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Migrants group says ‘job hopping’ a myth, slams Immigration crackdown

31 March 2021

By The SUN 

Poster announcing the AMCB-led protest against crackdown on 'job hoppers'

A migrant domestic workers coalition has condemned as discriminatory the Immigration Department’s act of refusing work visas to foreign domestic workers they label as “job hoppers”  - even if all they did was to quit bad employers.

More than 170 workers and their supporters vented their anger against the Immigration crackdown in a live online protest on Facebook today, Mar 31, led by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body.


The rally came on the heels of a statement from Immigration that it rejected 355 work visas in January and February as it strengthened its campaign against suspected job-hopping MDWs. The figure exceeded the total work visa denials for the entire 2020.

The Immigration also said it had launched an operation on Mar 23 in which its officers visited “relevant” agencies to warn them against encouraging or inducing workers to shift employers.

Pindutin para sa detalye

AMCB spokespersons and other protest speakers said it is unfair for Immigration to accuse workers of job-hopping when they all they did was to leave employers who treated them badly in violation of their work contracts.

In an earlier statement, AMCB also dismissed as ridiculous allegations that FDWs accept cash incentives from employment agencies to change employers, or deliberately do bad work so they can be terminated.


As the processing of work visas usually take between two to three months, it does not make sense for FDWs to change employers on a mere whim because they cannot afford being jobless for that long, AMCB said.

AMCB has led the fight for migrant workers rights amid the pandemic (File)

“This is clear discrimination, stigmatization, and a crackdown amidst Covid-19 against over 350,000 foreign domestic workers who contribute significantly to the Hong Kong people, economy, and government,” said Dolores Balladares, who also heads United Filipinos in Hong Kong.

“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 don’t matter,” she said.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Balladares said the malicious accusations of job-hopping force MDWs to keep silent about their working conditions and to just accept what the employers want them to do so as not to lose their livelihood.

“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,” she said.

Balladares says accusing FDWs of job hopping is discriminatory 

Cita, an Indonesian helper, said in a testimony that she ended her contract after being forced to work long hours and do excessive work. She found a new employer and got a new work visa, but it was voided when her ex-employer complained to Immigration.

Cita said that despite giving evidence of her poor working conditions, Immigration accused her of job-hopping and upheld the decision to cancel her visa. She was forced to return to Indonesia and reapply to come back and work for a new employer.

Cherry, a Filipina helper who had been denied days off, said in her testimony that she argued with her employer when she insisted on taking a holiday. After she was fired she found a new employer but Immigration rejected her visa application even if she was terminated just once.

The two workers’ testimonies highlighted the confusion caused by Immigration’s policy against so-called job hoppers, which appears to leave the fate of terminated helpers at the discretion of officers handling their cases.

AMCB's Sringatin says it's not a crime to look for a better employer

AMCB said it is obvious that Immigration and anti-migrant legislators and employers clamoring for sanctions against so-called job hoppers 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 so as to limit the risk of the (Covid-19 infection) and avoid the added expense of bringing in a worker from overseas,” said Balladares.

She urged Immigration to stop discriminating against MDWs and stop tagging them as job-hoppers and punishing them by denying employment visas. Instead, Immigration should investigate the inhumane conditions that many workers are forced to endure, she said.

Balladares also questioned why all other workers apart from FDWs are allowed to terminate contracts without getting any sanctions, and are not sent home if they quit their jobs and move to another employer.

“Why can’t MDWs have the same rights?” Balladares asked.

“We care for Hong Kong families but the Hong Kong government continues to refuse to care for us,” she said.

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