Lesbian wins landmark High Court ruling to get spousal visa in Hong Kong

An expatriate lesbian in Hong Kong has just won an historic court ruling recognizing her right to a dependant visa.

She was will now have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The British woman, known only as QT, moved to Hong Kong in 2011 with her partner, SS, who had just been employed there.

The women were in a civil partnership, but it was not recognized in Hong Kong. QT was only granted a 12 month working visa after being in Hong Kong on tourist visas.

So QT launched a case in May 2015 where she took the Hong Kong Immigration Department to court. In March last year her case was knocked back in the High Court.

Historic court decison

But today the Court of Appeals today handed down its ruling, in favour of QT.

Three judges, Honourable Cheung CJHC, Lam VP and Poon JA presided over the case. They agreed unanimously on the decision handed down in a 68-page ruling.

The judges ruled the Director of Immigration had not been able to prove the rationality of the department’s Eligibility Requirement.

‘The Director has therefore failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers from the Eligibility Requirement,’ Cheung wrote in the ruling.

‘Discrimination based on sexual orientation, like any other form of discrimination, offends the cardinal principle of equality.

‘An unmarried couple, whether heterosexual or homosexual, in a stable, long term and committed relationship can have exactly the same sort of interdependent relationship as a married couple.’

The three judges ordered the Immigration Department and QT to come up with a draft proposal within 28 days based on the judgement.

Winning rights in Court

Today’s landmark decision comes only a few months after a gay, married civil servant has won a landmark court case to receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

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