Hong Kong’s Tight Screening on Travellers Requires Employers to Sign a Pledge When Applying for Their FDH’s Visas
On July 21, 2020, given the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Government has gazetted certain specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease to set conditions based on public health grounds on travellers who recently visited COVID-19 risk places.
The specifications will be enacted on public health grounds on travellers who visited countries that are deemed high risk such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa within two weeks before they arrive in Hong Kong. The relevant specifications will come into effect at on July 25, 2020, and will remain valid until further notice. The Government resorted to taking these actions to minimise the number of imported cases; Hong Kong’s recent cases recorded from June 20 to July 17 has reached a staggering amount of 234 imported cases.
A vice for the Food and Health Bureau stated that the Government implemented the measure to reduce imported cases, as the capacities of the quarantine and isolation facilities are limited. The Government, in regard to the latest public health risk assessment, decided to tighten the screening of travellers that are entering Hong Kong from high-risk places, due to the health risk they may pose.
The Documents Need to Provide
The Labour Department or LD reminded employers and employment agencies to accurately study the specifications through a press release on their official website on July 18 2020. For an FDH to whom the specifications apply, the individual must provide the following documents:
1. A letter/certificate in either English or Chinese that was issued by a healthcare institution; the letter/certificate must also bear the name and identity card or passport number of the FDH:
- the said FDH underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 and the sample must be taken within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
- the conducted test on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19;
- the test result of the relevant FDH was negative for COVID-19
2. the original report for the test issued by the healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant FDH;
3. a letter in either English or Chinese issued by authority of the Government of the place in which the healthcare institution is located, certifying that the healthcare institution is recognised, or Government approved;
4. the FDH has confirmation in either English or Chinese of their hotel room reservation in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days, starting on the arrival date of the said FDH in Hong Kong.
Employees must be responsible and bear the COVID-19 tests and accommodation expenses. Food allowance should be provided to the employer’s respective FDH’s during the compulsory quarantine.
In accordance with the measures listed above, the Immigration Department (ImmD) will carry out a new arrangement on applications for FDH visas.
Employers requesting for their FDHs’ visa, including submitted applications in pending approval or issuance of visa status, will have to sign an undertaking. The pledge is required from employers to indicate that they will arrange for the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their FDHs and be responsible for the relevant costs if their FDHs are arriving after or on July 25.
However, if the employers are found to have breached the undertaking, their FDHs may be denied entry into Hong Kong and future applications from those employers for employing an FDH may be refused.
Employers can download the undertaking here.