We are angry, we are dismay over the recent announcement of the HK government on the new rules on mandatory vaccination and visa issuance address ONLY to migrant domestic workers in HK.
We are celebrating the workers day today, but instead of recognizing the contribution of migrant domestic workers in the society, the HK government punished and criminalized the migrant domestic workers.
‘If migrant domestic workers are being asked to submit themselves to get tested for COVID-19, we think the HK government authorities should also submit themselves to get tested for racism.’ This is the strong response of the Asian Migrants Coordinating body to the news of the Hong Kong government mandatory testing for all migrant domestic workers.
“Imposing mandatory COVID-19 testing to all migrant domestic workers before May 9 after one worker was tested positive with a mutant strain is clearly an act of discrimination and stigmatization against MDWs.” added Sringatin, spokesperson of AMCB.
Sringatin continued, “While the decision of HK government to include MDWs in free testing and vaccination on voluntary basis is a good move considering the precarious nature of our workers as carer for families especially elderly and babies, this decision to mandate testing for the 370,000 migrant domestic workers simply because of their job is absurd and the latest in a string of discriminatory policies of the government.”
Sringatin added, “The Hong Kong government did not test every single person in Hong Kong with a gym membership with the recent outbreaks in gyms; instead they used contact tracing to identify who needed testing. This shows the discriminatory nature of this new policy by the HK government.”
AMCB also countered the mandatory vaccine requirement for new MDWs. “Additionally, we condemn the mandatory vaccine requirement for all MDWs to renew their visas or process new contracts. Yes, our work is precarious in nature but are other workers processing work visas also mandated to have COVID-19 vaccine to process their contract? Or our local workers in retirement homes or childcare mandated to have the vaccine to continue their employment? Again, we are being singled out and targeted for one case that they have not yet had time to trace the sources of the infection. This must be stopped and corrected.”
These decisions show that the HK Government unfairly blames MDWs for the spread of coronavirus and fanning the negative sentiment against MDWs.
“Yesterday was Labor Day, a day meant to uphold our rights as workers. We join migrant and local workers around the world in calls to strengthen our solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. We must continue to come together in the fight to end this pandemic. It is clear no one will protect us so we must speak for ourselves and our community. We will not be silenced in the face of being blamed and targeted with ongoing racial discrimination and stigmatization. We are an important part of Hong Kong society caring for Hong Kong families, and we demand the Hong Kong government answer why we are being so strongly singled out and why these new policies only apply to MDWs.”
Sringatin ended with a reminder to fellow MDWs. “We also reiterate our call to our fellow migrant domestic workers to strictly follow social distancing measures, health protocols like wearing face mask and washing of hands with soap or sanitizer.”###–
Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB)
a member of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA)
Association of Sri Lankans in Hong Kong (ASL-HK)
Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)
Far-East Overseas Nepalese Association – Hong Kong (FEONA-HK)
Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU-HKCTU)
Friends of Thai – Hong Kong (FOT-HK)Indonesian Migrants Muslim Alliance (GAMMI)Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union (IMWU)League of Indonesian Migrant Workers (LiPMI)
Overseas Nepali Workers’ Union (ONWU)
Thai Regional Alliance (TRA-HK)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)United Indonesians Against Overcharging (PILAR)