Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Pedring’ stalls Hong Kong court ruling on maids’ residency


HONG KONG—Hong Kong on Thursday postponed a landmark ruling over whether foreign maids should be allowed to settle permanently in the city, in a case which has sparked heated debate on equal treatment.

The action by Evangeline Banao Vallejos, a Philippine domestic helper who has lived in Hong Kong since 1986 but was denied permanent residency, has cast a spotlight on the financial hub’s treatment of its army of foreign maids.

The High Court, which heard the case for two-and-a-half days from August 22, was scheduled to announce a ruling at 10 a.m. but the session was forced to be postponed over a typhoon warning issued early Thursday.

The number eight tropical cyclone warning, raised for deadly Typhoon “Nesat” (“Pedring,”) brought disruption to the city as schools and transport services were suspended while courts and government offices were closed.

“We will expect the judgment to be delivered tomorrow, we will be seeking a confirmation later today,” Vallejos’ lawyer Peter Barnes told AFP.

Court officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Right to equality

Activists have said a successful legal challenge—the first of its kind in Asia—would entrench domestic workers’ right to equality, but opponents fear it would open the floodgates to the immigration of thousands.

The High Court decision will be crucial as Vallejos’ legal battle is the first of five launched by Filipinos—the other being a couple, and a mother and son—who have filed similar lawsuits, due to be heard in October.

Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, or mini-constitution, foreigners can apply to live there permanently after seven years of uninterrupted residency—but the city’s 292,000 domestic workers are specifically excluded from that right.

Vallejos challenged the restriction, saying it was unconstitutional and discriminatory, but the government argued in court that it was “appropriate” and it is empowered to define who is eligible for residency.

It is almost certain that the ruling however will not be the end of the legal challenge—as both lawyers for the government and Vallejos have indicated they will appeal to the city’s highest court should they lose the case.

An appeal must be filed within 28 days.

Implications on other countries

The case could also have implications beyond Hong Kong for other Asian economies that rely heavily on cheap imported labor for cooking, cleaning and looking after children, in order to allow women to join the local workforce.

Foreign maids in Hong Kong are entitled to better working conditions than in other parts of Asia—they are guaranteed one day off a week, paid sick leave, and a minimum wage of HK3,740 ($480) a month.

But rights groups say they still face general discrimination and a lack of legal protection. A maid’s visa is tied to a specific employer, leaving her vulnerable to domestic abuse, the activists say.

Without the right to permanent residency, if dismissed by her employer she must find another job in domestic service or leave Hong Kong within two weeks. AFP

Originally posted at 09:25 pm | Thursday, September 29, 2011


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Domestic Helpers , Economy , Employment , Foreign affairs , Hong Kong , Judiciary , labor issues , labor rights , maids residency , OFW , Pedring , Philippines

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sokor-Park/100002605297822 Sokor Park

     Home sweet home – tara na’t bumalik sa Pilipinas. 



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  2. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  3. HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  4. Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  5. Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  8. Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  9. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  10. Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
Advertisement

News

  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Aquino to lead Air Force turnover rites
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace