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LCQ3: Immigration Ordinance

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung in the Legislative Council today (October 27):


     Under the Immigration Ordinance (Cap.115), the Director of Immigration is empowered to exercise, on humanitarian and other grounds, discretion to allow a person without the right of abode in Hong Kong to remain in the territory. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of :

(a) the number of applications received by the Director of Immigration in each of the past five years for the exercise of the aforesaid discretionary power by him, broken down by the reasons for making applications;

(b) the number of cases in which the Director of Immigration exercised discretion to allow the applicants concerned to continue to remain in Hong Kong in each of the past five years, broken down by the reasons for making applications; and

(c) the factors taken into account by the Director of Immigration in exercising the aforesaid discretionary power, and among them, whether the basic human right of family reunion is taken into account?



     Whereas the Immigration Ordinance (Cap.115) clearly sets out the categories of persons having right to land and right of abode in Hong Kong, the Director of Immigration (the Director) may also exercise discretion to allow certain individuals to stay in Hong Kong.

     Our response to the three parts of the Member's question is as follows:

(a) and (b) From 2005 to end of September 2010, the Director exercised discretion to allow 129 persons to stay in Hong Kong.  Since the circumstances of each case are different, the Director, in exercising his discretion, will consider individual cases having regard to all relevant circumstances. It is therefore inappropriate to categorise the cases by making straight-forward references to the reason(s) for such applications.

(c) In exercising his discretion under the Ordinance, the Director will take into account the primary object of the Ordinance, which is to maintain effective immigration control.  Exceptions to the established immigration policies must be supported by unique and sufficient justifications. The Director will carefully consider the circumstances of individual cases, such as, whether the case is justified on sufficiently strong and convincing humanitarian grounds, and make a decision having regard to prevailing public interest. Based on the aforesaid, the concerned person's family situation can be one of the considerations.

Ends/Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:52


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