入境處亂判「搏炒」無交代 斷人衣食無準則
Immigration takes away worker’s means of living
Workers suffer from abuse of power Abolish the new condition of stay

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自去年8月起,入境處推出措施「嚴打跳工」,將懷疑「跳工」的外籍家務工拒諸門外,不再批發新的工作簽證,至今起有超過一百七十名外籍家務工人因此而不獲簽證。然而,入境處濫用准許簽證的權力,視「懷疑搏炒」個案等同罪犯,禁止其工作權,卻沒有對工人交代原因,本會認為此舉乃是歧視。

 

本會接獲泰籍家務工阿瀝(化名)求助,她於去年第三度申請來港,至十一月遭入境處拒發簽證,至今失業七個月。據了解,阿瀝在港工作四年有多,首個僱主與她關係容洽,一做便是四年多,直至僱主一家三口迎接奶奶回家居住,才辭退阿瀝。一家人與她至今仍有聯絡,尤同故友。

 

及後,阿瀝透過中介公司找到新的僱主,本應開始新的工作,卻遇上了問題。雖然僱主在面試時提及其太太有點病,但阿瀝卻在上班後才發現僱主太太是有精神病的孕婦,她感到壓力太大,與僱主溝通之後,僱主亦諒解其情況,雙方協議免通知期解除僱傭關係。

 

僱主工作要求高 工人獨力難支撐

之後,阿瀝迎來了第三個僱主。這家人是富裕人家,全屋超過3,200尺。僱主對其工作要求非常嚴格,每天指令她工作超過十六至十八小時,偌大的家居須用雙手抹地,每天的休息時間只有四至六小時,工作環境十分嚴苛。阿瀝更表示,除了睡眠時間不足,她每天都沒有足夠時間進饍,而僱主亦無提供足夠飯菜,她只能在僱主用饍後進食餘下的剩食。每一晚,她都不准在僱主睡覺前入睡,如僱主於深夜才回家,她都要在家中等待「主人回家」。(附表1:為阿瀝一天的工作,顯示其每天工時約十八小時)面對這樣的工作情景,阿瀝終於在七日後左右提出請辭,然而僱主不接納,幾日之後,阿瀝在家中因工作勞累暈倒,被送去醫院。之後的幾天病假,僱主禁止她踏入家門,於是她暫住在中介公司提供的宿舍中三日。至9月中,僱主付錢要解僱她。

 

入境處濫權當「判官」 斷人衣食無交代

此後她再向入境處申請來港工作,處方毫無解釋,便告知她不能再來港當家務工。本會接獲此案後,再三發信追問入境處不批簽證的理由,卻得不到一個交代。

 

入境處任意剝奪工人的工作權利,令人震怒。在這個個案中,阿瀝不但不知道被禁入境的原因,處方「調查」之時,亦沒有詢問過阿瀝半句,唯一向她交代的信件,內容亦是含混不清,只寫道「根據我們所得的資料,我們考慮過閣下的個案情況,你並不合符在港工作的入境規定」,沒有交代任何理據;即使本會一再發信要求解釋,處方置若罔聞。入境處如此處理僱傭糾紛,實在是濫用批發簽證的權力,亦取代了勞資審裁處的仲裁角色,自行擔當判官,斷人衣食而無須交代,實是以「保障僱主」之名欺壓工人。

 

本會重申,禁止外籍家務工轉工的政策,只會令在職外籍家務工不敢斷約,啞忍剝削。僱傭雙方斷約原因眾多,有些家務工辭工,乃是因為他們遭到剝削,例如沒有僱主沒有提供合理的住宿環境等等。例如阿瀝面對的,便是不合理的工作要求和過長的工作時間。工人面對這種情況,第一時間當然會想到辭職轉換僱主。

 

再者,在現時的入境規定下,外籍家務工在斷約後兩星期內便須離港,根本沒有「濫用跳工」的誘因,家務工一旦被解僱,十四日內得不到僱主聘用,回國再來港的過程都花費甚鉅。加上香港政府長年縱容中介公司濫收費用,對其惡行視若無睹,外籍家務工如要轉工,成本高昂,現時的新規定,只會令家務工為保飯碗,而啞忍暴行。

 

 

在此,我們譴責入境處濫用權力,並要求:
1. 入境處給阿瀝一個交代,解釋禁止其入境之因由;
2. 容許阿瀝來港工作;
3. 停止歧視外籍家務工,停止上述批發簽證的新政策。


Since last August, Immigration Department has put forward strong measure against “job-hopping” of foreign domestic workers, denying issuance of working visa to the “job-hopping suspects”. Until now, over 170 foreign domestic workers’ working permits were rejected. Immigration, however, is abusing its power of granting visa, treating “job-hopping” suspects as criminals, taking their rights to work without explanation. It is nothing but discrimination.

