Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

No residency for domestic helpers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am

The issue of whether foreign domestic helpers should be granted permanent residency has been in the news lately.

I think they should definitely not receive permanent residency status, although they have contributed a lot to our society.

If they receive permanent residency, their families, too, will be entitled to move to Hong Kong. That would place a further strain on our welfare system.

There are many social problems in Hong Kong already, including a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The government should tackle such problems first.

In addition, once foreign domestic helpers enjoy the same rights as local residents, they might quit their jobs or even go on welfare.

I believe the current system regarding foreign helpers works well and it does not need to be changed.

Winnie Yuen Wing-sum, Pooi To Middle School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Winnie. The issue of whether or not to give domestic helpers permanent residency is indeed a thorny one.

You have defended your position well, so allow me to pick up the challenge you have thrown down so formidably and ask the following question: Is it not racist to allow anyone else who works here to gain permanent residency after seven years, but withhold that privilege from domestic employees?

We all know that Hong Kong's population is ageing, and soon we will need young people to bolster our tax base. Further, domestic workers' children could conceivably join them here and boost the number of students at local schools at a time when such numbers are falling and classes are being reduced.

It is also awful to think of a mother being separated for so long from her children, who cannot join her here. Imagine if you only saw your mother for a week or two each year.

This is a very timely and interesting topic. Let's see what other readers have to say.

Susan, Editor