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High Court rejects overstayer’s bid to stall removal order

04 January 2020

Court says Immigration can still send you back even if you've filed a torture claim

The Court of First Instance has turned down a 40-year-old Filipina asylum-seeker’s leave to apply for a review of Hong Kong Immigration’s decision to issue a removal order against her while her application for non-refoulement was still pending.

Judge Anderson Chow said in a decision on Dec 27 that Catleah Isidre’s application not to be sent home is not a ground for challenging the validity of a deportation order served on her.

Isidre filed a non-refoulement claim on Oct 13, 2016, shortly after she was convicted of breach of condition of stay and sentenced to two weeks in jail, suspended for three years, for overstaying her 14-day visitor’s visa.


She had cited as grounds her “left ear drum problem” and fear of being killed if she was sent back home.

Isidre returned to Hong Kong as a visitor after working as a domestic helper in the SAR for just 13 days from May 21, 2006.

Immigration issued a removal order against her Feb 20, 2018. Isidre appealed the decision, but on Mar 27 of the same year, the Director affirmed the order.
Isidre then turned to Torture Claims Appeal Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office which similarly dismissed her appeal in July last year. She then applied for leave for a judicial review of both orders.

“The fact that an overstayer has made a non-refoulement claim is not a ground against the making of a removal order against that person who does not have any right or permission to remain in Hong Kong,” Chow said in his decision.
Chow said Isidre’s ear drum issue was irrelevant to the removal order, and her claim of risk to life had been dealt with by Immigration Director and the TCAB.

The judge then made the unusual order of making Isidre pay the costs of the Director.
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