Cathay hit by visa crisis for expatriate staffLocal | Wallis Wang and Maisy Mok 18 Jun 2021
All of Cathay Pacific's overseas flight attendants have been denied work visas and its expatriate pilots were granted visas ranging from six months to three years, according to the airline, which expressed regret.
In a statement issued yesterday, the airline said it had been "working tirelessly" to provide necessary justifications to the Immigration Department to support cabin crew's renewal applications, and that it is "with deep regret" that some crew members would have to leave the company.
But the airline said it would lodge appeals for cabin crew who have Japanese and Korean language skills, as there will be more flights to Japan and Korea in the coming few months.
The airline did not say how many cabin crew members would be affected by the denial of working visas, but according to an online report, all flight attendants who joined Cathay Pacific between 2018 and 2019 will have to leave the airline, including 150 Taiwanese employees.
"We will be offering them off-boarding assistance, full access to our Employee Assistance Program for a sustained period, as well as the same exit package as those crew taking advantage of our voluntary separation scheme," it added.
As for foreign pilots, Cathay Pacific said its Boeing 747 pilots and training captains were granted three-year visas, while Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 pilots were granted one-year work permits.
But those who only have a license for A330 flights will have their visas renewed for six months only, the airline said.
"As part of our forward planning, we have resumed recruiting talents in Hong Kong who have the right to live and work here," it said.
"We fully expect recruitment of overseas talent will be considered favorably when we are in a position to broaden our recruitment plans beyond Hong Kong."
According to the Immigration Department's general employment policy, foreigners may apply to work in Hong Kong if they possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to Hong Kong that are not readily available.
In October, the airline dismissed 5,300 staff in Hong Kong - 4,000 cabin crew members, 600 pilots from Cathay Pacific and 700 ground and headquarters staff - and folded Cathay Dragon.