Monthly report –May, 2012
Yvette,Hung-Yu, Pan, @APMM
This time, I am going to present what I have learnt from APMM in two sections, which are the situation of Mainland marriage migrants and the leading grassroots organization ‘New arrival women legal’ in Hong Kong, secondly, the brief introduction of International Migrants Alliance (IMA).
1. The situation of Mainland marriage migrants in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is well-known for ‘city of Capitalism’ because of its financial industry, international business, without saying, it has several issues could be disused in this big city where has 7.5 million people live. ‘Marriage migrants’ is one of main projects of APMM, without saying, issues of marriage migrants are a trend in global society nowadays. According to APMM’s book ‘For better or For worse’, around 35% of marriages registered in Hong Kong government involved a spouse from Mainland China.
‘Mainland Marriage migrants’ is one of social issues and they are kind of scapegoats in Hong Kong, at the same time, majority of locals are struggling for the economical recession, unfortunately, they automatically typecast marriage migrants, thinking that these new comers have caused many problems and tried to occupy any Hong Kong social welfare service. Based on locals stereotype, largely created by HK media, Mainland Chinese women are too lazy to work and they are all just greedy so they need access to the CSSA (Comprehensive Social Security Assistance), this is our of truth and very unfair for them.
In reality, the reasons has made Hong Kong decrease economic development are several, it cannot ignore both global economic impact and a unbalanced social structure would be the two factors lead to economic downturns, unfortunately, it seems that many locals do not understand that global economic impact has not only happened here but also most countries in the world, they do not criticize the whole unfair social structure, still, they question about minority groups to take benefits from HK government. The issues of Mainland marriage migrants is to explain the Hong Kong society how to treat so called ‘new arrivals’ like second class citizens even most of them work hard and contribute tax to Hong Kong government in this period of economic recession.
For Mainland marriage migrants, the situation in Hong Kong is very difficult, once they immigrant to Hong Kong to reunion with their sponsors, the Mainland China government immediately cancel their census data, which means they have no chance to regret but stay here. In addition, any academic qualification or work experience in Mainland China are not accepted in Hong Kong so that these Mainland Chinese women are uneasy to find jobs here, only limitation labor works are suitable for them.
***For more information about NAWL, go to visit APMM website to download the free soft copy ‘new lives, new roots- life stories of marriage migrants’.
1.2The New Arrival Women’s League
Ms. Yeung Mei is a young-looking middle age woman with three daughters, she is the leader of New Arrival Women Legal, a leading marriage migrants’ grassroots organization in Hong Kong, Ms. Yeung has jointed this organization since 2003,till 2011, the NAWL has 269 members. As she said, ‘we wanted to be treated the same way Hong Kong people were; we deserved the same rights’. Being a marriage migrant over than 20 years, According to her previously experiences, Ms. Yeung Mei has totally realized how hard for a newcomer to survive in this intense material city. She pointed out most marriage migrants lack of confidence in any aspect, such as to go out to find a job or just to ask helping, in particular, based on the authoritarianism place where they from, most members were shy or embarrassed about explaining their difficulties when they have to meet up with officials. In particular, because of those newcomers’ difficulty situations, NAWL has hosted training program to assist those Mainland Chinese women to adjust their life. Communication skills training is a good example, Mei taught the new members to practice communication so they can organize their sentences to speak out their needs fluency when they have to meet up officers in any situations.
For long- term organization development, she also believes cooperation is the core value for a small grassroots group so her group has tried her best to network more organizations. NAWL usually strengthen contacts with other HK organizations that were campaigning about other social issues. They were invited to the activities of these groups like symposia and workshops where issues as resident’s retirement policy and increasing public housing were considered.
Since April, 2012, APMM has become one of NAWL’s partnership organizations and NAWL has officially joined AMMORE (Action Network for Marriage Migrants’ Rights& Empowerment) network. Otherwise, APMM is going to start one hour ‘English training course’ every weeks at NAWL’s office for solidify our friendship, hope thought this English course to get more understanding with each other and help marriage migrants to consider migrants issues in-depth.
2. Introduction of IMA (International Migrants Alliance)
APMM is one of the main partnership alliances of IMA. International Migrants Alliance is the first global alliance from the grassroots, and its International Secretariat is based in Hong Kong. It present in almost all major global regions, such as Latin America, North America, Asia-pacific, Africa, and Europe. IMA is a broad international alliance made up progressive and anti-imperialist migrant organizations of different nationalities. Since June 2008, the IMA was founded by 108 organizations from 25 countries and composed primarily of grassroots migrant’s organization. Meanwhile, more than 30 institutions and NGOs that offer services to migrants have participated the founding assembly.
IMA is a broad international-level alliance, its mission is to voice migrant workers who are labors in household, in factories, in restaurants and in almost other fields.
During the 5th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) took place in December 1-2, 2011 in Switzerland. APMM provided GFMD research result for IMA to present the GFMD impact on migrants’ rights.
1. 2008 founding assembly documents, International Migrants Alliance
2. IMA website: http://internationalmigrants.org/cms/
3. New Lives, New Roots-live stories of marriage migrants, 2011 APMM
4. For better or for worse: comparative research on equity and access for marriage migrants