Date
18 December 2017
A domestic worker from Sri Lanka is asking the High Court to find the live-in requirement for domestic helpers unreasonable and illegal. Photo: HKEJ
A domestic worker from Sri Lanka is asking the High Court to find the live-in requirement for domestic helpers unreasonable and illegal. Photo: HKEJ

One more domestic helper challenges live-in requirement in court

A domestic worker from Sri Lanka is seeking a judicial review, claiming the government’s requirement that helpers live and work in their employer’s residence violates the international law against slave labor.

In a writ filed in the High Court on Tuesday, Rankothpedi Duravalage Kamalawathi, said she had been mistreated by her employer since she was hired in 2012.

She claimed that she is now suffering from schizophrenia and auditory hallucination, which prevents her from continuing to work, news website hk01.com reports.

Kamalawathi blamed her condition on exploitation by her employer. She said her employer paid her less than the minimum wage, cut her leave short and demanded she work in multiple places.

She said that although the Director of Immigration has the authority to put restrictions on conditions of domestic helpers’ stay, such restrictions should be limited only to their types of work, employers and work addresses, and should not apply to regulate where they sleep.

The live-in requirement not only breaches international law but also makes foreign domestic helpers like her discriminated against since other foreign workers doing other jobs are allowed to choose where they can live.

She asked the court to find the requirement unreasonable and illegal.

The case is the second of its kind after a domestic worker sought a judicial review on the live-in requirement in November last year.

Nancy Almoriny Lubiano, who arrived in Hong Kong from the Philippines in 2011, said the requirement violates the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, the Immigration Ordinance and the Basic law.

The High Court is set to hear the case of the Filipino woman on Oct. 3.

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TL/JC/RA

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