End of the road for Filipino Hong Kong residency hopefuls

Looks like one of the last big frontiers of the Filipino migrant has pretty much shut its doors to a big chunk of Filipino humankind. Reportedly ruling that Filipino domestic workers are not “ordinarily residents” in the territory and that they temporarily reside there under contracts that tie them to “finite stints of temporary employment,” Hong Kong’s highest court has put an end to the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos seeking the Hong Kong Dream.

According to Eman Villanueva, head of the Filipino community group in Hong Kong, United Filipinos, the ruling marked a “sad day”. According to Villanueva, the ruling gave “a judicial seal to unfair treatment and the social exclusion of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.” He also reportedly described the ruling as “very unfair and discriminatory.”

Typical Sunday in Hong Kong: Filipino OFWs congregate at the HSBC Bldg at the Central District.

Typical Sunday in Hong Kong: Filipino OFWs congregate at the HSBC Bldg at the Central District.

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But what exactly is “unfair” about all this? The ruling of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong stated thus…

“The nature of foreign domestic helpers’ residence in Hong Kong is highly restrictive,” the judgment stated. “The foreign domestic helper is obliged to return to the country of origin at the end of the contract and is told from the outset that admission is not for the purposes of settlement.”

If indeed it is true that all those limitations were stipulated in employment contracts signed by every Filipino maid Hong Kong, then what is there to argue further?

None of the arguments put forth by spokespeople of the Filipino community in Hong Kong addresses this rather simple fact. Most if not all of them merely appeal to emotion. Adding to the allegations of “social exclusion”, “unfairness”, and “discriminatory treatment” on the part of the Hong Kong government cited by Villanueva, Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, says the decision “pushes foreign domestic workers further to the margins of this society.”

“The NCS binds us in a condition of degradation. Coupled with the mandatory live in arrangement, our exploitative condition is further magnified. The court’s decision not only allowed for exclusion and discrimination to perpetuate, but also exposed the slave situation of FDWs. We are not ordinarily residing in Hong Kong precisely because we are made as a disposable subclass of workers,” Lestari stressed.

Indeed, the policy perhaps does need to be changed. But until that happens, nothing stops droves of Filipinos from signing up for the chance to earn Hong Kong dollars despite the prospect of being subject to this “unfair” and “discriminatory” policy.

For that matter, Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) have been known to prefer to suffer life even in war-torn countries rather than be repatriated to the “safety” of their homeland. This illustrates the fundamental issue that is really at work here — the thing about their homeland, the “Philippines” that motivates, no, pushes millions of Filipinos to subject themselves to the judicial whims of foreign employers and foreign governments.

As the old wisdom in that seminal Bisolvon commercial dictates:

You need to go to the source of the problem if you want to implement real and sustainable solutions.

The phlegm of the matter in this case is the whole issue around what makes the Philippines so inhospitable to decent human life as to perpetually see millions of its citizens scurrying for jobs in even the most appalling of places.

Perhaps the depth of reflection our “activists” need to engage in simply remains beyond the reach of their simple minds. It’s time we address the issue of OFWism at its root causes.

Then you stop coughing.

[Photo courtesy SoloFlightEd.com.]

25 Replies to “End of the road for Filipino Hong Kong residency hopefuls”

  1. People from many countries do contracted work in foreign lands. Most do that because of lucrative pay situations and /or the opportunity to travel. They usually don’t expect that it means they will be entitled to permanent residency in the country where they work. This is another situation of the filipino bemoaning that they aren’t treated equally when in fact what they want is to be treated unequally. If you don’t like it …don’t go in the first place.

  2. the main problem is the lack of real intent of our government to move forward. instead of using taxes as fuel for our economy they insist on giving it away through pork barrel which only ends up making the senators and congressmen rich. we need to lead our country. us, the ones who understands what it is needed to be done.

  3. Filipinos oppressed by Hong Kong? Nope, not for me. Filipinos are getting oppressed in their own home country, whether by themselves or each other, so they have to look elsewhere in the world for a better life. Just look at that email about bad things in the Philippines being passed around ending with “where everyone wants to leave the country.”

