A British woman who battled for years to be given the same visa rights for couples as her opposite sex counterparts has finally triumphed. Known only as QT, she had tried to claim a dependent’s visa when her wife was given a job in Hong Kong. As the country does not recognise her civil partnership, she was given only a tourists visa and denied the right to work.
Speaking of the ruling, QT told reporters, “I was stunned. I was like, wow, have I actually done it, have we actually got there finally? I was tearful with joy. This is all I wanted for seven years”.
She continued, “Today’s ruling by the Court of Final Appeal affirms what millions of us in this wonderful and vibrant city know to be true- that discrimination based on sexual orientation is offensive and demeaning. It offends against Hong Kong’s core values and undermines the rule of law.”
Hong Kong very much relies on expatriate workers, which possibly played a big part in influencing the Court’s decision. Huge financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs had backed QT’s case as the outcome would greatly affect their ability to attract necessary non-national talent.
The Court stated, “The ability to bring in dependents is an important issue for persons deciding whether to move to Hong Kong.” It continued it was counter-productive to extend dependents visas to straight couples alone.
The case had previously been won in 2017 at the Court of Appeal, which had ruled that immigration services had “failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers”. The government subsequently challenged that result hence the case carrying on to the Court of Final Appeal. The landmark nature of the case could prove to have a knock on effect for other LGBT+ rights issues.
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