The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (November 30) attended a parade to mark the 45th anniversary of the Immigration Service and the inauguration of the Immigration Service Institute of Training and Development (ISITD) in Tuen Mun.
"With staff who are competent, experienced and committed to pursuing service excellence, the Immigration Department will continue to stride ahead to provide excellent services to the public and visitors," Mr Tsang said.
"As an international centre for financial services, trade, logistics and tourism, Hong Kong is characterised by an immense volume of passenger and freight traffic. In the face of the sharp workload increases, the Immigration Department has made continuous efforts to enhance efficiency in service delivery at various control points, facilitating visitors and promoting business development as well as tourism. Its achievements are for everyone to see," he said.
"Since its establishment 45 years ago, services of the department have been extended from exercising immigration control in Hong Kong to issuing HKSAR passport, canvassing around the world for granting visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders and enforcing the provisions of the Basic Law on the right of abode. All these services are closely linked with people's lives."
"The department has also made innovative efforts in its services by assisting in launching new initiatives in response to the development of society, including the implementation of the Civil Celebrants of Marriages Scheme and the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme," Mr Tsang said. The first quality migrant has just set his foot on Hong Kong. The arrival of successful applicants under the scheme will surely reinforce Hong Kong's competitiveness.
The department's Hong Kong Smart Identity Card System and the Automated Clearance System implemented in recent years have won wide public acclaim. The Face Recognition System introduced last year has also achieved good results in intercepting people who attempt to gain entry into Hong Kong by using different identities.
"Early next year, the Immigration Department will take one big step forward by launching the biometric HKSAR passport, offering greater convenience to holders in travelling abroad," Mr Tsang said.
Mr Tsang also praised the soberness, professionalism and service oriented attitude the frontline officers displayed while providing assistance to Hong Kong residents in distress outside Hong Kong.
The ISITD inaugurated today is a 13-storey institute, floor area of 13,000 square metres and well-equipped with generic facilities. The ISITD provides comprehensive training to service staff to tie in with the fast-changing social environment and the increasing demand of clients for service delivery. In addition, the Institute will become a platform of exchange and training with Mainland and overseas immigration authorities with a view to broadening the staff's perspective.
The Immigration Department was set up in 1961 with a small establishment of 200 staff. Today, the department has developed into a disciplined force with more than 6,000 members providing multifarious services.
Taking part in today's anniversary parade were 186 Immigration officers from various commands of the Department.
Ends/Thursday, November 30, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:32