A Filipina mother has won a temporary legal victory in her fight to stay and look after her
seven-year-old daughter who is a permanent resident here in Hong Kong.
The Court of Appeal reversed the Director of Immigration's decision to refuse an application
by Milagros Tecson Comilang, a former domestic helper, to extend her stay in the territory.
In its judgment handed down on May 2, the CA directed the Director to make a fresh
determination based on the true nature of the application, which was for Comilang to stay and take care of
her young daughter, who is also an appellant in the case.
The Court said the Director's basis for his judgment was "apparently misconceived" since
it treated Comilang's bid as an application to remain as her daughter's dependant.
The applicant could not have sought this because her 7-year old daughter "was self-evidently
not in a position to support her mother."
To further illustrate the Director's misapplication of the Dependant Policy to the case, the
Court referred to the application as a "square peg" which was made to fit the "round hole of his
(the Director's) Dependant Policy."
The CA's judgment was, however, not entirely a victory for Comilang.
She now has to wait again for the Director of Immigration to decide on her application to
remain in Hong Kong based on the ground ascertained by the Court.Comilang worked as a domestic
helper until July 2005.
She was given permission to stay as a visitor until Oct. 10 of the same year.
But three days before the expiry of her visa, she married a Hong Kong permanent resident,
and subsequently applied for a change of status.
But the marriage broke down and the husband withdrew his sponsorship in 2007.
Last year, he obtained a decree of nullity of the marriage on the ground that he was
already married when he married Comilang.
The daughter, who was born in 2006, automatically became a permanent resident by virtue
of her being born in Hong Kong to a parent with the same status.