Steps to register domestics simplified
A NEW visa procedure which simplifies registration requirements for foreign domestic workers has been welcomed by migrant workers.
The change bypasses Labour Department checks, described as an ineffective rubber stamp by a spokesman for United Migrant Workers.
The present procedure requires the Labour Department to check contracts lodged by employers.
The department attests contracts then refers them to the employees' consulates. The consulates notarise them and pass them to the Immigration Department.
From March 1, the Labour Department check will be bypassed and the Immigration Department will process applications. The Immigration Department is revising the standard contract form and explanatory notes.
A Labour Department spokesman said the department would shift its Foreign Domestic Helpers Service from checking contracts to consultation and conciliation.
An Immigration Department spokesman said the department would still process visas subject to the relevant consulate checks if the consulate requested this.
The Philippine Consulate-General Labour Attache, Mrs Virginia Son, said the consulate would continue to verify applicants' credibility in Hongkong and the Philippines.
However, the United Migrant Workers spokesman said the consulate's checks were ineffective and the $425 fee was unjustifiably high.
Workers who signed contracts in their home country were particularly at risk because they could not check on employers abroad.
He said the processing change would not increase the risk to workers because the Labour Department had only rubber-stamped contracts in the past.