09/30/2011, 00.00
HONG KONG
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Hong Kong High Court grants permanent residency to the Filipina maid

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. Government opposition, fears invasion of Filipinos and Indonesians. The protagonist of the cause thanks God
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Hong Kong High Court has issued a ruling that allows a Filipino domestic workers the right to permanent residency in the Territory (close to citizenship). The ruling is of historical significance for the former British colony, where nearly 300 thousand domestic workers are of non-Chinese origin. According to the judges, the legislature forbidding them to ask for proof of residence "is contrary to the Basic Law [the small Constitution bequeathed by the British and Chinese, in force until 2050]."

The case concerns Evangeline Bana Vallejos, who has lived on the island since 1986. According to the immigration laws currently in force, all foreigners residing in the territory for seven consecutive years, may request the certificate of permanent residents. But this is not possible for maids who work in Hong Kong, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia. For Judge Johnson Lam, however, "according to the interpretation of the law, this law conflicts with our Basic Law. The mere maintenance of [a] link with her country of origin is not enough to deny residency "

Vallejos's lawyer Mark Daly called the ruling "a victory for good and just rule of law. We talked with our client who is working and could not come here. She thanked God and all those who helped, including her employer and her lawyers. " According to human rights activists, it is a victory "for the equality of all workers."

The pro-China government is somewhat less enthusiastic and now fears an avalanche of requests from foreigners. According to a coalition party this ruling will open the doors to 500 thousand people, including spouses and children of workers, and this will increase spending on the welfare system to 25 billion Hong Kong dollars (about 2.5 billion) of. In addition, the unemployment rate "could go from 3.5 to 10%."
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