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Migrant domestic worker’s victory in residency case in Hong Kong monumental for migrant workers’ rights movement

30 September 2011 – Law banning migrant domestic workers from settling permanently in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China was ruled unconstitutional by Hong Kong’s High Court.

Evangeline Banao Vallejos, a Filipina domestic worker living in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China since  1986 challenged the rejection of her application for permanent residency, questioning why expatriate bankers and cooks can apply for permanent residency after living in the city for seven consecutive years. The Court of First Instance through presiding judge Johnson Lam ruled in favor of Vallejos.

“This is monumental, especially because the decision comes out months after the adoption of ILO Convention 189 that recognizes the rights of domestic workers. [The decision] is something to celebrate,” said William Gois, Regional Coordinator of Migrant Forum in Asia, in an interview with Al Jazeera today.

Asked whether the decision can lead to a sudden influx of migrant workers, Mr. Gois stated that this is unlikely, citing similar concern over European Union expansion where streams of workers from developing regions in Europe are feared to take place; but that has not happened. “At the end of the day, migrant workers are only looking for decent work and that they ultimately want to come home to their families.”

For more information and background on the case, please see the news links below:

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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