Domestic helper is happier back home, says employer

Maid who lost right-of-abode battle will enjoy better life in Philippines, says her former boss

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 5:57am

One of the two domestic helpers at the centre of this week's right-of-abode case will be happier living in the Philippines than in Hong Kong, her former boss said.

Barry Ong said Evangeline Vallejos, 60, had returned to the Philippines in October, even though her contract expired only next month.

"The [cost of] living here is so high. I am sure she will be happier than you or me while living in the Philippines," Ong told the South China Morning Post yesterday. He was speaking two days after the Court of Final Appeal ruled that foreign domestic helpers do not have the right to apply for permanent residency and affirmed the government's right to impose immigration controls.

The [cost of] living here is so high. I am sure she will be happier than you or me while living in the Philippines

Ong, an artist, said Vallejos - who moved to Hong Kong in 1986 and challenged the city's immigration policy in a two-year legal battle - always knew she had little chance of winning right of abode.

"Vangie was never looking on the bright side of this case … that's why she went back to the Philippines. She knew it would not be easy [to win]," he said.

Vallejos' lawyer, Mark Daly, said on Monday that Vallejos, who received legal aid to fund the two-year lawsuit, had been left "speechless" but was "calmly resigned" after the ruling.

Vallejos is now living in a large house with a big plot of land and gets financial help from her seven children, all of whom have completed university degrees. One is a doctor, while another is an architect, according to her lawyer. She has 11 grandchildren.

In September 2011, the Court of First Instance ruled in favour of Vallejos and said the immigration law that prevented domestic helpers from seeking permanent residency was unconstitutional.

But the Court of Appeal reversed the decision in March last year on the grounds the government must have the power to impose immigration controls.