British woman fighting to live with her civil partner in Hong Kong

Naith Payton May 14, 2015
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A woman is battling to be given the right to stay in Hong Kong, where her civil partner works.

The woman, known as QT, moved to the Chinese, formerly British, territory in 2011 after her civil partner got a job there.

She applied for a “dependant visa” – which spouses of foreign workers are eligible for – but was denied, and she currently only has a tourist visa.

This means she can only stay in Hong Kong for six months at a time and is unable to work.

Immigration rules do not specifically bar same-sex married couples, and unmarried straight partners are also not eligible for a dependant visa. Her legal challenge argues that she should be considered the spouse of her civil partner.

The woman’s lawyer said: “We say it is unreasonable, in old-fashioned review judicial review terms, in that it is discriminatory. We say that the Director of Immigration has misapplied the law in the understanding of what a spouse is.”

QT told AFP: “All I want is equal treatment. If our [straight] friends can easily get a dependant visa then why can’t we?

“I don’t want to be treated as a second-class citizen.”

Gay rights activist Billy Leung said: “The impact of the case will be big. It will affect a lot of people who wish to come to Hong Kong and whether Hong Kong can maintain our position as a place to do business.”

Hong Kong is viewed as socially conservative, although a report published in November last year found that 60% of the population supported legal protections for LGBT people.

More: Asia, China

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