*During the Covid-19 pandemic, our application procedure and estimated durations will be subject to changes. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest updates.
Documents Required
  • Income Proof
    • Applicant’s total household income in the last 3 months
    • Tax bill that shows an annual income of HK$180,000 or more
    • At least HK$360,000 worth of fixed deposits in bank account; or
    • A monthly income of HK$15,000 or more.
      (Per helper employment)
  • Copy of employer’s HKID
  • List of family members and helpers
  • Address proof in the last 3 months
    (Including rates, utility bills, telephone bills, Internet bills etc.)
Eligibility Criteria

  • The employer is financially capable of employing a Helper. In general, for every Helper to be employed, the employer must have a household income of no less than HK$15,000 per month or asset of comparable amount to support the employment of a Helper for the whole contractual period;
  • The Helper and the employer shall enter into a standard Employment Contract (ID 407);
  • The Helper shall only perform domestic duties for the employer as specified in the standard Employment Contract (ID 407);
  • The Helper shall not take up any employment with any other person during his/her stay in Hong Kong;
  • The employer will pay the Helper a salary that is no less than the minimum allowable wage as announced by the HKSAR Government. If no food is provided to the Helper, the agreed amount of food allowance should not be less than HK$1,121 per month;
  • The Helper shall work and reside in the contractual address only;
  • The employer shall provide the Helper with suitable accommodation and with reasonable privacy;
  • The bona fides of the employer and the Helper are not in doubt;
  • There is no known record to the detriment of the employer and the Helper; and;
  • The employer is a bona fide Hong Kong resident.
Required Documents

  • Completed application forms (ID 988A and ID 988B);
  • An original copy of the standard Employment Contract (ID 407), which should have been notarised by the appropriate consulate in the HKSAR if so required by the relevant consulate. Other 3 copies of the contract are for the retention of the employer, the Helper and the consulate concerned (if applicable) respectively;
  • A copy of the employer's Hong Kong identity card. If the employer is not a Hong Kong permanent resident, a person with right to land or on unconditional stay, please make a copy of the travel document showing the employer's personal particulars and the latest Hong Kong Immigration stamp;
  • Financial proof of the employer, such as the latest notice of assessment and demand for tax issued by the Inland Revenue Department; bank passbook/statements showing auto-payment of the monthly salary for the last 3 months; or salary statements/slips for the last 3 months;
  • Proof of the employer's residential address2 as reported in the standard Employment Contract (ID 407), such as the latest demand for rates note or water/telephone/electricity etc. utility bills within the last 3 months;
  • A testimonial of the Helper showing he/she has at least 2-year working experience as a domestic helper; and
  • Copies of the Helper's travel document and his/her Hong Kong identity card (if any).
Budget

Monthly salary (HK$4,630 x 24 months) HK$111,120
SWAB test and hotel quarantine fee before coming to Hong Kong around HK$15,000
Agency fee (usually includes one-way plane ticket to Hong Kong) around HK$16,000
Domestic helper insurance around HK$1,550
Return ticket (from Hong Kong to country of residence) around HK$2,500
Transport subsidy for homebound travel HK$100
Total HK$146,270
Average monthly expense (24 months) around HK$6,095
Domestic Helper Salary

A foreign domestic helper should be paid no less than the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) announced by the Government and prevailing at the date of signing the employment contract for employing the foreign domestic helper. The MAW is currently set at HK$4,630 per month.
Room and Board Arrangements

  • Various consulates have appealed to employers to provide helpers with adequate clothing for colder months as many helpers come from tropical countries and may not have cold weather gear.
  • You should agree with your helper whether or not food will be provided during their employment. If it is provided, it must be free of charge. If no food is provided, a food allowance of at least HK$1,121 should be given to the helper each month.
  • You should provide your helper with free accommodation at the same address stated in the employment contract.
  • Your helper’s work should only occur within the address stated on their employment contract and be limited to housework, or you would be committing an offence.
Termination of Employment Contract

Either party may terminate the contract by giving not less than one month's notice in writing or by paying one month's wages to the other party.

