The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)
Stop the crackdown on MDWs; change employment is not a crime!
The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) strongly refutes the Hong Kong Immigration’s accusation against foreign domestic workers as ‘job-hoppers’ and condemn the unfair decision to deny 355 visa applications in January and February 2021. This is clear discrimination, stigmatisation, and crackdown amidst COVID-19 against over 350,000 foreign domestic workers who contribute significantly to Hong Kong people, economy, and government.
This is a crackdown on powerless and impoverished migrant domestic workers who had been hit hard by the pandemic. This is clearly modern-day slavery. What they are saying is that as domestic workers in Hong Kong, our rights and dignity do not matter. These malicious accusations of ‘job-hopping’ continue to force MDWs to keep silent about their complaints regarding their working conditions. They are forced to just accept what the employers want them to do, because if they complain, it will cost them their livelihood.
The alleged statements by the Immigration that MDWs are accepting offers by agencies of HK$1000-2000 to ‘job-hoppers’ or that MDWs purposely do bad work so they can be terminated are ridiculous, as no MDW is willing to lose two to three months livelihood just for a fourth of their salary. Migrants are usually breadwinners of our poverty-stricken families at home. MDWs cannot afford to terminate contracts, when we regularly earn at least HK$4,630 every month. We would not risk our family’s livelihood for so little.
Obviously, the Immigration Department, anti-migrant legislator Elizabeth Quat, and select employers groups who are pushing accusations of ‘job-hopping’ are out of touch with reality. Their accusations continue to burden many Hong Kong families who wish to hire an MDW who is already in Hong Kong as to limit the risk of the pandemic and avoid added expense of bringing a worker from overseas.
AMCB urges the Immigration Department to stop discriminating MDWs, to stop tagging MDWs as ‘job-hoppers’, and stop punishing them by denying employment visas. Instead Immigration should investigate the reality that migrant domestic workers face in their working conditions. Non-MDWs are entitled to humane working conditions and living wage, such that they can terminate their contracts and find a new employer if their working conditions are not good. Why cannot MDWs have the same rights? When we stand up for our rights and voice out our concerns, we are at risk of being accused of ‘job-hopping’ and sent back home. This fear forces many MDWs to accept a slave wage and slave-like working conditions.
We will not take this sitting down. We care for Hong Kong families but the Hong Kong government continues to refuse to care for us. We have been bearing the brunt of this pandemic, wherein many of us have been made to work more hours, been denied our rest days, and treated badly. In response, we will hold an online speak out on Wednesday 31 March to protest against this injustice and share the reality of MDWs. Expect more protests in the future. ###