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Changes to Hong Kongs welfare system

January 2014, 23
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Hong Kongs welfare system
Hong Kong's highest court, The Court of Final Appeal, gave a very disfavoured judgement only two weeks ago that the current seven year residency requirements for a welfare application is unlawful. Welfare in Hong Kong was formally known as Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). The benefit allows the receiver to have around  HK$3,000 to live on per month. This sum is the bare minimum an unemployed person or unemployable person can live on. Social advocacy groups welcomed this decision as a major achievement. In welfare rights, not just for unemployed and unemployable immigrants in the city but also the citizens of Hong Kong who can also find themselves without a job.

The rest of Hong Kong have not seen the decision the same way. Lowering the amount of time a person has to be in the country for before claiming welfare will mean a threat to the citizens of the city and there continuation in Hong Kong. The money that they earn and pay taxes on may be seen as being stolen by new people entering their city. As with everything there will always be differing opinions on matters, especially immigration. As soon as people see a negative in something positive for migrants, individuals will perceive it as a “threat” social studies and the world's media have shown us time and time again.

The initial lawsuit that made this ruling possible was; a mainland Chinese lady married a Hong Kong man, the day after she migrated to Hong Kong her husband died, not long after the public housing apartment he was living in before his death and so the property she was then  living in  alone, got repossessed by the housing authority of Hong Kong. At fifty six years old, the lady was now homeless as well as jobless and so she applied for CSSA, her application was refused as she had not been in the city for the required amount of time.

This is not uncommon, it has now come to light that every year thousands of men travel to mainland china for a bride, the husband can then apply for immigration papers and a one way permit. The Chinese mainland wife relies heavily on her Hong Kong husband until they either die or they get divorced. Widows and divorcees find it extremely difficult to find work, government assistance is usually their only form of income available. With the seven year requirement it is unachievable in some cases and  then these women are then left homeless as well as jobless. The ruling will help many who are stopped in their tracks due to the residency requirements.

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