Thursday, 20 October 2011

End Discrimination Against HK Foreign Domestic Workers, NOW!

On 30 September 2011, the Hong Kong High Court ruled that the restrictions imposed on foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in the current Immigration Ordinance violated the provision in Article 24 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, on the eligibility to apply for permanent residency after having lived in Hong Kong for seven years.

Under the existing Immigration Ordinance, non-Chinese people who have lived in Hong Kong with a legal identification document for seven years can apply to the Director of Immigration for permanent residency in Hong Kong. Having verified that the applicant takes Hong Kong as their permanent residence, the Department of Immigration will then approve the application. However, the provisions in the Immigration Ordinance amended during the Provisional Legislative Council after the handover discriminatively deprived only FDWs of the opportunity to apply for permanent residency.

The High Court ruling on 30 September restores to FDWs equal treatment as other migrant non-Chinese people, to possess the right to apply for residency in Hong Kong. The ruling successfully eliminates the occupational discrimination in the current Immigration Ordinance and brings along a positive message to the society. It shows Hong Kong’s core value of individual human equality, where “all are equal before the law.”

The High Court ruling also has effectively recognized that the Hong Kong government has committed serious discrimination and injustice against FDWs until now. The Hong Kong government and all Hong Kong society should recognize that a large number of FDWs have been facing deep human rights violations and social and legal discrimination due to current government policies not limited to the exclusion from the right of abode, but including for example exclusion from the statutory minimum wage, the live-in requirement, the limitless working hours per day, the ‘two-week rule’ (by which they may only stay two weeks in Hong Kong after the termination of the contract) and other conditions they uniquely face.

As Hong Kong residents, citizens and workers, we want to achieve a 'world city' based on justice and equal rights for all human beings. We stand together with the foreign domestic workers who we live with and benefit from in our society, to ask for the following:

We call on the Hong Kong government to be the leader in advocating social and racial equality among workers and residents, and stop seeking to boost its popularity at the expense of one of the most excluded groups of workers in Hong Kong.

We call on the Hong Kong government to immediately implement the High Court’s decision to remove the restrictions on FDWs in the Immigration Ordinance concerning their eligibility to apply for permanent residency after having lived in Hong Kong for 7 years.
We demand that the Hong Kong government review its current discriminatory and harmful policies on FDWs, and apologize for the past discrimination and neglect it has committed all these years against them.#

Please click to sign on:

For inquiries, please contact:

Ms. Jackie Hung:

Ms. Doris Lee:

Mr. Eman Villanueva:

Mr. Joselito Natividad:

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