  4. The Chinese simply don’t want the OFW Filipino slaves to overwhelm the population of Hong Kong or China…Ancient Rome had more slaves than Roman citizens. So, they revolted. Led by Spartacus. Slaves were finally defeated and were crucified, along the Apian Way…famous cemetery road in Rome…

    1. “Slaves”…Where are they rounding up these slaves? Has the PNP and AFP not intervened to stop these slavers? Where are the slave markets? Can I buy one?

    2. A similar case with SG, but SG likes foreigners so much at the cost of the gov’t image to the locals.

      This might be a good chance to observe which becomes better in the long run, the foreigner overrun SG or HK which maintains the status quo.

      1. if you would like a sneak peak at the future of SG just take a look at the UK. They imported 5-7 million immigrants….and they are fucked now! the
        immigrants want to institute ‘sharia’ law, basically governing themselves, collect welfare from the state and are driving wages down for middle-class Brits. Oh yes, the experiment has failed (multi-culturalism, that is) and now they can’t get rid of the immigrants. But hey, they asked for ’em. another example is the USA, but the Mexicans insist they did not cross the border, oh no, “The borders crossed” them (“us”).They do not seem to get the fact that they lost the Mexican-American War, but that is another story.

        1. I think you got it backwards. It should be if you like a sneak peak at the future of the UK, just take a look at SG. As a percentage of the population, SG has a much higher foreign workforce than the UK. 25% of it’s workforce are foreigners. Out of a population of 5.3 million, 1.3 million are foreign workers.

  5. I will stick my hand up and declare an interest – I am British and lived in Hong Kong for some years. In Hong Kong, unlike many other places, a housemaid (let’s avoid the patronising neologism “domestic helper”) gets a statutory minimum wage,statutory time off and well organised access to the Courts should she be abused in any way. This is NOT a bad deal.

    The right of abode was never on the cards, because Hong Kong is under constant and immense pressure to admit Chinese citizens to the right of abode.

  6. Two points I want to make:
    #1 Its a RIGHT of a country to NOT accept ‘domestic helpers’ as permanent residents. Its THEIR country right? Whatever reasons they have, accept it and move on. See, this is what irritates me the most, yes you invite someone to your house, you have that right to ask that person to leave when you need them to. No one’s a slave. No one got a gun held to their head and was told to go to HK. I assume they’re all adults. Why bitch about being treated unfairly and being discriminated against? That emo shit gets NOwhere. And Pinoys STILL haven’t learned that THAT kinda behavior is what makes people NOT want to deal with them
    #2 I blame the Philippine government for creating/fostering the conditions that MAKE Filipinos want to leave the Philippines and settle elsewhere.

  7. Two things come to mind:

    One, The Luneta hostage crisis didn’t help at all.

    Two, Sabah is a similar issue. Something drove them and continues to drive hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to leaving their country for “greener pastures”.

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Something is rotting in this country, that is driving everyone who has lived here away, and our OFW dependent system nurtures that.

    1. Agreed. The mis-handling of the Luneta hostage taking – by men who are running for re-election – had a huge impact in Hong Kong.

    2. You are absolutely correct. the corruption riddled gov’t. has stolen literally billions of peso’s/Dollars (since 1965), every single chance it gets, and if that money had been used properly the entire country could have been a Singapore or Japan.45 years later the money would have been paying HUGE dividends w/skilled workers, educated middle-class etc,etc…BUT NO!!!!
      What is it about the Filipino that inspires him/her to rob their fellow country-men/women and basically enslave them in a life of perpetual misery/poverty? it truly is a revolting realization that the entire wealth of a people was, and still is, being/been confiscated by the few, and had it not been so the country could have been world class country a la Japan.

  8. binay shows his usual incompetence by saying the hk ruling is unconstitutional as enshrined in US conventions.
    the US may rule the philippines but not hong kong.
    the country is so desperate for ofw remittances it would prefer filipinos to live abroad permanently ratger than solve the unemployment here.
    binay must also be worrying about tge ofw vote in 2016.
    better not ti be the cuckoo in the nest of another country but actually want to live here. not many want to clearly.

