移民家務工人需要的,是援助,不是忽視 停止怪罪已經弱小的人 Migrant Domestic Workers Need Assistance, not Neglect Stop Putting the Blame on the Already Vulnerable

外勞事工中心 新聞稿

香港在第三波 2019 新型冠狀病毒疫情的新感染的確診病例已增加到 3,850 人。 (截至 2020 年 8 月 6 日)

2020 年 8 月 5 日, 衞生署衛生防護中心宣布,一名印尼家務工人確診感染 2019 新型冠狀病毒。該名工人於早前離開工作,並曾與另外 28 名移民家務工一起居 住在中介公司的宿舍,一直在尋找新工作。然後轉移到銅鑼灣的另一住宿。 2020 年 8 月 6 日,再多一名曾居住在中介公司宿舍的印尼家務工人確診感染。

個案公佈後,社會對移工社群可能傳播病毒表示擔憂 。更有人建議對移民家務 工人施加進一步的限制,例如在求職期間不得離開中介公司宿舍、禁止移民家 務工人在休息日外出等。

這與今年 2 月初第一宗移民家務工人確診個案情況相似。儘管該工人從僱主家 中受感染,社會輿論卻集中擔心移民家務工人可能是病毒的潛在傳播者,而不 是他們的福祉、住宿環境、保障和安全。

即使如此,我們必須耐心地向社會大眾解釋,向被惡劣住宿環境折磨的移民家 務工人施壓絕非解藥。 隨著 2019 新型冠狀病毒的疫情發展,工作並居住在工 作場所的移民家務工人,在合約終止後被明確限制不能工作,更同時受到政府 實施的防疫政策限制和嚴峻挑戰 。

在疫症期間,入境處採取了「彈性安排」,允許已終止合約或完成合約的移民 家務工人申請延長逗留,以便僱主可以立即聘請新的工人並處理僱傭合約和工 作簽證申請。但是在這段時期,他們應該在哪裡居住?鑑於移民家務工人在香 港的限制性入境條件: 「必須居住在僱主的居所、限制從事其他工作」, 因此 一旦合約完成或終止,他們將無處可歸。

移民家務工人數十年的困境,現在卻因疫情而被暴露和放大。政府一直以來從 未為移民家務工人提供免費住宿,導致他們居住在人滿為患且缺乏適當衛生的 中介公司宿舍中。

作為社會中的弱勢群體,移民家務工人似乎被忽視。特別是在香港政府建議市 民「居家防疫」。這促使一些僱主強加規例,變成工人必須遵守的條款。我們 更收到了一些個案,其中有些工人自 1 月下旬以來被禁止離開僱主的住所。

外勞事工中心早在 2017 年透過發布研究「Pictures From The Inside」,揭露移民 家務工人面對不合適住宿環境和睡眠安排的問題,以及展示了一些極端住宿安 排的細節。結果顯示,超過一半的移民家務工人沒有自己的房間,他們中的大 多數與僱主家庭中的其他成員共享房間,這些工人被安排在客廳或儲藏室,廁 所,廚房等地方睡覺。

外勞事工中心敦促香港社會正視移民家務工人的現實狀況:「高度受限並被遺 棄」,同時權利及福祉因政府的防疫政策進一步被侵犯。

外勞事工中心同時敦促香港政府,停止將移民家務工人的脆弱性歸咎於社群自 身。政府在呼籲移民家務工人為防疫犧牲前, 應解決長期存在的問題。 對於包 括移民家務工人在內,在香港的所有人,應該實施同一政策。

儘管,我們歡迎香港政府免費為在中介公司住宿的工人提供檢測的決定,但我 們相信應該將計畫擴展到所有人,同時包括移民和所有香港居民。我們希望香 港政府採取更全面的防疫政策來回應疫情,以及移民家務工人於疫情下的處境 。

我們相信,社會需要找到公平、平等對待移民家務工人的方法,以確保移工社 群能夠參與並受益於香港政府實施防疫政策。

在此,我們呼籲香港政府:
一.為有需要的移民家務工人,包括介於工作與工作之間和因疫情而滯留在香 港的人,提供免費住宿和食物援助。
二.在疫症期間為中介公司的宿舍制定明確的準則和指引。
三.為所有來港的移民家務工人提供免費的檢疫設施。
四.包括來港的移民家務工人在香港政府的防疫計劃。(例如為社群分發免費 口罩和消毒劑) 移民家務工人不應受到指責。

他們應該被幫助,而不是被忽視或排斥。沒有人 應該被遺漏。

2020 年 8 月 7 日

Mission For Migrant Workers Press Statement

The new infections during Hong Kong’s third wave of COVID-19 have pushed the city’s confirmed tally to 3,850 (as of 6 August 2020).

