Criticism of Immigration Department was totally ignored

THE letter from Tammy Keung of the Immigration Department (South China Morning Post, October 13) appears to have been written under the understandably difficult conditions created by the writer having at the same time to look over her shoulder at the employers' lobby.

When we wrote that the two week rule was in our experience what is nominally a two-week rule is in practice a four-week rule, we based this on our daily observation that a helper will (we wrote automatically, because it certainly seems that way, although if Ms Keung says it is not automatic, we accept that) get from Immigration Department a one-week extension of stay when she reports on the 14th day after termination, and then on the expiry of that one-week extension, she will on application for a further extension receive a letter (in a standard form ID 251) telling her that her application for extension of stay has been refused and she must leave Hong Kong on or before a date seven days after the date of the letter, so that in reality she gets a further week.

We wrote our letter in response to a reader's letter complaining that two weeks was too short, and we felt we should clarify what actually happens.

Ms Keung seems to have taken that clarification as a criticism of her department, which it was not.

In contrast, the criticism we did express, as the third point of our letter, concerning the way the rule is applied by the Immigration Department, is totally ignored by Ms Keung.

Perhaps this is as a result of the uncomfortable posture we have inferred.

The criticism involves the rule's declared purpose, namely to curb job-hopping, which appears to have been forgotten by the Immigration Department.

A reply to that criticism would be welcome.

Jovita O. Leano, Trustee United Migrant Workers Interim Trust