For employers:
  • You should clear all outstanding wages and other sums due to your helper, preferably by payment through a bank, and obtain a receipt for all payments.
  • You are required to notify the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section of the Immigration Department in writing of the termination within seven days of the date of termination. It is not necessary to inform the Labour Department.

For helpers:
  • You should settle all accounts with your employer and ensure that all sums are paid to you before you sign any receipt.
  • You are required to notify the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section of the Immigration Department in writing of the termination within seven days of the date of termination. It is not necessary to inform the Labour Department.
Rest Days

Employers should give their helpers one rest day within a period of seven days. Rest days do not have to fall on Sundays. Employers should and helpers should agree on when rest days should take place.
Statutory Holidays

After serving an employer for three months, a helper would be entitled to the following holidays (12 days in total):
  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • The First Day of Chinese New Year
  • The Second Day of Chinese New Year
  • The Third Day of Chinese New Year
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • Labour Day (1 May)
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • HKSAR Establishment Day (1 July)
  • The Day after Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Chung Yeung Festival
  • The National Day of the People’s Republic of China (1 October)
  • Winter Solstice or Christmas (at the discretion of the employer)
Paid Annual Leave

A foreign domestic helper is entitled to 7 days of paid annual leave after serving every period of 12 months with an employer:
Years of service No. of days of annual leave
1 7
2 7
3 8
4 9
5 10
6 11
7 12
8 13
9及以上 14
Long-Service Payment

Regardless of age, helpers who have served their employers for 5 years are entitled to 100% of long-service payment, which is calculated like so:

Monthly wage on contract x 2/3 x years of service

Note: Payment for service provided during an incomplete year should be calculated on a pro rata basis. (Please refer to the booklet, "A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance", for details on calculation.)
Oversea Helpers VS Local Helpers During the Covid-19 Pandemic Oversea Helpers VS Helpers Who have Finished Contracts Filipino/ Indonesian Helpers Comparison of Helper Wages in Different Places
Filipino helpers from overseas Indonesian helpers from overseas Helpers who have just completed Hong Kong contracts Helpers who have just terminated Hong Kong contracts
Application time (including quarantine period) Around 3 to 5 months (after complete submission of documents) Around 2.5 to 3 months (after complete submission of documents) Around 1 to 3 weeks (after end of contract) Immediate hire: 1 to 2 months
Hiring helpers who have left Hong Kong: 3 months
Monthly wage $4630 $4630 $4630-9000 $4630-6000
Childcare duties Mostly willing Mostly willing to learn Less willing Least willing
Holiday in home country Holiday in home country Not necessary until end of contract Not necessary until end of contract Should occur during the first year of contract or be postponed
Probability of terminating contracts Lower Lower Higher Average
Helpers from overseas Helpers who have just completed Hong Kong contracts Helpers who have just terminated Hong Kong contracts
Application time Around 3 months (after complete submission of documents) Around 3 weeks (after end of contract)* Around 2.5 months (after complete submission of documents)*
No. of helpers for selection W/ overseas experience:fewer
W/O overseas experience: more
Average Average
Screening method Browse helper profiles and videos, and phone interviews Face to Face Interview Face to Face Interview
Acceptance towards job offers W/ overseas experience: more particular
W/O oversea experience: less particular
Very particular Average
Back to homeland for holiday Not required (After the 2-year contract) Should occur during the first year of contract Should occur during the first year of contract
Adaptability Longer Shorter Shorter
Obedience W/ overseas experience: average
W/O overseas experience: more obedient
Average obedience; would request rest days on Sundays Obedient; or problematic behaviour causing termination of contract
Administration fees More expensive More affordable Average
Plane tickets One-way One-way/Round-trip Round-trip
Monthly Salary Minimum wage Around HK$100 to $500 above minimum wage Higher than minimum wage; lower than helpers who have completed Hong Kong contracts
Country
Philippines
Indonesia
Education University/Tertiary Mainly high school
Language English Cantonese; Conversational English
Religion Mainly Catholic or Christian Muslim
Training Around 14 days 1 to 3 months (around 300 hours)
Obedience Less obedient Average
Skin colour Brown Brown
Work experience overseas All over the world Mainly in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong
Population in Hong Kong *Around 220,000 Around 170,000
*Updated December 2019
Wage(HKD) Features
Hong Kong
$4630 Pros Comprehensive consideration of holidays and benefits
Cons Relaxed government regulations on employers, resulting in more frequent contract terminations
Taiwan
*$4700 Pros Strict government regulations on employers, who tend to be more tolerant
Cons Less protection for helpers, e.g. helpers have to pay for their own medical expenses and work visas
Singapore
*$3500 Pros Efficient application process; government would crack down on employers who often let go of helpers
Cons Few holidays; helpers often asked to accept payment in lieu of leave
United Arab Emirates
*$3000 (approximate) Pros Agency fees paid by employers, not helpers
Cons Low wages; harsh desert climate deters helpers from taking leave
Canada
*$9000 (approximate) Pros 8-hour work days with additional pay
Cons Strict regulations on helpers
Helpers from overseas Helpers who have completed their contracts Selected local helpers Caregivers from overseas Contract renewal Others
Recruitment fees
Filipino helpers From
From HK$9,980
Indonesian helpers
From HK$8,000
Fees include:
  • Medical examination in home country
  • Consular fee at respective consulate general in Hong Kong
  • Application fee for work visa from the Immigration Department
  • One-way plane ticket to Hong Kong (including departure and airport taxes)
  • Translation services and legal advice during the employment period
  • Two-year follow up and counselling services
  • Upon helper’s arrival, the provision of the following services:
    • Application for HKID
    • Reporting to their respective consulate
    • Medical examination in Hong Kong (includes tests for pregnancy, Hepatitis B, lung and chest issues, syphilis and HIV)
Recruitment fees
Filipino helper
From HK$15,980
Indonesian helper
From HK$15,980
Fees include:
  • Contract authentication at respective consulate general
  • Application fee for work visa from the Immigration Department
  • Medical examination in Hong Kong (includes tests for pregnancy, Hepatitis B, lung and chest issues, syphilis and HIV)

