Two Filipino moms will have to leave Hong Kong and part ways with their children after losing the final legal battle for them to stay in Hong Kong. Apparently, the top court denied their appeal to stay in the city even if they have children who are permanent residents.
The Court of Final Appeal gave its decision on Thursday on the cases of former domestic workers Milagros Tecson Comilang and Deseree Rante Luis. They have been fighting for their right to stay since 2011 and 2014, respectively.
According to the court’s decision, if a person with no right to enter and remain in Hong Kong was able to overcome that position by relying on someone else’s right, it would upset the purpose of immigration reservation in the Bill of Rights and the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.
“There is no rule of law deficit in the context of this case or otherwise. The director does not enjoy an unfettered discretion in making immigration decisions,” the judgment said. “On the contrary, as the jurisprudence of the Hong Kong courts amply demonstrates, the director’s exercise of discretion is subject to review.
Domestic workers’ children who are born in Hong Kong do not obtain permanent residency by birth. Whether they qualify for the status after having lived in the city for some years is a complicated matter. According to Pathfinders, an NGO that assists them, children stand a higher chance of securing permanent residency if their parents’ employers promise in writing to support the children if the parents are out of work.
The two mothers said that they are both lost and no longer knows what to do.
“I cannot leave my children behind,” Luis said. “For my sons, Hong Kong is their home. I am not asking the government for money. I just want to stay and take care of my sons.”
The court eventually decided that because the mothers did not have the right to enter and remain in the city, they could not rely on the rights under the Bill of Rights or the Basic Law.
The appeal was dismissed unanimously by the five judges in the top court.
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