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Filipina DH who failed to apply for visa extension faces overstaying charge

20 February 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Accused told court she agrees to plead guilty to overstaying, but not to falsifying her contract

A Filipina domestic helper who failed to renew her employment visa a year after arriving in Hong Kong was charged with overstaying when she appeared in Shatin Magistracy on Thursday, Feb 18.

Margie Coleta, 43, arrived in Hong Kong to work for her employer in Shatin in January 2018. She did not realize that she was given the standard one-year employment visa on her arrival, which she had to renew to cover the remaining period of her contract.

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In mid-November 2019, she went to the Immigration Department and submitted an application for renewal of contract. While the new employment visa was being processed, the Immigration officer who was handling her application noticed that she had already overstayed for a year.

But things got worse when the officer also noticed that the Immigration’s copy of her old contract was dated Jan 13, 2018, while her own copy was dated Jan 15, 2018.

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Coleta said it was her recruitment agency that tweaked the date because she moved in with her employer only on Jan 15, 2018.

The two incidents resulted in Coleta not only being charged with overstaying her visa, but also of making a false representation to Immigration, and using a false instrument.

First visa issued to a newly arrived FDH is valid for only a year

During the hearing of her case before Magistrate Jason Wan, the prosecution said it was willing to drop the falsification charges if Coleta would admit the overstaying charge.


According to the plan worked out between the two sides, the helper would also agree to testify for the prosecution when it pursues the employment agency that altered the date in her copy of the contract.

But Wan did not approve the proposal outright, saying there was no guarantee the helper would return to Hong Kong to give evidence after she had served out her sentence for overstaying.


He also raised the question of who would bear the cost of bringing back Coleta, who comes from Davao del Norte, when it was time for her to give evidence.  

Wan gave the parties an hour to iron out the deal and plug any possible loophole.

Pindutin para sa detalye

When the case resumed, the prosecutor said an agreement had been reached and Coleta  was ready to plead guilty to overstaying.

Wan, however, did not allow her to enter a plea yet, saying she must first sign a non-prejudicial statement agreeing to testify against her employment agency.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

The magistrate adjourned the case until Apr 1 and extended Coleta’s bail. 



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