Domestic helpers in Hong Kong who are mired in loan debts can now breathe a sigh of relief as the city’s Immigration Department made a clarification on its stance on the so-called ‘blacklist’.
“The Immigration Department clarified that they have never accepted nor considered submissions from agencies names of workers for the so-called ‘Blacklist’,” a statement from NGO Enrich said.
“It became clear that these harassment tactics widely deployed by ill-intentioned companies are threatening vulnerable workers in the name of the Immigration Department and misusing the government’s authority to continuously extort money from the migrants,” it continued.
The release of the statement comes after a meeting at the Domestic Worker Roundtable led by former Legislative Council member Emily Lau with officers from the Immigration Department to discuss issues foreign domestic workers face during their stay in Hong Kong.
Enrich sought clarification from officials regarding migrant workers’ concerns about being blacklisted at the Immigration Department if they struggle with debts.
Cases observed by Enrich involved migrant domestic workers getting threats from debt collectors and pressured by finance companies to take out loans excessive interest rates to pay off placement fees, their failure to repay their loans would result in the alleged reporting to the authorities and blacklisted for future potential employments.
“The group together with the Immigration Department agreed to work together to spread the word and increase awareness among the wider migrant domestic worker community,” the statement concluded.