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Equal rights for domestic migrant workers - Hong Kong

December 2013, 10
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Domestic migrant workers in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a well civilised country upto date with westernized countries such as the UK and the USA, it has an award winning healthcare system, fantastic education statistics, and second to none policing - yet why is there still not equality for migrant domestic workers? 

Currently there are some 300,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines. And nearly half of those will have lived and worked here for seven years or more. Migrant domestic workers by law have to live with their employers, have little to no rights and cannot except any other jobs. This means that they have no chance of promotion, little chance to better themselves or their standard of living and are basically servants working for a pittance. In this day an age, is this right? 

If an employer decided to fire his or her migrant domestic worker this gives the employee 14 days to find new employment, if this does not happen they must leave the country before the fortnight period is up to avoid legal action. Right now in Hong Kong domestic migrant workers are working each month for a salary of around £308, within a month period they receive four days off - one a week in which they may do as they please. Hong Kong authorities are proud of this and state how it is a much better deal than migrant domestic workers get in other countries such as India and Singapore. 

The plea of migrant domestic workers for better conditions and more equal rights is regularly in the media but what is unique is that now there is a Migrant Workers Agency which is a charity funded organization working to change Hong Kong laws on the issue of domestic workers. The idea is that they should be allowed to be live out employees, they should have the choice to renew their own visas and not have the decision left solely with their employer, the year is 2013 but this is all back in the dark ages in some peoples opinion. 

Citizens of Hong Kong agree with the policy and dispute that if rules were not as strict the country would soon become over run with migrant domestic workers who had no employment and thus would become a drain on public funds and society in general. Currently there is much mixed feelings about this and the law is set to change but people do not know yet what the exact changes are going to be. Currently to obtain a Migrant Domestic Visa there is more for a prospective employer to do than the migrant, the migrant must state that they are qualified for position if it is cooking, gardening etc and they must say how plan to stay in Hong Kong for the duration of your employment contract.

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