Friday, 19 August 2011

HK Migrant Domestic Workers Should Also Have the Right to Residency

'Maids in Hong Kong sue for residency rights' By Beh Lih Yi, 13th Aug 2011 Global Nation.

Hong Kong is set to hear later this month a Filipino domestic helper’s legal bid for permanent residency in the southern Chinese city, in a landmark case that has sparked heated debate.

A successful legal challenge will be a first of its kind in Asia, activists said, and a recognition of rights and equality for domestic workers, who are mostly from labor-exporting countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia.

Evangeline Banao Vallejos, a Filipino maid who has worked and lived in Hong Kong since 1986, launched the case last year after her attempts for permanent residency were denied by the city’s immigration authorities.

Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a mini constitution, non-citizens are entitled to permanent residency—which allows them to vote and better access to public services—if they have “ordinarily resided” in the city for a continuous seven years.

The immigration laws however specifically exclude the 292,000 foreign domestic helpers.

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