Indonesian domestic helper who reported on Hong Kong protests may be deported over expired visa

Staff reporter

Yuli Riswati has been detained by immigration authorities since November 4, according to a support group working on her behalf

Staff reporter |

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Indonesian domestic helper Yuli Riswati was known in Hong Kong as the 'Indonesian domestic worker writer'.

An Indonesian national who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong has been held by immigration authorities for 28 days and is facing deportation for staying longer than her work visa allowed.

Yuli Riswati, has been detained at the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre since November 4, according to a support group working on her case. She had reported on the recent anti-government protests and according to a press release from the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), she was arrested after news reports were made about her stance in support of Hong Kong people. 

“What Yuli faced is unusual practice of the Immigration Department and probably unlawful. It is clearly a political suppression against Yuli for her writing, for her speaking up for the Hong Kong protesters," said Fish Ip, regional coordinator for IDWF.

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Riswati was arrested from her workplace on September 23 for overstaying her work visa. However, according to the press release (LINK HERE), the Immigration Department later decided not to present evidence against her in court. She was then detained on the grounds that she had nowhere to stay. These claims were denied by her employer. 

Riswati did not renew her work visa, which expired on July 27. However, she had signed a two-year work contract in January. It is usual in cases like this for immigration authorities to allow domestic workers to retroactively apply for a visa as she has a guaranteed contract with a family.

Her employer has applied to the authorities to extend Riswati’s visa and said they would continue to employ her, the support group stated.

Riswati has been employed in Hong Kong for 10 years, and is also a recognised writer. In 2018, she was a finalist at the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants. She has also written for SUARA, an Indonesian newspaper based in Hong Kong, according to the press release.