Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hong Kong overturns maid residency ruling

today the final (not really final - they still can appeal) ruling came out about the right of abode for foreign domestic helpers. Please read from here - just click it !

And here the hard copy for you:
quoteThe Hong Kong government has won an appeal against a landmark ruling that gave foreign domestic helpers the right to apply for permanent residency in the city.
In the legal challenge filed by Evangeline Vallejos, a Filipino domestic helper who has lived in Hong Kong since 1986, a court had ruled last September that it was wrong for Hong Kong to exclude foreign domestic helpers from qualifying even if they had lived continuously in the former British colony for more than seven years, the minimum length of stay required for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency status.

in between I get this - Am I a criminaol now ?????
(High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Now you can read on:
The government appealed, warning of the serious strain on its budget and on public services if the ruling was upheld.
Hong Kong families have relied for decades on an army of mainly Filipino and Indonesian domestic helpers to look after their homes and children, partly because they are relatively affordable at HK$3,740 ($482) a month – the minimum wage set by the government. In a rare study on the subject, a migrants rights organisation found that in 2004, foreign domestic helpers contributed 1 per cent of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product.
Lawyers representing Ms Vallejos had challenged the statistics provided by the government, which had claimed that 200,000 helpers and their children would be applying for social securities should they become permanent residents.
There is strong local opposition to a change in immigration policy, with grassroots organisations and politicians voicing their anger about the decision on the grounds of limited health, education and housing resources.
However, there was fear that the campaign could degenerate into racial intolerance in a city with about 300,000 domestic workers.
Dolores Balladares, chairperson of United Filipinos in Hong Kong and herself a Hong Kong domestic helper for 17 years, said: “The decision has legalised discrimination. In Hong Kong, they talk about harmony and fairness but clearly it doesn’t extend to the helpers.
“The whole thing has been sensationalised and the numbers from the government do not take into account that most of our children are over 18 and would not have been able to move here as dependants.”
In its ruling, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal said the city’s constitution required seven years of “normal” residence to qualify for permanent residency and that the government has the right to define “normal” residency in a way that excludes foreign domestic helpers. It pointed out that foreign diplomats and Vietnamese boat people staying in detention camps during the 1980s and 1990s were also excluded on the same basis.
Mark Daly, Ms Vallejos’ lawyer, said: “The court’s interpretation is not consistent with an interpretation that fits the ideal of non discrimination and equality. Educating the Hong Kong public [about people’s rights] is an ongoing project, but the government falls down on that. Instead, they’ve chosen to whoop people up into hysteria.” He said his client would probably appeal against the decision.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.

No comments: