LCQ20: Immigration facilitation measures for Taiwan visitors

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


     The SAR Government has indicated that to enable Hong Kong to complement enhanced cross-strait relations, it is strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that since January last year, the Hong Kong SAR Government has implemented two new measures for the convenience of Taiwanese residents, which are the removal of the restriction that they may submit iPermit applications only twice within a 30-day period and extension of the limit of their stay in Hong Kong to 30 days, of the number of visits by Taiwanese residents visiting Hong Kong in the whole of last year, and how such figure compares with that in the year before the implementation of these measures;

(b) given that since September this year, Taiwan allows Hong Kong and Macao residents who were born in Hong Kong or Macao, are holders of a valid SAR passport and have visited Taiwan before, to submit an on-line application for entry permit and print their own permit for travelling to Taiwan with the fee waived, whether it knows the number to date of visits to Taiwan by Hong Kong people by means of this method and how the number of visits to Taiwan by Hong Kong residents since September this year compares with that for the same period in the previous year;

(c) whether the authorities have further explored relevant facilitating measures in respect of immigration arrangements for residents in both places; if so, of the specific contents; if not, the reasons for that; and

(d) whether the authorities will conduct a research on the possible impact on the local tourism industry of the measures for facilitating immigration clearance implemented by the Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan for residents of the three places; if they will, of the specific contents; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply :


     Our response to the four parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The arrival figures of Taiwan visitors were 2,318,000 and 2,103,000 in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The relevant number from January to September 2010 was 1,691,000.

(b) Over 70% of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport holders are eligible for the simplified entry permit application measure implemented by the Taiwanese authorities since last month. The HKSAR Government does not have the number of Hong Kong residents applying for entry permit for, or entering, Taiwan.

(c) and (d) Apart from our facilitation measures relating to iPermit and multiple entry permit, Taiwan visitors holding "Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents" (MTP) may visit Hong Kong for seven days without the need to apply for any endorsement (i.e. "permit-free") since April 27, 2009. In the first nine months of this year, about 80% of the Taiwan visitors benefited from this "permit-free" arrangement on the strength of their MTPs. The HKSAR Government will continue to pursue further measures to facilitate the entry of Taiwan visitors, with a view to striking a balance between the maintaining of effective immigration control and the provision of reciprocal facilitation arrangements.

     Moreover, the HKSAR Government has been in close contact with the Central Government in further facilitating Mainlanders to visit Hong Kong. Measures implemented include, effective April 1, 2009, enabling Shenzhen permanent residents to apply for one-year multiple individual visit endorsement for Hong Kong; and effective December 15, 2009, enabling non-Guangdong residents ordinarily residing in Shenzhen to apply in Shenzhen for individual visit endorsement for Hong Kong.  

     The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) monitors the impact of various immigration facilitation measures on tourism performance. When a new immigration facilitation measure is implemented, the HKTB monitors closely any changes in the number and types of visitors and, where necessary, examines the causes and adjusts its strategy.

Ends/Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:53