    *An additional HK$1,000 will be charged for recruiting helpers who could not complete their contracts due to the death, migration or financial downfall of their former employer
Recruitment fees
Filipino helper
HK$5,380 (excludes medical exam)
Indonesian helper
HK$5,380 (excludes medical exam)
Fees include:
  • Contract authentication at respective consulate general
  • Application fee for work visa from the Immigration Department
  • OWWA from the Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong (only applicable to Filipino helpers)

    *An additional HK$1,000 will be charged for recruiting helpers who could not complete their contracts due to the death, migration or financial downfall of their former employer
Recruitment fees
(Please contact us for details)
Monthly wages start at HK$5,000 (depending on caregiver’s work experience, qualifications, complexity of caregiving tasks etc.)
*Employers should sign standard employment contract with caregivers and pay their wages directly
Fees include
  • Agency fee of HK$16,800 (or HK$19,800 for Filipino caregivers)
  • Visa application
  • Contract authentication at respective consulate general
  • OWWA from the Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong (only applicable to Filipino helpers)
  • Medical examinations (overseas and in Hong Kong)
  • One-way plane ticket to Hong Kong and airport pickup
  • Room and board allowance before commencement of work in Hong Kong
  • Visa application
  • Door-to-door caregiving consultation
  • Service quality control (our professionals will follow up on the services of your caregiver)
  • Caregiver uniform (2 sets)

    *We do not charge caregivers any agency or administrative fees.

