hong kong split over historic maids residency case
Last Updated : GMT 04:32:38
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Hong Kong split over historic maids residency case

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Hong Kong split over historic maids residency case

Hong Kong - AFP

Every Sunday, the public spaces and walkways of Hong Kong are jammed with Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers using their one day off to gather with their friends and fellow countrywomen. The gleaming skyscrapers of the financial hub are a far cry from the often poor neighbourhoods they have come from. Now a landmark court ruling has given them a chance to apply for permanent residency -- but the decision, which has polarised opinions in the southern Chinese city, has also prompted different reactions among maids themselves. Newspapers are filled with opposing arguments and rival protests were held in the run-up to the case hearing. About 500 people held a protest on Sunday against the court ruling. For some maids, the ruling represents the hope of a better future. Lannie Hubag, 45, a Philippine domestic helper in Hong Kong since 1998, said she would consider applying for permanent residency. \"I would like to try because if I get it, my husband and two daughters in the Philippines can join me in Hong Kong and my daughters could get better education,\" said Hubag. \"We\'re happy with the court decision because it means the discrimination has been removed,\" she added. But costs and family ties are a deterrent for others. Speaking in her native Indonesian, Asriyatun, 34, said: \"I would like to go back\" without hesitation, after working for six years in Hong Kong. Foreigners can seek permanent residency in Hong Kong after seven years of uninterrupted stay, gaining rights to vote and to live in the city without a work visa. There are as many as 292,000 foreign maids in the city, but they were specifically excluded from being allowed to apply. In the first case of its kind in Asia, the city\'s High Court ruled on Friday that the provision was unconstitutional. Permanent residency would mean a domestic worker was no longer tied to a single employer, but could take any job and access benefits such as public housing. According to a pro-government political party there could be an influx of as many as 500,000 people -- including children and spouses of foreign maids -- costing HK$25 billion ($3.2 billion) in social welfare spending. Unemployment could jump from the current 3.5 percent to 10 percent, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong claimed. Following the ruling, currently about 117,000 foreign maids are entitled to apply for permanent residency in the densely populated city of seven million, where rents are sky-high and the income gap widening. \"I love Hong Kong, it\'s a great city and we are treated better here,\" said Asriyatun, wearing a black Islamic headscarf and chatting with a group of other Indonesian maids in Victoria Park, their regular meeting spot. \"But I have no plan to apply for permanent residency when I become eligible next year. I\'m here to work, I have a family in Indonesia, I want to go back.\" Others in her group agreed. A single mother, Asriyatun left East Java when her son was eight months old to become a domestic helper in Singapore, and later moved to Hong Kong. She works for a German banker\'s family and her contract will expire in 2013. She sees her son Shendy, now 14, once a year. \"I\'m here to work for a living and for my son\'s future so when he grows up, he doesn\'t have to go elsewhere to work and be separated from his child -- just like me,\" said Asriyatun. Dolores Balladares from Asian Migrants\' Coordinating Body, which represents 8,000 foreign maids in the city, said: \"It\'s only a main barrier that has been removed, it doesn\'t mean we get this right automatically. \"The standard of living is very expensive here, it\'s not easy. After working for many years in Hong Kong, many of the foreign domestic helpers just want to go back to reunite with their family,\" said Balladares, a university graduate who has been a maid for 17 years. Hong Kong is known as a better place for domestic helpers than many other parts of Asia. The city\'s foreign maids are guaranteed one day off a week, paid sick leave and a minimum wage of HK$3,740 ($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 and activists say this leaves her vulnerable. The government was disappointed with Friday\'s ruling and said it would appeal. It is planning to seek the court\'s permission to not process any foreign maids\' residency applications while the appeal is under way, and some lawmakers have called on Hong Kong to refer the issue to Beijing. \"We recognise the contribution of domestic workers and their role in our economy, they free up many local women to join the workforce,\" said businessman Jeff Lam, who opposed granting maids permanent residency. \"To give them permanent residency however is a separate story,\" said Lam, who himself has a Filipina domestic worker to help with house chores.  

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

hong kong split over historic maids residency case hong kong split over historic maids residency case

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

hong kong split over historic maids residency case hong kong split over historic maids residency case

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Prince's vision spurs new Cornwall village

GMT 03:12 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Prince's vision spurs new Cornwall village
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today Israel ready to cooperate with Saudi

GMT 06:31 2017 Friday ,17 November

Israel ready to cooperate with Saudi
Arab Today, arab today Airbnb raided by Japan

GMT 01:55 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Airbnb raided by Japan
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck

GMT 02:59 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck
Arab Today, arab today Baidu speeds up AI progress

GMT 11:46 2017 Friday ,17 November

Baidu speeds up AI progress
Arab Today, arab today Ayten Amer happy for “The Flood” success

GMT 08:06 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Ayten Amer happy for “The Flood” success
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 08:21 2017 Tuesday ,14 November

Nelly Karim focuses on humanitarian roles

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 06:13 2017 Friday ,17 November

Pope denounces healthcare inequality

GMT 05:18 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Boeing announces $27bn from flydubai

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday