Hong Kong gay rights: British lesbian wins spousal visa case

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Hong Kong gay rights: British lesbian wins spousal visa case

A British woman known as QT, who spent years in Hong Kong courts fighting for dependant visa rights for her female partner, has finally won her case.

According to the Immigration Department, a dependent visa may be granted to a spouse, unmarried dependant, children under 18 or parents aged 60 or over of a sponsor who is a Hong Kong resident who is not subject to a limit of stay.

"The director (of Immigration) has therefore failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers", the judges wrote.

The woman, known as QT, applied a judicial review a year ago after the Immigration Department refused to grant her a dependant visa through her same-sex partner who was working in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's government and courts had previously refused to recognise the civil partnership which a lesbian couple known only as SS and QT attained in Britain.

"Whilst one-ness, together-ness, joint-ness and mutuality are hallmarks of a heterosexual marriage relationship, they are not, or no longer, exclusive to such a relationship", the judgment added.

Campaigners say this is a landmark case that could lead to greater equality.

Activists and members of the LGBT community applauded the decision.

"Excluding a foreign worker's lawfully married [albeit same-sex] spouse or civil partner.to join the worker is, quite obviously, counter-productive to attracting the worker to come to or remain in Hong Kong to work in the first place", the ruling read.

Twelve top financial institutions including Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley submitted their views to the court earlier this year, saying that diverse hiring practices were crucial to attracting and retaining top talent.

The Immigration Department said in reply to Xinhua on Monday evening that it is carefully reviewing the judgment and will consider further actions by consulting legal advice.

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