa applications or an average of 20 applications denied per month.

But with the new total of 1,817 visa rejected over 64 months, the monthly average has grown to 28.4 applications rejected per month.

Secretary Law issued the statement after a question posed by LegCo member Chiang Law-wan.

She said some employment agencies “have abetted FDHs to deliberately perform badly to get themselves fired, so that such FDHs can obtain one month’s wages in lieu of notice as well as free air tickets while the agency concerned can collect intermediary fees from new employers.”

Migrants groups have denied accusations that FDHs were job-hopping, adding that a foreign domestic worker would be required to pay agency fees if they get a new employer.