Immigration Department in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino domestic worker who overstayed in Hong Kong for 19 years is set to return home to the Philippines.

The domestic worker identified as M.L., 45, went to Hong Kong in 1997 to help support her siblings’ education. After two years, M.L. worked for a new employer who terminated her contract just after three months, sunwebhk.com reported.

M.L. decided to move to a boarding house while she looked for a new employer. However, her passport and money got stolen when she went out one day. She said when she returned home, she could not find her passport and money.

Her roommates at the boarding house told her to just stay in Hong Kong illegally as she needed to work for her family. M.L. decided to stay and took on several jobs just so she could send money to her family in the Philippines.

In 2001, M.L. met a Chinese couple that hired her as a part-time domestic helper. The couple was impressed by her work and decided to hire her full-time despite her staying in Hong Kong illegally.

Through the years, M.L. was able to send money to her family and her siblings were able to finish their education. However, she suffered a long-term sickness due to not being able to consult a doctor as she was staying in Hong Kong illegally.

A fellow Filipina helped her to see a doctor and advised her to surrender to the Philippine Consulate so that she can return home without any heavy sanctions.

M.L. presented herself to Immigration officials early this year and is now in jail. She will be deported back to the Philippines in December, after 19 years of overstaying.

M.L said Filipinos should not resort to staying in Hong Kong illegally as there are ways they can be allowed to stay without having to break the law.

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