HONG KONG : THE FACTS Immigration Hong Kong has established itself as one of the world's 2011, 49 021 Mainland talents and professionals were major destinations for tourists and business visitors. In admitted under the scheme. 2011, passenger arrivals and departures totalled 253 The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme was million. implemented on June 28, 2006. The scheme is a quota- The Immigration Department is responsible for two based entrant scheme and operated on a points-based main areas: for control of people moving into and out of system. It seeks to attract highly skilled or talented persons Hong Kong by land, sea and air; and the documentation of from the Mainland and overseas to settle in Hong Kong in local residents, including the processing of applications order to enhance Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness relating to the Chinese Nationality Law and claims to right in the global market. Successful applicants are not of abode under the Basic Law (BL), the issue of travel required to secure an offer of local employment before documents and identity cards, and the registration of births, taking up residence in Hong Kong. As at the end of 2011, a deaths and marriages. total of 2 094 applicants were allocated quotas. The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme was Immigration Control: Hong Kong has all along adopted implemented on October 27, 2003. The objective of the a liberal and open immigration policy. Nationals of about scheme is to facilitate the entry for residence by capital 170 countries and territories are allowed visa-free investment entrants, i.e. persons who make capital visits to Hong Kong for periods ranging from 7 to 180 investment in Hong Kong but would not be engaged in the days. Professionals and businessmen are welcome running of any business here. Entrants under this scheme to work and invest in Hong Kong. While every effort is are allowed to make their choice of investments amongst made to facilitate the entry of visitors and those who permissible investment assets without the need to contribute to Hong Kong’s development and prosperity, establish or join in a business. The investment threshold immigration controls are designed and operated to prevent under this scheme has been raised from $6.5 million to the entry of undesirable persons. Immigration can have a $10 million with effect from October 14, 2010. As at the direct or indirect effect on such fields as housing, trade, end of 2011, 19 984 entrant applications were received. Of tourism, economy, education, employment, aviation, which, 15 417 applications were approved, including shipping, crime prevention and public order. All these 13 111 for formal approval and 2 306 for approval-in- factors have to be taken into account in the operation of principle. The amount of investments made under the controls. scheme totalled $94.89 billion. Every visitor to Hong Kong must have adequate funds The Immigration Arrangements for Non-local for the visit and an onward booking. Persons applying for Graduates was launched on May 19, 2008 to complement permission to live, work or study in Hong Kong are the policy initiative “Developing Hong Kong as a Regional required to obtain visas or entry permits before arrival. Education Hub”. Persons from outside the HKSAR who After reunification, the BL provides the Hong Kong have obtained a degree or higher qualification in a full-time Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government with and locally-accredited programme in Hong Kong (non-local full autonomy on immigration control matters. graduates) may apply to stay/return and work in Hong Kong under the arrangement. Successful applicants Policies to Attract Talent and Capital: Overseas may be granted 12 months’ stay on time limitation without professionals who possess special skills, knowledge or other conditions of stay. They are free to take up and experience of value to and not readily available in Hong change employment during their permitted stay without the Kong, or who are in a position to make substantial need to seek prior approval from the Immigration contributions to the economy, may apply to work here Department. As at the end of 2011, 15 359 non-local under the General Employment Policy (GEP). Applicants graduates were approved to work in Hong Kong under this must have a confirmed offer of employment, the arrangement. remuneration package of which must be broadly Persons admitted under the aforesaid policy schemes commensurate with the prevailing market rate of Hong or arrangement may apply to bring in their spouse and Kong. In 2011, 30 557 overseas professionals were unmarried dependent children below the age of 18 under admitted under the GEP. prevailing dependant policy. The Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals was implemented on July 15, 2003 with Facilitation of Passenger Movements: In 2011, the total assessment criteria in line with those under the GEP. The number of passengers moving into and out of Hong Kong objective of this scheme is to attract qualified Mainland was 253 million, an increase of 5.2 per cent compared with talent and professionals to work in Hong Kong in order to 241 million in 2010. The number of visitors travelling to meet local manpower needs and enhance Hong Kong's Hong Kong increased from 36.05 million in 2010 to 41.93 competitiveness in the globalised market. The scheme has million in 2011, increased by 16.3 per cent. This included no sectoral restrictions and allows intra-company transfer 27.88 million from the Mainland and 2.19 million from of senior managers and professionals. As at the end of Taiwan. Lo Wu continues to be the busiest control point. In 17 to submit their passport applications through self- 2011, 92.83 million passengers passed through this control service kiosks installed at the Wan Chai Immigration point. To further strengthen the economic relation between Tower. Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region, 24-hour The department started to issue the smart identity clearance service for cross-boundary passengers was cards on June 23, 2003 and the territory-wide identity card introduced at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point on January replacement exercise launched on August 18, 2003 was 27, 2003. The total passenger throughput there in 2011 completed on March 31, 2007. On November 30, 2008, all was 31.37 million. the old identity cards issued before June 23, 2003 were To enhance immigration clearance efficiency and declared invalid. Holders of old identity cards who have not overall passenger and vehicle throughput, the department replaced their identity cards during the specified call-up introduced the Entry/Exit Processing and Records System periods due to their absence from Hong Kong may apply at all control points in 2004, followed by the phased for new identity cards within 30 days of their return to Hong implementation of the Automated Passenger Clearance Kong. and Automated Vehicle Clearance Systems (collectively known as e-Channels) since December 2004. The e- Chinese Nationality Matters: After the reunification, the Channels facilitate eligible smart identity card holders to department started to process applications relating to the perform self-service clearance at all control points. Chinese Nationality Law. In 2011, a total of 152 The department further extended the e-Channel applications were received for declaration of change of services to cross boundary primary school students under nationality, 1 219 for acquisition of Chinese nationality, 52 the age of 11 and frequent visitors since December 2007 for renunciation of Chinese nationality and 15 for and May 2008 respectively. To provide faster immigration restoration of Chinese nationality. clearance to enrolled Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above who are existing e-Channel users, a pilot scheme Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Outside Hong for Express e-channel has commenced at the Lo Wu Kong: Hong Kong residents outside Hong Kong in need of Control Point in March 2009. assistance (e.g. those who have lost their travel Besides, to further enhance immigration facilitation for documents, being involved in traffic accidents, being Hong Kong and Macao residents, both the Hong Kong and arrested or detained) may approach the Chinese Macao immigration authorities have introduced in diplomatic and consular missions overseas, the December 2009 the e-Channel service to eligible Macao Immigration Sections of the Office of the Government of and Hong Kong residents who may use the authomated the HKSAR in Beijing and the Economic and Trade Office clearance service at designated control points of the other of the Government of the HKSAR in Guangdong, or the side after successful enrollment. As at end December 2011, Immigration Department in Hong Kong. In 2011, a total of a total of 378 passenger e-Channels and 80 vehicular e- 4 045 requests for assistance were received. Channels had been installed at all control points. To further enhance immigration facilitation for Registration of Outbound Travel Information (ROTI): Mainland visitors, the department has begun the enrolment Before travelling abroad, Hong Kong residents can use the service of e-channel for eligible Mainland frequent visitors ROTI service to register their contact details and itinerary. holding Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong The information they provide allows the Assistance to Kong and Macao since December 5, 2011. The e-channels Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Hong Kong Immigration services are also provided to enrolled Mainland frequent Department to contact and assist them in an emergency visitors in phases from Jan 2012 onwards at 6 control outside Hong Kong. Points including Lo Wu, Macau Ferry Terminal and Hong Kong International Airport, etc. Illegal Immigration: In 2011, the number of Mainland illegal immigrants intercepted was 1 631, representing a Right of Abode: Under the law, Hong Kong permanent decrease of 30.3 per cent when compared with 2 340 residents have the right of abode in the HKSAR. Article 24 arrested in 2010. Some of the illegal immigrants came to of the BL sets out six categories of persons who are Hong Kong to take up unlawful employment while some permanent residents of the