The residents are breathing a lot easier. The pesky "cockroaches" have been dealt a major setback in the Hong Kong courts:
A three-member panel of High Court judges overturned a September lower court ruling that would have allowed a Filipino maid to apply to settle permanently in the southern Chinese city after living here at least seven years, as other foreign residents can.
They unanimously rejected arguments by the maid's lawyers that an immigration provision barring domestic workers from permanent residency was unconstitutional. Lawyers for the maid said they would take the case to Hong Kong's top court.
The case has split the city, home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly Southeast Asian countries. Some argue that barring maids from applying for residency amounts to ethnic discrimination. But other groups have raised fears that the case would result in a massive influx of maids' family members arriving in Hong Kong, straining the densely populated city's social services and health and education systems. Supporters of the maids say those fears are overblown.
Now , I have a special place in my heart for the Filipino maids-and I had hoped they would win this case. Having, over the course of the last 11 years met several of them-and that's all I will expound about that- I do know that the life they lead is not an easy one. They, on average, get one day a week off-are paid an inferior wage-and in the case of some of the more xenophobic of Hong Kong's Chinese residents, treated worse than they would treat their pets. Based on the wording of the Basic Law, they had a case. Not that it mattered to the Chinese-who, if they really did not want hordes of Filipinas in the SAR- would learn to do without their services.
Of course, if they did-it would make Sunday afternoons in Wanchai pretty boring. 😉
What I do find interesting-is the fact that the government of the Philippines has not loudly protested the ruling. Probably since the fact that 300,000 women are having to work away from the homeland is a national disgrace to the Philippines.
But it would not be the first time a court has made a political decision in spite of what the law says.
On the to the Court of Final Appeal!