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BeattieReports on Hong Kong Foreign Domestic Workers


Q&A Villanueva & Beattie / Hong Kong Foreign Domestic Workers / Hong Kong's highest court today (Monday) unanimously overturned a lower court ruling granting foreign domestic helpers the right to seek permanent residency status, or "right of abode" in the Chinese territory. The ruling brings a long legal battle to an end. The Court of Final Appeal ruled 5-0 that "the nature of foreign domestic helpers' residence in Hong Kong is highly restrictive" and they are obliged to return to their country of origin at the end of their contract and "admission is not for the purposes of settlement and that dependents cannot be brought to reside in Hong Kong." The case for permanent residency was brought by two Filipino domestic workers (Evangeline Banao Vallejos and Daniel Domingo), who had petitioned for permanent residency and had worked in the financial hub since the mid-1980s. These workers claim they face discrimination and lack legal protection from abusive employers. Eman Villanueva (vee-ah-noo-aye-vuh), secretary-general of United Filipinos in Hong Kong, was in the courtroom to hear the verdict. He tells VOA's Victor Beattie the years-long case impacts hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in the Chinese territory.

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