Judge quashes foreign domestic worker’s bid for change to ‘live-in’ rule in HK

15-Feb-2018 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A domestic helper on Wednesday lost Hong Kong’s first judicial review of the government requirement that she and 350,000 workers like her must live with their employers.

Nancy Almorin Lubiano, from the Philippines, had asked the High Court to declare the city’s mandatory live-in rule unconstitutional as her lawyers argued for an optional live-out arrangement for domestic helpers.

The live-in rule was introduced in 2003. Previously, the city had a more liberal regime allowing domestic workers to arrange to stay on their own, as long as their employers and the authorities agreed. In 2002, there were about 100 such cases among the 200,000 domestic helpers in the city.

Lubiano’s lawyers claimed that the director of immigration had abused his power to introduce a policy that had no rational connection with its aim of protecting the local workforce but would heighten the risk of breaching the rights of foreign domestic helpers.

Helper claiming work led to schizophrenia challenges Hong Kong policy requiring maids live with employers

Her lawyer Mark Daly had previously said this was not an anti-employer application and that both employers and foreign domestic helpers would benefit from a live-out rule.

The director of immigration however countered that lifting the rule would have an impact on the city’s local workforce and transport and housing situation, and leave employers with more bills to pay.

Live-in rule forces domestic workers to be on call 24 hours a day, court hears

Workers who disobey the rule face administrative sanctions in future applications for a visa or employment, and criminal prosecution over charges such as furnishing false information, which is punishable by a HK$150,000 fine and 14 years’ imprisonment.



Category: Hong Kong

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