Foreign workers (inset) and Hong Kong's High Court. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Wpcpey, Asia Times

The High Court began hearing a judicial review on Tuesday filed by a Filipino domestic worker against the ‘live-in’ requirement for maids, alleging that it is unconstitutional.

The judicial review was filed by domestic worker Lubiano Nancy Almorin, Apple Daily reported. It said her lawyer Paul Shieh argued that the stipulation violates both the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Almorin did not show up in the court on Tuesday.

The live-in rule was introduced in 2003 and implemented through standard employment contracts and pledges when workers applied for visas.

But Shieh said the Director of Immigration does not have the power to restrict where foreign domestic helpers can live.

He said the legal challenge was aimed at giving helpers a choice on where they can live, and did not seek to force all helpers to move out of their employers’ homes, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

Shieh quoted a survey conducted by Justice Centre on 1,003 domestic workers which found that maids in Hong Kong work more than 70 hours on average per week – and that one in three don’t have a weekly 24-hour rest day as required by law, Sing Pao reported.

The case is scheduled to last two days.

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