Pakistanis are marginalised, study finds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong's more than 11,000 Pakistanis are being marginalised by language difficulties and discrimination when they try to find jobs, homes or schools, according to a study released yesterday.

The survey of 200 Pakistanis found 81 per cent regarded employment as their most serious problem, followed by housing (68.5 per cent) and children's education (55.6 per cent).

The research was conducted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's centre for social policy studies and SKH Lady MacLehose Centre.

Jonathan Chan Ching-wa, service co-ordinator of the SKH centre in Kwai Chung, said the Pakistanis felt marginalised because many were born in Hong Kong but were not Chinese.

'As the research found, just 39 per cent are fluent in English. Unlike Indonesians, Filipinos or Thais who can speak English as required in their jobs as housemaids, the Pakistanis have difficulty in communicating,' he said.

And just 30 per cent of the Pakistanis can speak Cantonese.

Noreen Khanzada, a former teacher in Pakistan, said her husband, who was a military pilot back home, could only find work as a part-time interpreter in Hong Kong despite being a permanent resident. She said she was concerned about her children's future after learning that no Pakistani at their school had progressed beyond Secondary 5.