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CG Tejada welcomes Immigration’s rethink on 'removal' of infected FDHs

28 September 2020

 By The SUN

ConGen Tejada says he's glad the Consulate's appeal to Immigration was given 'due consideration'

A concerted effort to get Hong Kong Immigration to reconsider its earlier decision to remove Filipina domestic workers who test positive for Covid-19 as soon as they get discharged from hospital has borne fruit.

After The SUN reported that three newly arrived Filipina DHs were ordered to return home upon their discharge from hospital, Immigration appears to have changed tack.

All those who were still in hospital were allowed to remain and be contacted by their employers. As a result, six have received assurance that they will be retained after their discharge.

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One was told her employer would let her go after she finished a hotel quarantine, but she was still better off than the three who were removed posthaste because she can now enjoy the 14 day-grace period normally given to those whose contracts have been terminated.

This also means that she can, if she wishes, claim for at least a month’s wage in lieu of notice, a right given to those whose contracts are prematurely terminated.

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The apparent policy shift was welcomed today, Sept. 28, by Consul General Raly Tejada, who has earlier expressed concern over Immigration's action. 

“It seems the Consulate’s expression of deep concern over the matter has been given due consideration. I’m glad that the situation has been rectified,” the consul general said when asked for a comment by The SUN.

ConGen Tejada said he immediately contacted Hong Kong Immigration to ask for clarification on the “new unpronounced policy” when told about the case of Ermelyn Deno, who was the first to be removed from Hong Kong on Sept. 19.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Deno told The SUN she was fetched from the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital by immigration officers and taken straight to the airport for her flight back to the Philippines.

The same tack was used on two other FDHs who were discharged from hospital subsequently: E.G.S. on Sept 23, and C.A. early on Sept. 25. Both said they were told that it was Immigration’s policy that all FDHs who test positive on arrival will be sent back home after treatment.

The two belonged to a batch of 13 workers deployed by the same employment agency in Manila who arrived on Sept. 9. Ten of them were found infected within days: five at the airport, three the next day, and another one two days later.

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When asked to explain the situation, two officers from Immigration told The SUN the workers were sent home because their employers had backed out. They also said the workers were "removed" and not "deported" as the latter implied they had done something illegal.

But it was not made clear why the workers’ visas were not stamped on arrival, and they were instead made to sign recognizance documents signifying their agreement to report back to Immigration upon their discharge from hospital.

Deno's visa was not stamped on arrival as if she never entered HK

Of the 10, two were sent home, six are being retained, one remains in hospital, while another is waiting for a notice of termination after finishing a 12-day hotel quarantine.

In an earlier interview, ConGen Tejada said he was not given a direct answer to his query about the removal order on the three infected Filipinas.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

“We expressed concern about this new policy, but Hong Kong Immigration said that they will meet with other concerned agencies first like the Health Department before making a definitive comment,” ConGen Tejada said on Sept 24.

He also said he reported the removals to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment.

The SUN first heard about the case of Deno from Marites Palma, a contributor who founded Social Justice for Domestic Workers, which has been distributing food to quarantined FDHs through a grant from HerFund.

Palma also served as the contact person for the group of infected FDHs who were deployed to Hong Kong by Placewell International Services Corp in Manila.

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