On 5 August 2020, Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health announced that one of the new cases found is an Indonesian domestic worker who has been seeking a new job after leaving her employment. She once stayed in an employment agency dormitory and lived with 28 other migrant domestic workers and then transferred to another dormitory in Causeway Bay. On 6 August 2020, another Indonesian who stayed in employment agency dormitory confirmed being infected.After the announcement, many expressed concern that the MDW community may be potentially spreading the virus. There were already suggestions to impose further restrictions on MDWs such as requiring them not to go out of employment agency dormitories in between jobs and requiring MDWs to stay in their employer’s residence on their rest days.

This is eerily similar to that time in early February when the first MDW was
found infected from her employer’s household. Many discussions centered on worries that MDWs may be potential spreaders of the virus – even though she ironically got the infection from her employer’s family – instead of concerns for their well-being, living condition, protection, and safety.

Even then, we patiently tell that blaming and pressuring MDWs who already suffer from grim realities of forced live-in situations does not help. With the recent development of the COVID-19 pandemic, MDWs, who work and reside in their workplace and those who are explicitly restricted to take up work after contract termination, are gravely challenged by anti-pandemic restrictions and policies being implemented by government agencies.The Immigration Department has implemented a “flexible approach” in the time of pandemic to allow MDWs who have their contracts terminated or finished to extend their stay here as visitors so that employers could process their new employment contracts and work visa applications immediately. But in this period, Where should they stay? Given the restrictive immigration status of MDWs in HK that requires them to stay in employers’ residence, they are further restricted from taking up other jobs, and are left with no available accommodation once contracts are finished or terminated.

This has been an issue and a reality for a few tens of years already and is now being exposed and magnified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Free accommodation for MDWs is never made available in between jobs. MDWs usually stay in the dormitories of employment agencies which are always overcrowded and lack proper hygiene.

As a vulnerable section of the society, MDWs seem to be neglected especially since the Hong Kong Government suggested citizens to “Stay Home”. This has prompted some employers in imposing this as a rule that the workers must follow. We have received cases wherein some of them are not allowed to go out of the employer’s residence since late January.
MFMW revealed in the research ‘Pictures from the Inside’ in May 2017, the problem of unsuitable accommodation and sleeping arrangements with details of extreme accommodation arrangements that MDWs have to live with. It showed that over half of MDWs are not given their own room and majority of them share the room with other members in their employer’s family, arranged to sleep in the living room, or in storage, toilets, kitchens and such.
The MFMW urges the Hong Kong public to look into the reality of MDWs’ situation: restricted and left abandoned, with well-being and rights further violated with government’s anti-pandemic policies.
The MFMW urges the Hong Kong Government to stop putting the blame on MDWs’ community for their vulnerability, and address the long existing problem before appealing to the MDWs community to sacrifice for the prevention of epidemic spread. There should only be one policy for ALL people in Hong Kong, including MDWs.
While we welcome the recent decision of the HK government to provide free mass testing for MDWs staying in dormitories run by employment agencies, we hope that this is extended to all – both migrants and local people. We hope that this could be a start towards a more comprehensive approach to address the issues of MDWs in the government’s COVID response.

 

It is believed that the society needs to find ways to treat MDWs fairly and equally to ensure that the MDWs community is able to participate and benefit in the anti-pandemic prevention programs that HK government should be implementing.
We call on the Hong Kong government to :
1. Provide free accommodation and food assistance for migrant domestic workers who are in need, including those who are in between jobs and those who are stranded in Hong Kong due to the pandemic.
2. Set clear guidelines for dormitories of Employment Agencies during the pandemic

3. Provide free quarantine facilities for all migrant domestic workers arriving in Hong Kong.

4. Include migrant domestic workers in prevention and care programs of the HK government (e.g. free masks and sanitizer distribution for migrant workers communities)

MDWs are not to blame. They should be assisted, not neglected nor excluded.
No one should be left uncared for.

7 August 2020

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