    *Temporary caregivers: our caregivers include nurses, registered nurses, health workers and personal care workers who are assigned according to our clients’ needs. Clients are free to decide how many hours of service they require for optimum flexibility, and caregivers can be paid by the hour. Please contact us for more information.
Renewal fees
Filipino helper
HK$3,380
Indonesian helper
HK$3,380
Fees include
  • Contract authentication at respective consulate general
  • Application fee for work visa from the Immigration Department
  • Medical examination in Hong Kong (only for Indonesian helpers — includes tests for pregnancy, Hepatitis B, lung and chest issues, syphilis and HIV)
  • OWWA from the Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong (only applicable to Filipino helpers)
Services Fees Scope
Medical examination HK$850 Chest X-ray; tests for pregnancy, Hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis
Medical examination HK$100 Stool analysis
Change of Indonesian helper’s original employment contract HK$200/copy 4 copies
Passport renewal for Indonesian helpers HK$800 Valid for 3 years
Visa renewal for Indonesian helpers HK$500
1-month extension of stay before end of Indonesian/Filipino helper’s contract HK$500 An additional HK$800 will be charged for expired visas
Replacement of HKID HK$500
Extension of stay after completion of contract HK$800
1 Statutory holidays
2 Receipt for wages
Bilingual (Chinese and English)
3 Receipt for statutory holidays
Bilingual (Chinese and Bahasa Indonesia)
Bilingual (Chinese and English)
4 Housework list
5 Work schedule
General
Patient care
6 Application forms
ID407 Employment Contract (English — for helpers recruited from abroad)
ID407 Employment Contract (Chinese — for domestic helpers recruited from abroad)
ID407E Notification of Termination of an Employment Contract
ID407G Revised Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties
ID988A Visa/Extension of Stay Application From for Domestic Helper from Abroad
ID988B Application for Employment of Domestic Helper from Abroad
ID91 Application for an Extension of Stay
7 Useful contacts
8 Useful links
9 Foreign domestic helper statistics
2012
10 18-year foreign domestic helper salary trends
11 Practical Guide for Employing Foreign Domestic Helpers
12 Letter of Guarantee for Visa Application to the People’s Republic of China (Chinese)
13 Labour Department
14 Guide to common food and products at local wet markets (for helpers)
Common Questions on Labour Legislation Frequently Asked Questions
A maximum penalty of 5-year imprisonment and HK$300,000 fine.
No such provisions in current ordinances.
No, except in case of summary dismissal due to the helper’s serious misconduct. Otherwise, it is an offence under which the employer is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$100,000.
In addition to outstanding wages, the employer should also compensate the following
  • One-month dismissal wage in lieu of notice;
  • Sickness allowance due to the helper;
  • Payment in lieu of any outstanding annual leave;
  • Long-service payment/severance payment (where appropriate); and
  • Any other sum due to the Helper under the employment contract, e.g. free return passage, food and travelling allowance, etc.
Chapter 18 of the Employment Ordinance states the following:
  • A helper would be entitled to paid maternity leave if she has been employed for not fewer than 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of the scheduled maternity leave;
  • A helper would be entitled to two paid maternity leaves for two pregnancies;
  • Maternity leave is typically four weeks before the due date and six weeks after delivery;
  • After the receipt of pregnancy notice, the employer must not dismiss their helper;
  • After the helper, who has served their employer for at least 12 weeks (3 months), notifies the employer of their pregnancy, they must not be dismissed. Employers who contravene such a provision is liable to a maximum fine of HK$100,000. In addition, if the employer does not grant maternity leave, maternity leave payment (i.e. four-fifths of normal wage) or sickness allowance for absence due to maternity examination (i.e. two-thirds of normal wage), they will be fined of maximum HK$50,000.

    If the employer dismisses a pregnant helper, they shall not only conduct normal dismissal procedures and compensation, but also grant the helper a wage of seven days as dismissal compensation. One thing worth noting is among the contents of maternity protection in the revision draft (1996) of Employment Ordinance, the most controversial provision is that the employer is forbidden to ask the pregnant employee to conduct any rough, heavy, dangerous or harmful work. The helper can require the employer to not assign the frequent conduct of rough, heavy and any other work of harming pregnant women 14 days after giving the pregnancy notice, and any employer requiring such work without reasonable explanation will be fined of maximum HK$50,000.
Please refer to the Labour Department’s website for more information on employing foreign domestic helpers:
http://www.labour.gov.hk/en/public/pdf/wcp/PointToNotesForEmployersOnEmployment(FDH).pdf

