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It's a legal battle that could affect hundreds of thousands of domestic helpers in Hong Kong. A Filipino maid won a case to gain permanent residency in the special administrative region. But it is still facing an appeal from Hong Kong authorities who are trying to have the court's recent decision thrown out.
On Friday, a Filipino domestic helper won a legal battle to apply for permanent residency in Hong Kong. It's a verdict that residents say could encourage about 300,000 other domestic workers to also claim the right of abode.
The decision to grant Vallejos Evangeline Banao the right to apply for residency under the Basic Law could also draw attention from Beijing. Authorities could seek to reinterpret the laws under which the territory is governed.
The judge presiding over the case said it was unconstitutional to deny foreign maids the right of residency even though many were employed on short term two year contracts that are often repeatedly renewed.
Banao's lawyer said it was a good win for the rule of law.
[Mark Daly, Banao's Lawyer]:
"I wouldn't put it in terms of labor rights. It upholds basically the rule of law and, like we said, the principles, common law principles of interpretation and constitutional interpretation. So it's a good win for the rule of law."
Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang said he was disappointed by the verdict. Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee said the government would appeal the ruling, with the date set for October 26.
Until then the government said it would not process any applications for permanent residency by domestic helpers.