Foreign helpers in Hong Kong do not have to queue overnight for visa extensions
I refer to the letters from Angus Hardern (“Helpers queue overnight for new contract”, March 17) and Deborah Lee (“Immigration officials must improve quota system for helpers”, March 23) and would like to draw the attention of foreign domestic helpers and their employers to the various means of submitting visa extension applications, apart from in-person submission.
In order to reduce the queuing and waiting time for applicants visiting the Immigration Department offices, foreign helpers who plan to submit their visa extension applications in person are encouraged to make use of the online and phone appointment booking system, which operates round the clock.
The appointment can be made through the department’s website (http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/nonpermanent/bookextensionstay.htm) or by calling the 24-hour appointment booking hotline at 2598 0888.
In-person submission is, in fact, only one of the four methods to submit a visa extension application.
Apart from in-person applications at the Immigration Tower in Wan Chai or any of the five immigration branch offices during office hours, helpers applying for visa extension upon contract renewal with the same employer are encouraged to make their applications by post, via drop-in or through online submission.
These three methods will not require them to queue and wait at the immigration office and applications can be made within eight weeks before expiry of the existing visa. Applications made via these three methods will normally be finalised within 10 working days upon receipt of all necessary documents.
Application procedures by the four methods mentioned above are explained in various channels, including notices posted in department offices, the “Guidebook for the Employment of Domestic Helpers from Abroad” and also the department’s homepage (http://www.immd.gov.hk).
For applicants who have genuine urgent needs but cannot make appointments for service or obtain a walk-in quota, facilitation may be accorded to them on individual merits as far as practicable.
The Immigration Department is dedicated to providing a quality and efficient service for the public. Inquiries can be made via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by telephone (2824 6111) or by fax (2877 7711).
Silvia Lam, for director of immigration