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LCQ8: Immigration control

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Chim Pui-chung in the Legislative Council today (March 9):


     I was once sentenced to one year's imprisonment, and actually served eight months.  Over the past twelve years, I made several applications for visas to visit Australia but all of them were rejected.  Regarding applications from Hong Kong residents for visas to visit Australia, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows if the Australian government has a set of blacklists of Hong Kong residents to whom no entry visa to Australia will be issued;

(b) whether it will help those Hong Kong residents in need to obtain visas to visit Australia; and

(c) whether the Government has considered treating those Australian nationals with the same profile and background in the same way by refusing their entry into Hong Kong; if it has not, of the reasons for that?



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

(a) and (b) Each independent jurisdiction has the authority to process individual entry applications, having regard to its immigration control policies and the actual circumstances.  According to international practice, the immigration authorities are not obliged to account for each refusal decision.  Therefore, we do not have details of how the Australian Government processes individual visa applications.  Upon receipt of assistance requests concerning refused visas applications, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will, depending on the circumstances of the case, communicate with the authorities of the relevant jurisdiction.  At the policy level, whilst we respect the independent exercise of immigration control by other governments in accordance with their laws, we will continue to strive for further visa-free arrangements and travel convenience for Hong Kong residents.

(c) Hong Kong welcomes genuine visitors from all over the world and adopts a liberal immigration policy to facilitate their visits.  The Immigration Department will handle all entry applications independently in accordance with the law and relevant policy of the HKSAR and having regard to the circumstances of individual cases.

Ends/Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:16


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