HK High Court rules that Domesic Helpers can gain PR

Hong Kong’s High Court has ruled that foreign domestic helpers can become Permanent Residents of Hong Kong, after staying here for 7 years. This, no doubt will be appealed to the Court of Final Appeal, and possibly even the National People’s Congress, thereby causing yet another constitutional crisis. However, I honestly can’t think of a better way for domestic helpers to shoot themselves in the foot.

The current pay for a domestic helper is HK$3740 per month, and the pay for someone earning the a minimum wage in Hong Kong would be much higher. Foreign domestic helpers are not entitled to a minimum wage. So lets say that one applies to become a permanent resident – they are immediately no longer employable as a foreign domestic helper and need to be paid minimum wage.

As an employer, would one pay them the significantly higher minimum wage, or would they just make such a person redundant and hire a fresh immigrant at the fixed foreign domestic helper contract rates? It’s a no brainer really, especially with the economy in free fall.

I think that domestic helpers will quickly understand that the economics of becoming permanent residents of Hong Kong simply don’t make sense, and excepting the handful who are qualified for other jobs, they would soon find themselves out of work with poor prospects.

Update: It has been pointed out to me (thanks, Taha) that live-in domestic workers are not covered by the minimum wage ordinance. This changes the situation quite significantly, in that there is no economic barrier to taking up PR.

However, I still think that the fearmongering that is being propagated here in Hong Kong is probably unwarranted. According to the current immigration system, there is no right for PRs to bring their family members to live in Hong Kong. I have been through the process three times, and I know from my own experience (and that of others) that in order to bring one’s dependents (including spouse), one needs to show sufficient income to support them, as well as having adequate housing in which the dependents can reside.

The vast majority of domestic helpers would be unable to satisfy those criteria.

Finally, for the avoidance of doubt, I will just mention that no foreign domestic helper will become a PR automatically. This is a status that must be obtained by making an application to do so, having satisfied the relevent criteria.

Hong Kong should explain the aim of National Education

In today’s South China Morning Post, my letter appeared, the text of which is reproduced below:

Explain aim of national education

With the heated debate regarding the government’s proposed national education curriculum, too many people are jumping to knee-jerk conclusions without really understanding what shape a national education programme might take.

Indeed, the government prematurely asks the public for feedback without explaining to the public what, in fact, national education means.

China, as one of the world’s oldest civilisations, has much to offer us from studying its history. A truly comprehensive national education curriculum would not only celebrate this history but also critically analyse it, offering students the opportunity to arrive at their own conclusions and affording them a forum to share these conclusions in a discussion-based setting.

If fostering patriotism is one of the goals of this curriculum, this should be applauded. However, let us be clear that true patriotism creates a desire for continuous review and improvement of governance.

The government must make clear its intentions.

Are we seeking to enrich the next generation and provide them with the necessary tools to become the leaders of tomorrow or is the administration acting on instructions to cultivate conformity in thinking?

The latter will inevitably lead to political regression and intellectual stagnation.

Ali Ebrahim, Mid-Levels


A friend of mine wrote a blog entry about Hillary and I felt like writing a response because there are a lot of things I don’t agree with.

Hillary’s campaign has not been one waged on ethics and grassroots support but rather one that is based on entitlement, poor ethics, and poor planning to boot. A brief note about each follows.

As much as she tries to distance herself from Bill, there’s no doubt that Hillary would be a nothing without him and she’s riding on his coattails.

Women are supposed to identify with her because of what happened to her in the Whitehouse, but would that experience make her a good President? I don’t see why it would.

Poor Ethics
When she’s down, she hits out with negative comments about other candidates and turns the campaign into a cursing match instead of focusing on any substantive issues.

When she’s down her campaign preys on Islamophobia by releasing pictures of Obama in “muslim garb”, that is more African than Muslim anyway. Not to mention totally irrelevant.

When she’s down she wants to throw away the rules and make up new ones so that delegates from states that broke all the election rules get seated anyway. Especially in states where Obama was not even on the ballot.

Sounds like she’s teaching the next generation to denigrate those who disagree with you, if that doesn’t work, make people afraid of them, and if that fails as well, just subvert the playing field.

Poor Planning
How in the world is she going to balance the budget and reverse the trend of mounting debt when she couldn’t even achieve the relatively much simpler task of balancing her campaign budget.

We already know that her solution to debt is to borrow, borrow, and borrow more. Can you say sinking US dollar?

There’s just so much wrong with her campaign and so little that’s right with it that sometimes I wonder how blind some Americans are not to be able to see it.