Rules on FDW contract extensions, home leave deferrals to stay amid pandemic

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Foreign domestic workers in Central.

The Hong Kong government will keep measures easing the burden on foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and their employers amid travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement released on the government website on Monday said employers of FDWs can still extend contracts expiring on or before June 30, 2021 for another three months.

But further extensions of contracts that have been extended before will not be considered. The government said three months is enough for employers to arrange newly-hired FDWs to come to Hong Kong, so they must either renew the FDW’s contract or let their helper go if they wish to have him or her stay after the three-month extension.

For migrant domestic workers who cannot return to their country of origin for their home leave, the government said they may still apply to the Immigration Department to defer their leave until the end of their contract.

Home leaves after completion of two-year domestic worker contracts can previously be deferred for a year at most, but the government said it made the extension in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement said FDWs previously granted extensions of stay in Hong Kong on Mar. 21, Jun. 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 30 last year may still apply to the Immigration Department for another extension until the end of the FDWs’ contracts.

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These arrangements must be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the FDWs.

In the same statement, the Labour Department and Immigration said it will continue to combat “job-hopping” FDWs.

Probes into employment agencies reportedly leading their FDWs to hop jobs are underway, the statement said. It added that letters were issued to these agencies to remind them not to encourage workers to job-hop.

The warning comes as the Immigration Department intensified its crackdown on suspected “job-hoppers,” junking 355 visas from FDWs in the first two months of 2021.