2013-08-06 Asylum seekers in Hong Kong
The status of asylum seekers is a sensitive topic in many parts of the world.
From Hispanics trying to enter the US or Asian boat people trying to enter Australia to Africans trying to enter Europe - this is a hot topic for governments.
Complicating the issue is the role of "people smugglers" ...and the fact that many asylum seekers are in fact economic migrants hoping for a better life - seeking to escape from conditions like those in Bangladesh where some 60% of young people cannot find even a menial job.
Recently there have been media programs and articles about refugee children in Hong Kong being denied an education. Surely this is a non-negotiable: no matter what the status of parents, children should not be denied an education.
A Hong Kong university professor has also raised the possibility of giving temporary work visas to some asylum seekers, rather than importing foreign workers to ease the current labour shortage. Such a move makes good sense. One reason for so much crime (theft, drugs, violence etc) among Hong Kong's asylum seekers is unemployment.
c.f. July 21 Cable TV program
c.f. January 3 SCMP article