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Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Want Change

January 2014, 21
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Migrant Workers in Hong Kong

There has been much controversy in Hong Kong regarding the treatment of Migrant Domestic Workers in the country and their rights. A huge protest, of thousands of migrant workers took to the streets over the last weekend, sparked by the news of a Migrant Domestic Worker whom had been brutally attacked by her employers. The woman had stuck it out for eight months due to what would happen to her if she left, under the rules in place at present she would have only 2 weeks to find a new job or be deported, if you leave an employer under bad terms you are highly unlikely to be employed again and with the thousands of prospective employees it is a competitive field.

A woman, named Teresita Blanco has worked in Hong Kong for over sixteen years as a Domestic Worker, she is happy with her position and says that her employers treat her well. But she is still protesting for more rights as she knows that if her employers no longer need her she faces a stressful two weeks fighting for a new position or she will be deported and her 16 years work in the country will stand for nothing.

Higher skilled positions such as lawyers, teachers of bankers can apply for permanent residency after seven years in Hong Kong but Domestic Workers do not have this right, no matter how many years they have been living and working in the country, many believe that this is wrong.

The case in the media currently is being dealt with through the Hong Kong courts and this could result in a change to the rights that Domestic Migrant Workers are given with the hope that they too could be granted permanent residency after a period of time.

Currently there are over 292,000 Migrant Domestic workers in Hong Kong with many of them being from the Philippines and Indonesia. Though they have little rights here they believe they are still better off than in their native countries. They have a minimum wage of around £300 per month which is guaranteed, they also have holiday pay and annual leave as well as one day off a week which is far more than they could expect elsewhere around Asia.

Domestic Migrant Workers live in their employers home, meaning their fate is very much out of their hands. Many are unable to marry, have children or live freely and this has been called a modern day slavery in the worlds media. It is 2014, and time for change.

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