Monthly Archives: November 2011

More on Filipino Migrant Workers – Part 3: Follow-up on the Domestic Helper Cases

First off — congratulations to all those who have successfully completed the first few heads of the OLQE (and especially if it was the only exam(s) you needed to take).  That’s a great load off.  And to those still waiting on more exams, continued godspeed to you!

I had become rather fascinated by the Filipino migrant workers in prior posts, namely here and here.   It’s actually a rather deep matter, and one can probably teach a rather interesting law school course on it (Note – must suggest it to a friend of mine who teaches).  But there was some follow-up on 2 of the 3 domestic helper cases raised in Hong Kong’s court of first instance this Fall.

Vallejos Evangeline Banao and Commissioner of Registration, HCAL124/2010 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance was handed down in late September, ruling that Ms. Vallejo’s arguments indeed had merit — that the denial of her permanent residency was a violation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law!

I was pleasantly surprised, not expecting the courts to do the “right thing” under the pressure of the increasingly reddening government, but obviously, the Government plans to appeal and worse, some politicians have sought an interpretation from Beijing (which apparently has worked before — in 1999, after the Court of Final Appeal decided mainlanders did not need special permission from the PRC to become PRs in HK, Beijing reversed!).

However, in the 2nd of what are 3 domestic workers’ residency cases, Josephine Guttierrez and her son were denied residency, on the grounds that they did not have sufficient proof of seven years’ continuous stay as required by the Immigration Department. 

So we can only see what lies ahead – but as it stands today, Ms. Vallejo and others similarly situated can become permanent residents just as any of the bankers/accountants/lawyers that come and stay in Hong Kong continuously for seven years and considering it home can.  I’ve seen a lot of negative reaction to these cases, but ultimately, this is the Basic Law of Hong Kong — it can certainly be legislated to become more restrictive some day, but no matter what law it is, it should be applied equally!