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Is it Ever Possible to Swap a Foreign Domestic Helper Visa into a Regular Employment Visa in Hong Kong?

June 22nd, 2022

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Feature Article, Your Question Answered / 31 responses


Can you swap a Foreign Domestic Helper visa into a Regular employment visa? This is a reasonable question that has an obvious answer although not for the reasons you might typically expect. In 20 years of practising Hong Kong visa and immigration consultancy, the only successful change of status application from FDH to residence visa that I have ever experienced, naturally enough, is from FDH to dependant visa where there has been a legal marriage.



“I have an Indonesian furniture retail and design store in Aberdeen.  I was wondering if I could apply for a work visa for an existing domestic helper to come and work in my business. My shop is specialized in Indonesian furniture, both standard design and also bespoke.

She is Indonesian and has immense knowledge and skills in this field, having been educated to Bachelor level in design and with 7 years of experience working for a producer in Bali. Our store is an interactive and educative shop where we educate the local community on design possibilities and ways to get excellent value for money in buying furniture from Indonesia.

I have advertised locally extensively for a shop assistant but no great response. I got only one response and have had to hire her despite the person not being qualified.  It has been very hard to recruit.

This FDH is good and has good qualifications. Is it possible to apply for a work visa for my business?”

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

The 5 key factors which impact on eligibility for a Hong Kong employment visa

Why applying for a Foreign Domestic Helper visa for your girlfriend is not a good idea

Can you have 2 employment visa applications in process at the same time?

I am an independent contractor not an employee – can I get an employment visa as an inter company transferee?

Do you need to leave Hong Kong to ‘Activate’ your recently secured employment visa extension?




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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

  • Mary

    3 Mar 2024 am31 12:29am

    Hi, im an ambitious fdh. I save up majority of my salary, and after 6years i wanted to buy a business shares. Do i have any future problem about this, being a fdh visa holder and business share holder that is up for registration for legality.

    • The Visa Geeza

      5 Mar 2024 pm31 12:51pm

      You can own shares in a business whilst holding FDH status but you cannot be an officer of the company nor undertake any work for the company.

  • Lost and found

    5 Jan 2024 pm31 11:41pm

    I previously work as DH in hk now back home I found a skilled job adds in Hong Kong that fits my experience and newly acquired certificate and qualifications, can apply for that job or is it going to be the problem that I once worked as a DH?

    • The Visa Geeza

      9 Jan 2024 am31 9:11am

      You can apply and see how you go. It’s not an automatic barrier to an employment visa under GEP.

  • Mk

    29 Sep 2023 pm30 8:17pm

    My status is fdh
    And i want to apply for bachelor’s degree
    If i cancel my contract can i apply for student visa in hong kong? To continue my studies

    • The Visa Geeza

      30 Sep 2023 pm30 1:11pm

      I would apply for a student visa before cancelling your FDH contract.

  • Precious

    19 Jun 2023 pm30 3:43pm

    Hi, am a domestic helper, can I study here for my master’s even though it’s an online course to change to student visa??

    Also what If after my contract I go back to my contract to apply as a student to get a student visa, I love the education system here and would want to do my masters

    • The Visa Geeza

      21 Jun 2023 pm30 9:37pm

      You cant get a student visa for an online course. You can apply for a student visa at anytime.

  • JLM

    22 May 2023 pm31 2:32pm

    Hi, Im working on FDH visa in Hong Kong. But I plan to study full-time Master’s degree in a public university here. Is that possible? Also, once I graduated, can I get the IANG visa like “normal” non-local graduates? Or will I be denied this because of my past as FDH?? Thanks a lot

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 May 2023 am31 1:31am

      If you can get a student visa then once you graduate you can qualify for IANG. You previous status as an FDH is neither here nor there.

  • Chel

    28 Mar 2022 pm31 11:40pm

    Hi I’m working here in hk as FDH and I’m getting married to Hong Kong resident guy this coming May 11. I am planning to cut my FDH Visa after the wedding or while processing my dependant visa. I want to ask if is it possible If I move in to my husband while waiting my dependent visa issued or should I really need to exit after cut my FDH visa?

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Mar 2022 pm31 3:41pm

      You need to check with ImmD directly. We’re not very familair with FDH visas I’m afraid (it’s why there’s no FDH content on our website).

  • JQT

    8 Nov 2021 pm30 5:09pm

    Hi. There’s a company who wants to hire me in the future and offered sponsorship but the thing is i am currently holding a visa as a domestic helper? Is there any way to clear my records as domestic helper in the immigration? Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Dec 2021 am31 9:42am

      This is an almost impossible visa swap to undertake. From an ImmD perspective you can’t be a FDH one day and a Professional the next ….

  • JL

    7 Sep 2021 am30 11:41am

    I am a fdh in hk and I have hk resident boyfriend where planning to do bussiness here can I swap my visa to be a bussiness visa here? Thanks for ur reply

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Oct 2021 pm31 12:53pm

      No, sorry.

  • Emma

    10 May 2021 pm31 7:25pm

    Hello, I’m a domestic helper in Hong Kong. My contract ends this month, but I’ve already found new work. Is it possible for my FDH visa to be changed to a normal employment visa? My new employer wants to recruit me.

    • The Visa Geeza

      14 May 2021 pm31 12:16pm

      No, sorry to say, this is essentially impossible.

  • Jamela

    13 Jan 2021 pm31 10:51pm

    Good day Geeza I’m a fdh I’m a second wife of My husband is a Pakistani but he is a hk resident and his first wife in Pakistan my main question is he had a Indian shop what kind of visa we can apply so I can work his shop thank you God bless us

    • The Visa Geeza

      26 Jan 2021 pm31 2:26pm

      Sorry to say, none.

  • MC

    23 Apr 2020 am30 8:56am

    hi im a domestic helper here ,I just want to ask if I can change my Visa as working visa in the company . my contract will end on July .I go to school here and get certificates. can I apply to be as regular worker that related to my schooling and to change my status from helper to a regular employment visa as a worker..please u need some opinion and advise..thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Apr 2020 pm30 1:20pm

      This is not practical. Once you declare your status as a FDH in order to secure a FDH visa, then it is very hard to subsequently denote that you’re a Professional as required for a general employment visa

  • Jimmy

    29 Feb 2020 pm29 8:42pm

    Hey There Sir
    i am Brazilian visitor living in HK about 1 Month i have my philippines girlfriend she is working as domestic helper can we marry here in Hk.thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Mar 2020 pm31 1:08pm

      You can marry but no immigration privileges will flow.

  • TMA

    12 Feb 2020 pm29 1:49pm

    Hi IAM domestic helper in hongkong next month my contract is finish but I find already new employer is it possible fdh visa can change to regular employment Visa my new employer they want to hire me

    • The Visa Geeza

      15 Feb 2020 pm29 1:51pm

      Impossible. Sorry.


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