A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance:
http://www.labour.gov.hk/en/public/ConciseGuide.htm
http://www.labour.gov.hk/en/faq/content.htm
Assign them an adequate number of tasks to distract them from negative thoughts. Encourage them to contact their families via video conferencing during their breaks.
You shouldn’t prohibit them from using their phones. Instead, explain to them that they should only use their phones during emergencies or during their breaks and rest days so they can concentrate on their work. You could also conduct regular reviews with your helper to assess her performance and outline possible areas of improvements to let them know your expectations.
  • Transport fares: yes, either by cash or Octopus card.
  • Telephone bills: if your helper’s work requires the use of phone calls and mobile data, you could discuss with your helper and offer to pay a portion of their phone bills.
Discuss new work arrangements with your helper first. If she is able to care for the newborn and her usual tasks on her own, consider giving her a raise. If she is unable to tackle the additional workload, consider hiring additional helper if your situation permits. You should include all new work arrangements in revised or new employment contracts.
Letting go of helpers without paying their dismissal wages in lieu of notice can only be applicable to the following situations:
  • The helper is wilfully disobedient;
  • The helper displays inappropriate behaviour;
  • The helper is deceptive and/or disloyal;
  • The helper frequently neglects their duties.


It is your helper’s personal business to take out a loan from a lender. If the lender is harassing you, this could be considered inappropriate behaviour. But if the lender is not causing any disturbances and you still choose to let your helper go, you will have to pay their dismissal wages in lieu of notice.
You should discuss the method of payment with your helper. If they ask for cash, you could use our “Salary and Holiday Receipt” template and request for your helper’s signature when you pay them their wages. Alternatively, if you are paying them by bank transfer, you should retain proof of transfer.
You should conduct a performance review with your helper before renewing their contract to evaluate their performance and areas of improvement. This would help communicate your expectations to your helper and prevent misunderstandings. In general, you should conduct regular performance reviews.
You should try to investigate this by going through surveillance camera recordings. If you find evidence of theft, file a police report and leave it to the police. Never take matters into your own hands — the authorities will help you resolve the issue in the most efficient and effective manner.
Yes — but you have to respect the privacy of your helper. Do not install cameras in bathrooms or your helper’s quarters. Do not install cameras or record footage without your helper’s knowledge.
According to the Employment Ordinance, you can deduct up to HK$300 from your helper’s wages for any damage to or loss of property. Monthly deductions should amount to no more than 25% of your helper’s wages. Do take note, however, if you deduct money from her salary the first time your helper breaks something, you may hurt her feelings. If this is her first time, we suggest that you let her know how devastated you feel about the broken object. Invite her to participate in the process of purchasing a replacement for the object or getting it fixed to help her empathise with your situation, show her the severity of her negligence and encourage her to be more careful. This could help prevent similar incidences in the future.
Helpers come from different countries which may differ from Hong Kong society in aspects such as cultural background, living habits, religious beliefs, dietary preferences, etc. Employers can address the adaptation problems brought by the differences in culture and living habits with an accommodating and accepting attitude, particularly at the beginning of employment during which both parties need some time to adjust and adapt to each other. For example, if your helper is used to eating a lot of rice, explain to them that the fast-paced lifestyle and varied diets of Hongkongers means they might not eat rice during every meal; or if your helper does not eat pork for religious or physical reasons, clarify whether they would be willing to prepare pork before signing them on.
Many helpers attend language courses before they come to Hong Kong. Still, English and Chinese may not be their first languages and they will still have difficulty speaking and understanding these languages. When communicating with your helper, use more body language, or enroll them in our language courses.
“Housework” is not clearly defined in the Employment Ordinance, but common interpretations of housework include doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning, childcare, gardening and caring for pets. Homework help could be considered childcare.
We suggest that you ask the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department. While childcare is included in a helper’s scope of duties, if they are often required to do so in your shop, for example, this could breach their employment contract.
Helpers can refuse to perform massages, even on employers or older adults. Performing massages is not part of their scope of duties and helpers have the right to lodge a complaint at the Labour Department’s Labour Relations Devision if they are forced to perform massages, or dismissed for their refusal to do so.
No. Upon the termination or expiry of the employment contract, the employer must notify the Immigration Department and grant the helper their air ticket from Hong Kong to their place of origin (see Clause 7 of the Illustrations on the Employment Contract (Chinese)). After the employer notifies the Immigration Department, the nature of the Helper’s entry visa changes thereupon, which means the helper stays in Hong Kong as travellers under the jurisdiction of the police and the Immigration Department.
This could be due to:
  • Their involvement in labour disputes in Hong Kong;
  • Their application for an extension to stay as a traveller;
  • Their outstaying the validity of their visa;
  • Their application for a 14-stay extension after leaving Hong Kong briefly for the Chinese mainland (e.g. Shenzhen).
The employer can terminate the Employment Contract unilaterally without any notice under the Helper’s improper behaviour specified in Clause 10 of the Illustrations on the Employment Contract (Chinese): frequent wilful disobedience to order, misconduct and neglectful of duty.

