Domestic workers relax in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. Photo: HK Government
Domestic workers relax in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. Photo: HK Government

Employers of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong are planning to organize a petition and a demonstration to oppose the lifting of the “live-in” rule for maids.

Joan Tsui, convenor of the Support Group for HK Employers with Foreign Domestic Helpers, said most employers worried that workers would become lazy or could not perform well if they live separately, Headline Daily reported.

Working parents who greatly depend on maids to take care of their children in the morning worried the most if the maid would be late for work, she said.

Some employers also worried that their workers would want to do another part-time job illegally after work.

Tsui believed that if the “live-in” requirement was cancelled, domestic workers who live out for a long period of time in Hong Kong would have solid evidence for them to apply for permanent residency.

Tsui predicted that at least 100,000 of the 350,000 maids in the city would choose to live separately, and there was the risk of large-scale redundancies happening if the choices between employer and maid were different.

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

The Hong Kong High Court heard in October a judicial review filed by a Filipino domestic worker against the “live-in” rule, alleging that it forces the workers to be on call 24 hours a day and puts them in a risk of being abused.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said the ruling on the judicial review would have a great impact on society. He predicted that the side that loses the case will appeal, which means it may not be settled for two to three years.

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