  9. They should all just pack their suitcases and fuckin LEAVE!!! Thi appears to parallel the 3-5ths law that was law in the USA in the 1840’s slavery era.
    A totally disgraceful statement by the HK gov’t. and certainly a HUGE insult to Filipino’s, all Filipino’s, so much so that the leader fo the country should immediately order all ‘domestic’workers in HK that it is no longer tolerable to work in such a blatantly racist country, and if they do not come back, ban them from ever entering again and then the HK gov’t. will get to handle the situation they are dodging in the most despicable way possible, UGH!!!

    1. Don’t overestimate how much your OFW is needed. At the moment they are wanted because on balance they are value for money. Change that balance and you change the demand. HK would adjust in various ways, including bringing more labour from other parts of China. Some filipino really believe that demand for filipino nurse is because they are the best in the world….it’s not,,,,it’s because they are cheap and plentiful.

      1. of topic but Filipino Nurses? they are not educated enough to be Nurses in most, if not all USA and most of Europes hospitals/Dr.s offices and so end up as janitorial staff. The Nurses are truly exploited, everwhere!!! First they are given a ‘less than’ Nursing degree that does not prepare them for Nursing work abroad. Then they have to pay off the shitty student loan they took out to get the ‘less than’ shitty degree. Then they go abroad and find out they have a ‘less than’ shitty degree that is not suitable for employment as a Nurse and they end up supporting the family back home on ‘bed-pan’ duty wages. A truly shit situation that the institutions in the Philippines selling these useless ‘Nursing’ (LOL!) degrees know they are doing and yet still persist in their shitty despotic ways of charging high tuition for an education that does almost nothing but enslave the OFW ‘Nurse’ into a situation that is completely not of their doing (they really want to be Nurses in the West) and makes the country look bad(can it really look any worse?) as well.as for ‘domestics’, if they live there, as some have, for years and pay taxes, residency should be a non-issue and granted. If you live somewhere, by definition, you are a resident. if they do not want to grant residency, do not let them stay long enough to qualify for it….. and let the HK-ers clean up after themselves!

  10. As the article suggests (NICE article by the way); this is just another subject where Filipinos can scream and cry about how victimized they are. It is clearly a simple-minded reactive response to a situation beyond their control. Common sense dictates that a contract for employment (overseas or otherwise) is just that. Its a contract for employment NOT permanent residency! Deal with it! While you’re at it (and this is directed to the poor victimized OFWs worldwide), try asking your own government why can’t they provide gainful employment in the Philippines!

  11. Why is anyone even surprised?

    Because of the anti-foreign investment provisions in the Constitution, and the sh-tty business skills of the oligarchs who can’t cope with real competition, we don’t have the jobs here and we are reliant on foreigners to employ more than a quarter of our workforce.

    There’s something pathologically stupid for a country to be so anti-foreigner in its Constitution and yet be completely foreigner-dependent when it comes to employment.

    The article mentions root causes but fails to simply raise this: the root cause is the job-destroying protectionism enshrined in the Constitution.

    We have to fix this sh-tty Aquino-produced Constitution.

  12. I’m over the sense of “victimization” ingrained in Filipino society. Anyone (Filipino or otherwise) opting to work abroad should be aware of the realities of that country’s labor laws in proportion to the visa issued. For example, Singapore has various visa classes dependent on the pay grade. Secondly, once these temporary domestic helpers receive PR and lose their contract, they are not highly skilled enough to contribute greatly to the economic fabric. Sure, we can argue they handle the children allowing parents to spend longer hours in the office and thereby contributing to HK’s economy. However, that is simplistic an argument. Given their lack of transferable skills beyond the confines of the household, they would probably end up on welfare thereby draining the economy. So people should get over the “unfair, unjust, exploitative, etc.” semantics. No one threatened them to move to Hong Kong. Stories abound for decades regarding the realities of working in Hong Kong and it was their choice to still take it on. So shut up and move on.

  13. OFWs are not heroes. They are victims of protectionist economy controlled by the yellow oligarchs. Our economy must be liberalized so that more investments will come in our country by removing the 60-40 provision. If that will happen, then the OFWs will return and work in our country for good. Anyway, foreign investors will pay taxes to our government.

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