- Philippine Azkals Beat Hong Kong 1 – 0 in International Friendly
- Hong Kong OFW Shares OEC Ordeal in Manila
- Pinoys in HK Seeking Jobs in Canada File Complaints Against Pacific Management
- Philippine Flag Day at Site Where First PHL Flag Was Sewn
- 157 HK-based OFWs Pass Teacher Licensure Exams
- Despite Complainant’s Retraction, POEA Cancels License Of Erring Recruiter Deploying HSWs To Hong Kong
- HK Foreign Domestic Workers to Demand $4,500 Wage
- Pinoy Tourists in HK Deny Using Fake Credit Cards
- All Pro Staffing, ABC Manpower Agency Lose License Over Excessive Fees
- Elderly Pinoy Couple in HK Gets Probation for Theft
Court of Final Appeal to Begin HK Domestic Helper Abode Hearing
An issue that has been in and out of the courts since 1999, with far-reaching implications for hundreds of thousands of city residents, may be entering the final lap of its judicial go-round today.
The Court of Final Appeal is due to begin hearing a challenge to the right of abode law, to determine whether foreign domestic helpers have the right to apply for permanent residency. The appeal may also reopen the case of whether children born locally to mainlanders have the right of abode they enjoy now.
The government has asked the top court to seek a clarification from Beijing of the national government’s 1999 interpretation of the permanent residency law. It remains to be seen whether the court will accept that request – widely seen as a challenge to the city’s rule of law.
Today’s appeal stems from a challenge by Filipino domestic helper Evangeline Banao Vallejos, who has worked in Hong Kong since 1986. Claiming the immigration law was unconstitutional for not recognising domestic helpers as “ordinarily residing” in Hong Kong during their stay here, she won an initial judicial review in September 2011.
But the Court of Appeal overturned that decision in March last year, leading to today’s case.
If the government’s request for referral is allowed, it might have implications for children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents, because the 1999 interpretation includes comments on the status of both domestic helpers and such children. The 1999 ruling said the legislative intent of the Basic Law on permanent residency was “reflected” in the opinions of the Preparatory Committee of the HKSAR in 1996. That committee said Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong were permanent residents if a parent was lawfully living in Hong Kong when the child was born.
But in 2001, Hong Kong’s top court ruled that the committee’s opinions were not binding on it. The court decided that children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents had right of abode whether or not the parents were lawful residents.
Many observers have questioned whether referring the case to Beijing will weaken Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
Continue reading at South China Morning Post