Smart Renewal service extended to drop-in, postal applications

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The Immigration Tower in Wan Chai (FILE PHOTO)

The Smart Renewal service for foreign domestic worker’s visa extensions will also cover applications sent in by post or drop-in box starting July 20, the Immigration Department said Thursday.

In a statement, the Department said they extended the coverage beyond online applications since the service has gained “positive public response.”

“From the launch of the Smart Renewal service to the end of June this year, applicants of over 21,500 applications for visas for further employment of [FDWs] paid their visa fees and collected their visa labels through the Smart Renewal service,” an Immigration spokesperson said.

The percentage of online submissions also nearly doubled from about 15% before the launch of the service to almost 30% as of end-June, the statement added.

Those who submit their FDW visa extension applications can, upon approval of their applications, pay the visa fee with the enclosed General Demand Note (GDN) starting July 20—regardless of whether they submitted their application online, by post, or through the drop-in box.

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Several payment methods—including Faster Payment System (FPS), payment by phone service, ATMs, internet banking, or in person at a post office or a convenience store—are also outlined on the back of the GDN.

When the Immigration acknowledges receipt of the visa fees, the visa and/or extension of stay label(s) will be mailed to the correspondence address provided by the employer. This should be affixed to the FDH’s passport following the enclosed instructions.

If no correspondence address has been given, the visa and/or extension of stay label(s) will be sent to the contractual address.

“In other words, FDHs or their employers need not attend any office of the ImmD to pay the visa fee or collect the visa label(s),” the statement said.

The service covers applications for contract renewal with the same employer, completion of the remaining period of the existing contract, or deferring home leaves due to the pandemic.

But the application procedures, visa fee payment arrangements, and visa label collections will remain unchanged for other applications for entry visas or for change of employer, and applications requiring an in-person submission or an interview due to special or individual circumstances.