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Thursday, Feb 09, 2023

Covid contract easing is on the way out

Covid contract easing is on the way out

Employment contract extensions for foreign domestic helpers and deferring their return to hometowns under flexible arrangements amid the Covid pandemic will be discontinued from May 1.
The Labour Department said yesterday that in response to the gradual relaxation of entry control measures, the flexible arrangements will end then following a review.

A government spokesman said that given the abolition of the flight "meltdown mechanism" and the gradual relaxation of control measures, flight services are gradually resuming. Employers and helpers should discuss employment, contract renewal or return arrangements as soon as possible to avoid violations.

For all contracts expiring before April 30, employers may apply for an extension of the contract's validity period. By mutual consent, the extension will be for a maximum of six months.

However, further extension applications will not be considered for those whose contracts have been extended under the flexible arrangement. Employers must apply for contract renewals after the extension period. All applications must be submitted to the Immigration Department by April 30.

Returning helpers who renew their contracts or start a new contract may apply for an extension of stay for a period not exceeding one year.

Under the flexible arrangement, if helpers cannot return to their place of origin within a year, they may apply for a further extension of their stay within eight weeks before the expiry date.

If the one-year delay period expires after April 30, the helper will not be granted any further extension.

The government reminded helpers and prospective employers that under the existing policy, helpers are required to leave upon completion of the contract or within two weeks of termination of employment.

Considering the large number of applications, the government urged the public to apply for helper visas and renewal of employment online at www.immd.gov.hk/fdh or through the Immigration Department's mobile app as soon as possible.
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