MANILA, Philippines — The Hong Kong government is planning to impose a new policy requiring domestic helpers to get anti-COVID jab before they are allowed to work there.
This new policy follows the Hong Kong government’s order on mandatory swab testing among domestic helpers after two foreign workers tested positive for a more contagious variant of COVID-19.
But according to Philippine Consulate General Rally Tejada, the new policy would discriminate against domestic helpers as it is exclusively directed to their sector.
“It would have been better if concerned consulate generals like the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries of origin were consulted on this matter as it involves the substantive rights of our nationals,” he said.
“If vaccination becomes a condition to work in Hong Kong, then its application should be non-discriminatory so that there is no feeling among our foreign domestic workers that they are being singled out. Maraming non-residents [workers] din na similarly situated so bakit sila lang (There are many non-resident workers who are similarly situated, so why just them [domestic workers])?” he said.
Tejada said they will try to appeal the proposed policy even though the Hong Kong government has yet to announce its implementation.
“Wala pang date ng implementation ang mandatory vaccination sa mga mag-renew ng visa (There’s no date yet for the implementation of mandatory vaccination among those who wish to renew their visa) so we will try to convince the Hong Kong government to keep vaccination voluntary at huwag gawing kondisyon para makapagtrabaho (and not make it mandatory as a prerequisite for employment),” Tejada noted.
Currently, there are around 370,000 Filipinos living and working in Hong Kong. Of this number, more than 200,000 are foreign domestic workers, the Philippine Consulate General said.