COURTS

Filipino maid's son born and raised in Hong Kong loses permanent residency bid

Court rules he and his mother, a Filipino maid, provided insufficient proof this was his home

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 September, 2014, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2014, 8:19am

A teenager born and raised in Hong Kong as the son of a Filipino maid has lost his bid for permanent residency after the top court dismissed his challenge to an Immigration Department decision.

A five-judge Court of Final Appeal panel refused the application unanimously, ruling that neither 17-year-old Joseph Gutierrez nor his family had shown enough evidence that Hong Kong was his permanent home.

Gutierrez was born to Josephine Gutierrez in Hong Kong in 1996 and has lived with his mother in the city ever since. He has visited the Philippines on three occasions for a total of 42 days.

Gutierrez and his mother both applied for permanent residency in 2006, but were rejected in 2008. She has worked as a domestic helper since 1991. Their appeal was dismissed in 2010.

Gutierrez's lawyer, Mark Daly, expressed disappointment at yesterday's judgment and said justice had not been done.

"It is remarkable that Joseph made the application when he was 10 and he is now 17," Daly said. "He has not lived anywhere else in the world except some short … holidays. It is quite surprising that the court still finds that Hong Kong is not his permanent residence."

Daly said he would review the judgment and advise on whether and how to reapply.

Asked whether Josephine Gutierrez's job as a domestic helper affected the case, Daly declined to link it to the verdict, but said it was in the background.

Under Article 24 of the Basic Law, non-Chinese people younger than 21 who wish to gain permanent residency may do so if their parent has attained permanent resident status. But Josephine Gutierrez is not a permanent resident - domestic helpers, unlike other foreign workers, are not allowed permanent residency after seven years - and the court found that the permanence of her son's residency had not been sufficiently established.

Yesterday, the panel consisting of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro, Mr Justice Robert Tang Ching, Justice Patrick Chan Siu-oi and Mr Justice Anthony Mason found there was no evidence of action by Gutierrez or on his behalf to establish residency.

"We conclude that the appellant fails on the permanent residence ground of appeal," the judgment says.

The verdict upheld the outcome of a Court of Appeal ruling in June last year.