As overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) continue to leave the country to seek better opportunities abroad, this sometimes end up with them having their own family in their host nation.
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And while this is a perfectly normal immigration trend, existing immigration laws in the country still have the last say as to who can and who are not allowed to stay in the country, regardless of the situation they are in – whether they are living with their children in the country, currently employed, or otherwise.
Top Court Denies Filipino Moms’ Right to Stay in HK
In line with this, two Filipino women who had come to Hong Kong to work as domestic helpers have been denied the right to stay in the city after they lost their case in the Court of Final Appeal, as shared in a report by Asia Times.
The two Filipina domestic helpers – Milagros Tecson Comilang and Desiree Rante Luis, both gave birth to their children at the time of their employment in the country, and had requested to extend their stay in the city to take care of their children who were both given Hong Kong IDs after their mothers’ employment contracts expired.
After they have been rejected by the Immigration Department, they filed a lawsuit and claimed that the department has violated the human rights law. Comilang has been fighting for her right to stay in the country since 2007, while Luis began her fight in 2012.
Because both were denied by the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal, they took their cases to the Court of Final Appeal.
Their point of contention on whether the Immigration Director was obliged by law to take into account the rights of the children when deciding whether their parents with no right of abode should be allowed to remain in Hong Kong was raised.
On Thursday (April 4), however, the Court of Final Appeal issued a ruling that the Immigration Department had the power to regulate immigration and expel those who do not hold legal right to stay in the city even if their children are considered permanent residents.
What this decision means does not only affect the two Filipinas involved, but potentially thousands of children born in Hong Kong to parents who are mostly foreign domestic workers, or those who have overstayed their visas but are allowed to remain either to pursue an asylum application or for other reasons.