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Hong Kong: Groups call for an End to Ban on Workers Living Outside Employers' Homes

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by IDWFED published Jul 26, 2013 12:00 AM
Several Hong Kong groups organized a press conference yesterday on 25 July 2013 to call for an end to ban migrant domestic workers living outside employers' homes. Hong Kong has 300,000 migrant domestic workers from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc. Since 2003, Hong Kong government has imposed a regulation that migrant domestic workers must reside in employers' homes. Both employers and workers have no choice on this.

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HONG KONG -

Several Hong Kong groups organized a press conference yesterday on 25 July 2013 to call for an end to ban migrant domestic workers living outside employers' homes. Hong Kong has 300,000 migrant domestic workers from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc. Since 2003, Hong Kong government has imposed a regulation that migrant domestic workers must reside in employers' homes. Both employers and workers have no choice on this.

Below is the groups' statement:

Statement of Hong Kong Organizations and Individuals

to Request an End to Ban on Workers Living Outside Employers' Homes

TVB recently reported that Immigration raided the village of Nim Shue Wan in Discovery Bay, checking the documents of the domestic workers living there and arresting six Filipina domestic workers. (入境處拘捕六名外傭 涉違法作虛假陳述 | TVB News

We strongly believe that banning live-out helps no one in Hong Kong at all. Migrant domestic worker organizations such as Mission for Migrant Workers have given strong evidence that the live-in rule contributes to regular, systematic abuses faced by workers each year.

Furthermore, arresting workers who do live out is deeply unjust and cruel. The employers who allow them to live out are giving them the chance to live like adults with their own private space and time, as well as preserving private family time for the employer, and the government should enable this to be a legal option as much as possible instead of threatening and punishing them.  It is widely known that employers choose migrant domestic workers because they can do full-time work for a fixed monthly wage, not because they are live-in.

The migrant domestic workers are an important and valuable part of our society and it is a deep shame to Hong Kong as an international city at this time to continue making it a crime to let workers live apart from their employers.

Therefore we strongly request to the Hong Kong government:

1) In order to ensure that the rights of the workers arrested are protected we wish to be informed whether anyone is assisting them or providing them legal advice. If no one is assisting them, they should be allowed to contact us or any of the organisations that provide assistance to domestic workers. Those whose only violation is living outside the home of their employers should be allowed to continue working and their employers must be required to provide them suitable accommodation as stipulated in their employment contract.

2) The policy of banning live out must be reversed, and the option of live-out with employer paying for housing must be allowed right away. This will be a start in enhancing the domestic workers’ privacy, their self-education, their intermingling in society, and their rest and satisfaction with work and life in Hong Kong. This would be a small but necessary start in implementing improved women worker safety, gender equality and dignified work for migrant women workers in Hong Kong.

3) Take concrete measures to ensure that live-in migrant workers are given proper accommodation – beginning with a clearer definition of ‘proper’ accommodation and means of enforcement.

More information:

In English:

  1. Maids' group in for living out | The Standard
  2. Relax rule on maids' housing, say unions | SCMP
  3. News Clippings
In Chinese/Cantonese:
  1. 團體冀外傭可外宿 政府指住家乃政策基石 | TVB News
  2. 外傭團體籲放寬外宿限制 | HK Headline
  3. 團體促放寬外傭強制留宿 | Sing Tao
  4. 團體促放寬 外傭強制留宿 | RTHK Radio

Source: IDWN

Story Type: News

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