'Southeast Asian workers enjoying their day off playing bingo, in Hong Kong', on Flickr
A landmark labor suit, filed by a Filipina domestic helper seeking permanent residency in Hong Kong, has struck at the core of the territory's often fraught relationship with its guest workers, and raised fundamental questions about its judicial independence from Beijing. ( Lam Thuy Vo and Isabella Steger, Wall Street Journal)
Evangeline Banao Vallejos has worked in Hong Kong since 1986, most of that time for the same family. If she were any other foreign worker, such as a banker, lawyer or teacher, she would automatically win the right to permanent residency after seven years. But a separate ordinance in the law states that domestic helpers are excluded from this right. She filed for residency in 2008, and is challenging the law in court.
Human-rights advocates say a ruling in favor of Ms. Vallejos would represent a significant step toward dismantling the system that treats domestic workers as second-tier residents.
"Basically, the work that domestic helpers are doing—looking after the children, looking after the elderly, doing the cooking and cleaning, allowing the Hong Kong people to be able to work full-time—is a very significant contribution to Hong Kong's economy," said Danilo Brolado, a pastor at the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship.
Hong Kong Foreign Labor Law Challenged
(Wall Street Journal)
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