Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Energy News .

H.K. court rejects landmark residency bid by maids
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) March 25, 2013

Hong Kong's top court on Monday threw out a landmark case that would have given hundreds of thousands of foreign maids the right to seek permanent residency, ending a legal battle that split the city.

In rejecting the bid to give maids the same residency rights as other foreigners, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that there was no need to refer the case to Beijing for a final say, which would have sparked new controversy.

Authorities in semi-autonomous Hong Kong had suggested enlisting the advice of the Chinese central government on the immigration question, sparking warnings that they were jeopardising the territory's cherished judicial independence.

In the event, the top court drew a line under the matter by rejecting the two-year legal battle brought by Filipina maid Evangeline Banao Vallejos, a mother of five who has lived in Hong Kong since 1986.

"With the court's ruling today, it gave its judicial seal to unfair treatment and the social exclusion of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong," Eman Villanueva, spokesman for the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body, said outside.

Vallejos won a High Court ruling in 2011 granting her the right to request permanent residency status, which most foreigners can seek after seven years' stay but which is denied to the city's 300,000 foreign domestic helpers.

Labour rights activists had hailed the ruling as a big step for equal rights for maids, who are a backbone of society in richer Asian economies and a financial lifeline to their home nations, notably the Philippines and Indonesia.

But the Court of Final Appeal sided with an appeal lodged by the Hong Kong government, which warned that the ruling would swamp the cramped city's population of seven million.

"The FDH (foreign domestic helper) is obliged to return to the country of origin at the end of the contract, and is told from the outset that admission is not for the purposes of settlement and that dependents cannot be brought to reside in Hong Kong," the appeals court said in a written judgement.

The ruling means that maids will continue to be specifically excluded from eligibility to settle in Hong Kong, which would give them access to voting rights and the right to live in the former British colony without a work visa.

Mark Daly, a lawyer for Vallejos, said his client was "speechless but calmly resigned and said 'no problem'".

Hong Kong's foreign maids receive a minimum wage of HK$3,920 (US$505) a month and benefits such as one guaranteed day off a week, but rights groups say they face discrimination and a lack of legal protection from abusive employers.

The Vallejos case threw new light on Hong Kong's often uneasy relationship with authorities in mainland China and the full extent of the territory's autonomy under its mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law.

While there have been repeated outcries from the Hong Kong public against perceived mainland interference, the southern city's own government stands accused of undermining its autonomy by seeking Beijing's adjudication.

That was the case regarding a long-running legal question about children of Hong Kong permanent residents from mainland China, which like the foreign maids case had created anxiety over the potential strain on the city.


Related Links
Global Trade News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Outside View: TPP and Asian economies
Washington (UPI) Mar 22, 2013
Joining what is likely to be the world's biggest trade deal can be a mixed blessing. Advocates insist that joining the Trans Pacific Partnership could boost exports, create jobs and jump-start economic growth. Naysayers argue that the less competitive industrial sectors may flail and even go bust as they face foreign competition. But for Japan - and for its northeast Asian neig ... read more

Chinese leader Xi, Putin agree key energy deals

India is fourth largest energy consumer

'Earth Hour' evolves into springboard for wider action

The household carbon emission per capita in Northwestern China is only 2.05 tons CO2 per year

Greenhouse gas emissions of cars could drop 80 percent by 2050

Signalhorn Expands in Oman for Oil and Gas Customer

NRL Nike Laser Focuses on Nuclear Fusion

China's Sinopec says net profit down 12.8% for 2012

France publishes 1GW offshore wind tenders

Davey lauds, warns Scotland on renewables

Uruguay deal boosts S. America wind power

Huge wind farm turbine snaps in Japan

Arnall Golden Gregory Assists With Two Cutting-Edge Solar Energy Projects

Trina Solar Announces Slimline Module Frames

ToyLabs launches the first solar motorcar powered by a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar cell

Solar energy at the BEC schools in Mauritius

Temelin, a Czech village overshadowed by disputed nuclear plant

British bad weather kills one, closes nuclear site

Cooling systems restored at Fukushima reactors: TEPCO

Rat linked to outage at Fukushima atomic plant

Microalgae could be a profitable source of biodiesel

Researchers building stronger, greener concrete with biofuel byproducts

Biobatteries catch breath

Biodiesel algae: Starvation diets damage health

Shenzhou 10 - Next Stop: Jiuquan

China's fourth space launch center to be in use in two years

China to launch new manned spacecraft

Woman expected again to join next China crew roster

Earth's Interior Cycles a Contributor to Long-Term Sea-Level and Climate Change

Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance

Guiding responsible research in geoengineering

Middle East faces alarming water loss

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement