The Bar Association has warned the government that the proposed anti-racism legislation should not exclude immigration policies and foreign domestic helpers from its scope. In a delayed submission to the government's consultation on the law, which ended in February, the Bar called for a wide-ranging bill without proposed exceptions. The government paper proposed the bill should not affect legislation for immigration applications from people without the right to enter and remain in Hong Kong. 'The Bar objects to this proposal, which is clearly intended to protect immigration policies and practices from being challenged for their racial discriminatory effects,' it said. 'The Bar cannot see how this proposal is consistent with the government's policy statement [or] ... how this proposal is consistent with Article 41 of the Basic Law.' Article 41 stipulates that non-residents of Hong Kong shall enjoy the same fundamental rights and freedoms of its residents. On the government's position that new arrivals from the mainland would not be protected against discrimination from Hong Kong Chinese because they are of the same ethnic background, the Bar called for legislation that outlaws bias 'on the ground of immigrant status or former immigrant status'. It also said foreign domestic helpers should be afforded the same protection as other immigrants. 'The Bar reiterates that migrant workers are entitled to protection against racial discrimination by public authorities or private persons as much as other members of the same ethnic group permanently settled in Hong Kong,' the association said. A three-year grace period for compliance by small companies was also deemed unnecessary by the Bar, which said 'the message against racial discrimination is so well publicised in Hong Kong that an exception for small companies and employers is unwarranted'. It called for a white paper on the text of the law and for the Equal Opportunities Commission to be well funded 'on a recurrent basis' to allow for its implementation. In its submission, the Bar also welcomed the government's plan to enact the law, saying it was more than the colonial administration had done despite Hong Kong being a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination since 1969.