Emerging from the Shadows

Sita was six months pregnant when she began to experience abdominal pains and bleeding. Worried something was wrong with her baby, she became frantic. A former domestic helper who had overstayed her visa, Sita was hiding from authorities and didn’t know what she could do to save her baby. She reached out to PathFinders…PathFinders met with Sita and learned that she began to work as a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong soon after finishing middle school, sending nearly her entire salary back to Indonesia to support her family. After six years of work she decided not to renew her contract because she could earn two times her domestic worker salary working in a restaurant. Overstaying her visa, she worked as a cook at a local restaurant, where she met her boyfriend, a Hong Kong resident. She became pregnant and goes into hiding until an emergency arises and Sita has no other choice but to look for help.

After PathFinders helped Sita to access emergency medical care, our caseworker sat down with Sita and her boyfriend to discuss resolving Sita’s immigration issue and their future plans. Sita and her boyfriend decide for her to give birth in Hong Kong and to get married.

PathFinders accompanied Sita to the Immigration Department to surrender and become recognised, as a starting point. At her court hearing, Sita was sentenced to two months for overstaying for over two years, but the sentence was suspended in consideration of the fact that she had surrendered and her pregnancy. That summer Sita got married and her baby was born soon after, gaining Hong Kong residency by virtue of his father’s residency status. PathFinders helped Sita and her husband to navigate the complex immigration regulations for her to obtain dependent status and residency, a procedure that took over a year. Now, feeling extremely fortunate and planning to return to work when her child reaches school age, Sita is happily and legally residing in Hong Kong with her husband and child.

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