Nothing concrete has been outlined, however. In any labour dispute for other reasons, the Labour Department will make final decision as per the Employment Ordinance, Common Law and past judicial precedents of the court. If the helper is repeatedly guilty of the same misconduct, the employer shall ask her to sign the letter of mistake acknowledgement or apology, which will become evidence for her dismissal. If the helper is convicted for a criminal offence (e.g. theft) or is arrested and convicted for the unlawful street trading, the employer can summarily dismiss her without any compensation (except air tickets).
If your helper encounters an accident or falls ill during work, you should on behalf of your helper do the following, which are subject to changes depending on the insurance company:
  • After the learning of the helper’s accident with a sick leave of more than 3 days, the employer shall notify relevant conditions of work injury summarily to insurance companies;
  • Within 14 days, the employer shall submit two copies of Form 2 along with the relevant materials and a complete account of the accident to the Labour Department; and submit Form 2, a copy of the helper’s HKID and original sick leave certificate issued by registered western physicians to insurance companies;
  • The employer shall hand other sick leave certificates in time to insurance companies for archiving;
  • If the helper’s sick leave does not exceed 7 days and they do not suffer from permanent disability that affects their work, the employer can settle compensation with the helper either in written or verbal form, taking care to fill out only the number of days of sick leave, amount of compensation and date of payment in Part II of Form 2. The helper will not need to undergo leave cancellation or injury assessment and the employer can file direct insurance claims.
  • If the helper’s sick leave exceeds 7 days or they do not opt for direct settlement, the employer should encourage the helper to go to the Occupational Medical Group of the Labour Department or Assessment Committee for Employee Compensation for leave cancellation or to assess their injuries.
  • After leave cancellation or injury assessments, if the helper is only entitled to sick leave or is assessed to have fewer than 5% of permanent disability that affects their performance, the Labour Department will issue the Compensation Assessment Certificate (Form 5) indicating the amount payable. The employer should submit the original Compensation Assessment Certificate as part of their claim.
  • If the helper is assessed to have more than 5% of permanent disability, the Labour Department will issue the Assessment Certificate (Form 7), and the employer should submit the certificate to insurance companies as part of their claim. According to the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, the employer should first sign three copies of the the Compensation Agreement with their helper and then submit the signed agreement to the Labour Department for review. After the receipt of the approved agreement, the employer shall summarily hand original copies to insurance companies.


The Domestic Helper’s Comprehensive Insurance has a cooling-off period that is not subject to guarantee matters and some items. The employer should thoroughly read the terms of insurance policy to ensure their rights and benefits
No. The Labour Department’s “Work Guidance During Typhoon or Rainstorm Warnings” is not legally binding. However, as the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance states, any injuries occurring 4 hours of leaving or making their way to work is considered occupational injury. Also, occupational injuries occurring as a result of natural disasters such as typhoons are not typically covered by insurance. If you require your helper to work outdoors while the Typhoon Signal No. 8 is hoisted, you will have to compensate for their injuries from your own pocket.
Yes, because you are responsible for requesting your helper to travel with you.
No. After the expiry of the employment contract, the employer shall grant the helper a one-way ticket and a HK$100 travel and food allowance for the helper’s homebound travel. However, the helper may sometimes require the employer to grant in advance contractual expiry leave, free contractual-expiry air-ticket, travel allowance and food allowance. Such fees or leave do not have to be agreed upon only after the expiry of contracts. This is a matter you should discuss with your helper.
Useful Resources
A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance
https://www.immd.gov.hk/pdforms/ID(C)989.pdf
Download the “Practical Guide for Employment of Foreign Domestic Workers” for more information.
http://www.labour.gov.hk/tc/public/pdf/wcp/FDHguide.pdf