Lack of permits leaves thousands in delta limbo The parents of more than 200 illegitimate mainland children born to Hong Kong fathers have sought help from the Federation of Trade Unions' Shenzhen office, in an attempt win residency status. Zhu Ke, of the FTU office, said it had received more than 200 cases in about one year since its opening. The parents had sought the FTU's assistance, but had failed to present any documents, not even birth certificates. 'There is nothing the government can do at this point because the children were born out of wedlock,' she said. Unconfirmed mainland media reports said there were as many as 50,000 such children in the Pearl River Delta. Ms Zhu said she did not have figures, but warned that they would be a social burden. A spokesman for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong, said its immigration section had not received any requests for help. 'For us to help them they must be Hong Kong permanent residents and have the required documents. If they do not even have a birth certificate, it's quite difficult to help them,' the official said. The children, whose births are not reported because their mainland mothers fear being shamed, need birth certificates to apply for residency permits, which are needed to apply for Hong Kong residency. Ms Zhu said that without the permits the children, who were aged between a few months to 13 years, could not be enrolled in schools. 'Their parents are getting worried and asking for help because they want their children to go to Hong Kong. They need to have permits before they can go to Hong Kong. There is nothing we can do to help them,' she said. The children are born mostly out of unions between young migrant workers from Sichuan, Hunan and Anhui and Hong Kong men who are much older, often poorly educated and in the lower income bracket. Some of these men, who are in their 50s and make HK$2,000 to HK$3,000 a month, have abandoned their partners and children. Other fathers have established families in Hong Kong. An academic at Sun Yat-sen University, Lu Ying, suggested that the women used the law to pursue the fathers for child support.