Rex, who is a Thai domestic worker, approached FADWU telling us that her working visa was rejected by Immigration last November while she was applying for work in Hong Kong for the third time last year. It has been seven months since the denial of visa. Rex has four-year working experience in Hong Kong. She got along well with her first employer and had been working there for more than four years. Her first termination was due to the fact that the mother-in-law of the employer was invited to live together with the employer that Rex was no longer needed. Yet Rex and the first family of the employer still keep in touch as good old friends until now.

Afterwards, Rex found a new employer through the employment agency. Sadly a problem occurred when she started working. The new employer mentioned that his wife is sick. Yet only did Rex start working, she learned that the wife is a pregnant woman with mental disorder. She could not handle the pressure that she expressed the difficulty to the employer and gained mutual understanding on the situation. Both parties agreed to terminate the employment without notice period.

It came to the third employer of Rex. She was, working for a well-off family at this time. The employer introduced strict management on her work and commanded her to work for 16 to 18 hours per day, while only are there 4 to 6 hours left per day for rest time. The household is larger than 3200 square ft. but she had to mop the floor with her own hands. Apart from the lack of sleeping time, neither of the meal time nor the provision of food was sufficient. Only could she have the leftovers of the employer. She was also prohibited to sleep before the employer did so. She was asked to “welcome the employer” in case the employer was returning home late at night (attachment 1 is the schedule of Rex’s work, showing the 18-hour working hour).

Working under the circumstance as such, Rex after all lodged a resignation after seven days, but the employer refused. A few days later, Rex fainted away and was sent to hospital due to the overloaded work at home. For the incurred sick leave, the employer prohibited her from entering the household therefore she lived in the boarding house provided by the employment agency for three days. Then it was mid-September, the employer paid to terminate her contract.

This time after, she filed application to the Immigration for working in Hong Kong again. Immigration then notified her the denial of working visa, with no reasons given. FADWU, after confirming to provide assistance to this case, wrote to the Immigration for the reasons of denial for several times. However, no responses were given.

It is outrageous that the Immigration takes away worker’s right to work at its own will. In the aforementioned case, not only is Rex given no reasons of the denial of visa, but also she was asked nothing during the “investigation” of the Immigration. The only letter provided was filled with ambiguous content stating that “having taken into consideration of the information made available to us and the circumstances of your case, we are not satisfied that you have met the eligibility criteria and other immigration requirements for entry to take up employment in Hong Kong” that no justification was given. Even though we have requested for an explanation time after time, the Immigration still turns a blind eye. Handling employment disputes in such way, Immigration Department is indeed abusing its power of granting visa; making arbitration instead of Labor Tribunal; possessing the power of taking workers’ means of livelihood away which no reasons are required to provide. It is truly oppressing the workers in the name of “protecting the employers”.

We would like to reiterate our former statement here that, forbidding foreign domestic workers from changing employers would only result in a situation which the foreign domestic workers have to tolerate all the exploitations due to the fear of contract termination. There is a wide range of reasons for termination of contract for both employers and employees. Some domestic workers quit due to the fact that they were being exploited, for instance no reasonable living arrangement was given by the employers. As the situation that Rex encountered, was the problem of unreasonable working requirement and long working hour. Facing the circumstances as such, it is natural for the workers to consider quitting the job and changing an employer.

Aside from that, under the current Immigration regulation, foreign domestic workers are required to depart Hong Kong within 14 days after the termination of contract. There is no incentive for the workers to “abuse the job-hopping”. Once a domestic worker is fired, and hired by no one in 14 days, the cost of returning to home country and entering Hong Kong again is tremendous. In addition, the HKSAR government has turned a blind eye on the prevalent practice of overcharging by the employment agencies, changing an employer for foreign domestic workers means a tremendous cost. The new regulation therefore would only encourage the domestic workers to tolerate the abuse in order to keep the job.

 

We condemn the Immigration Department for abusing its power, and demand:
1. Provide Rex reasons behind the denial of her working visa
2. Allow Rex to work in Hong Kong
3. Stop discrimination against foreign domestic workers, stop the aforesaid new policy on visa issuance