Filipino domestic staff lose their court battle for Hong Kong residency


Clifford Coonan
Monday 25 March 2013 19:31

A court in Hong Kong has ruled that two Filipino domestic workers have no right to permanent residency, despite having lived there for seven years. Professionals resident for that long would be allowed to stay permanently.

Evangeline Banao Vallejos and Daniel Domingo launched their legal fight two years ago, arguing that an immigration provision barring domestic workers from permanent residency was unconstitutional.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled unanimously that tight restrictions on nearly 300,000 overseas helpers mean they do not have the same status as other foreign residents. “The 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,” the judgment read.

Hong Kong is home to tens of thousands of expatriates working in banking, accounting and teaching. After seven years’ residency, employees invariably become permanent residents, giving them access to public housing, unemployment benefits and priority in public education.

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