HKSAR. On July 1, 1997, the came here to meet their families and relatives. The number Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) was amended to align of Mainland pregnant illegal immigrants in 2011 was 6, the right of abode provisions with those in the BL. which represented a decrease of 14.3 per cent when The Certificate of Entitlement Scheme was introduced compared with 7 in 2010. on July 10, 1997. Under the scheme, a person’s status as a Hong Kong permanent resident by descent can only be Administration: Since its formation in 1961, the established by holding his valid travel document affixed Immigration Department has expanded from 73 uniformed with his certificate of entitlement. and 128 civilian staff to the present establishment of 5 The Registration of Persons Ordinance (Cap. 177) 190uniformed officers and 1 464 civilians as at December and subsidiary legislation provide for the issue of 31, 2011. Its size and range of responsibilities now permanent identity cards to Hong Kong permanent bear little resemblance to the embryonic organisation of residents. The permanent identity card contains a 1961. statement that the holder has the right of abode in Hong The work is carried out by Immigration Headquarters Kong. in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, branch offices and registries located throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon and the Passports and Identity Cards: The department started to New Territories; and from the 13 points of entry and issue HKSAR Passport on July 1, 1997 and a total of departure. The 13 control points are located at the airport, 575 867 were issued in 2011 The HKSAR passport is the harbour, the River Trade Terminal, the Hong Kong- technically advanced. Since February 5, 2007, the Macau Ferry Terminal, the China Ferry Terminal, the Tuen department has started to issue electronic passports with Mun Ferry Terminal, Lo Wu, Man Kam To, Sha Tau Kok, enhanced security features. With effect from December 22, Lok Ma Chau, MTR Lok Ma Chau Station, MTR Hung Hom 2007, applicants aged 18 or above may apply for a HKSAR Station for through trains to and from the Mainland, as well passport via the Internet and this service was extended to as the first control point with co-location facilities at applicants aged 11-17 from November 30, 2009. Starting Shenzhen Bay of Shekou, Shenzhen. from August 25, 2008, applicants aged 18 or above may The Enforcement Division processed 46 594 also submit their passport applications via the self-service investigations. 76 404 stops, 8 099 searches, 6 823 arrests kiosks. With effect from December 29, 2011, a pilot and 9 782 detentions were made. 6 498 offenders were programme was launched for eligible applicants aged 11- prosecuted. In 2011, 559 639 applications for issue of identity The Third Information Systems Strategy (ISS-3) cards were received. Besides, a total of 26 725 copies of Review by an external consultant was completed in Certificates of Registered Particulars were issued. September 2010. During 2011, the Births and Deaths Registry Thereafter, the department has since started in registered 95 348 births and 42 188 deaths while the phases to carry out feasibility studies (FS) on the Marriage Registry registered 57 883 marriages. information system recommended in the Review. Following The introduction of the Civil Celebrants of Marriages completion of FS on the New Information Technology Scheme since April 21, 2006 has brought greater Infrastructure (ITI) in October 2011, the department convenience to marrying parties in their choice of place successfully obtained from the LegCo Finance Committee and time for wedding. For the period from April 21, 2006 in December 2011 a commitment of $862 million for to December 31, 2011, 118 167 couples (representing implementation of the project. FS on the next generation 40.26% of the marriages celebrated in the same Immigration Control System (ICONS) had also period) had their marriages celebrated through the civil commenced in August 2011 and is scheduled to complete celebrants. in mid 2012. Annual Passenger Movements 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Air 25 977 500 28 077 500 30 146 100 30 169 500 29 243 900 33 276 800 35 494 179 Land 143 865 200 150 780 900 161 175 700 166 105 200 169 968 000 181 852 000 190 618 159 Sea 21 573 800 23 337 300 26 532 100 26 703 000 23 908 200 25 918 500 27 291 600 Total 191 416 500 202 195 700 217 853 900 222 977 700 223 120 100 241 047 300 253 403 938 Travel Documents in Circulation 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 HKSAR Passports 3 326 200 3 670 115 3 920 780 3 934 288 4 088 337 4 261 263 4 524 015 Documents of Identity 286 300 304 500 310 100 312 037 324 728 321 647 334 635 HKSAR Re-entry Permit 481 000 469 900 473 100 493 778 509 749 535 504 561 830 Published by the Information Services Department, Immigration Department Home Page Address: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government http://www.immd.gov.hk/ August 2012 GovHK Website: http://www.gov.hk Information contained in this publication may be freely used. No acknowledgement is necessary.
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