Eman Villanueva, center, along with other supporters of the right to abode for domestic workers, show the 'V for victory' sign Friday outside the High Court in Hong Kong.
A Hong Kong court has ruled unconstitutional the immigration ordinance that blocks foreign domestic workers from obtaining permanent residency. The victory by Filipina Evangeline Banao Vallejos could lead to the more than 270,000 domestic workers in the city gaining the right to apply for permanent residency, which previously they were excluded from.
Human-rights advocates have said a ruling in favor of Evangeline Banao Vallejos would represent a significant step toward dismantling the system that treats domestic workers as second-tier residents.
According to Civic Party Leader Alan Leong, judge Johnson Lam Man-hon on Friday ruled on the right of domestic workers to apply based on their length of employment in Hong Kong. As to whether that application could lead to the right of abode has not been ruled on.
"That's how we've always looked at Article 24 of the Basic Law," Mr. Leong said outside the court. "There's a set of criteria foreigners need to fulfill to be eligible for permanent residency."
At the end of Friday's ruling, the judge said he will hear closing statements from both sides on Oct. 26, when the government will ask for a suspension of the ruling, according to Mr. Leong.
"The judgement says definitively the immigration ordinance…is unconstitutional," he said.
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