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LCQ6: Children born in Hong Kong of Mainland residents with no right of abode

     Following is a reply by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by the Dr Hon Raymond Ho Chung-tai in the Legislative Council today (June 15):


     The Court of Final Appeal handed down the judgment on Chong Fung-yuen's case in 2001 that children of Chinese nationality born in Hong Kong to Chinese nationals have the right of abode (ROA) in Hong Kong, irrespective of whether or not their parents have settled or have ROA in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of children of Chinese nationality and have ROA in Hong Kong by virtue of the aforesaid judgment born in Hong Kong in each year since 2002 to Chinese nationals who are non-Hong Kong residents and have no ROA in Hong Kong, and among them, the number of those who have settled in Hong Kong at present; given that their parents are non-Hong Kong residents and have no ROA in Hong Kong, whether the authorities have taken any appropriate measure to ensure that the arrangement for such minors to settle in Hong Kong complies with the requirements of protecting the welfare of children and other related requirements in Hong Kong; and

(b) in case these persons who were born in Hong Kong and have ROA are in distress on the Mainland and seek assistance from the SAR Government prior to their official settlement in Hong Kong, whether they will be given assistance similar to that rendered to Hong Kong residents; if they will, whether it knows if their "Hong Kong resident status" is recognised by the authorities concerned on the Mainland?



     According to the Basic Law, Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong are Hong Kong permanent residents, and they shall have the right of abode. Regarding the two parts of the question, my reply is as follows:

(a) According to the information of the Immigration Department (ImmD), the number of children born in Hong Kong of Mainland residents with no right of abode in Hong Kong since 2002 is as follows:

Year               Number
----               ------
2002                1 250
2003                2 070
2004                4 102
2005                9 273
2006               16 044
2007               18 816
2008               25 269
2009               29 766
2010               32 653
2011 (up to May)   15 513

     Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong residents have freedom to travel and to enter or leave Hong Kong. The ImmD does not require Hong Kong residents to declare their place of residence when they depart or enter Hong Kong. As such, the ImmD does not have statistics on the number of the aforesaid children residing in Hong Kong.

     If parents, who are non-Hong Kong residents, leave their child aged below 18, who is a Hong Kong permanent resident, to the care of their relative in Hong Kong, they should make sure that the relative is able to take care of their child and assume the relevant responsibilities. If the family of the relative applies for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), the Social Welfare Department (SWD) will process the CSSA application in accordance with established policies and requirements. If the application is approved, the CSSA payments will cover the recognised needs of the child.

     As regards welfare services, all children who are Hong Kong permanent residents are eligible for the various welfare services provided by the SWD, including the continuum of services provided by the integrated family service centres over the territory. The SWD also provides various child care services through non-governmental organisations to children in need, including those parents of whom are not Hong Kong permanent residents. Fee subsidies are also available to service users who can pass the financial needs and other assessments.

     On education services, the Education Bureau will closely monitor the future demand on education services and formulate relevant measures to ensure adequate provision of public sector school places.

(b) The HKSAR Government has established mechanism to provide assistance to Hong Kong residents in distress outside Hong Kong. If Hong Kong residents, including the aforesaid children who are Hong Kong permanent residents, are distressed in the Mainland, they or their family members may approach the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the ImmD, the Office of the Government of the HKSAR in Beijing (BJO) or the Economic and Trade Office of the Government of the HKSAR in Guangdong (GDETO) for assistance. Having regard to the nature and circumstances of the cases and the volition of the assistance seekers, the ImmD, BJO or GDETO will render suitable assistance, such as providing information, issuing Entry Permits or facilitating the return of these residents, etc.

     On the other hand, according to the regulations of the Mainland, Hong Kong residents with Chinese nationality are required to obtain an "Entry-exit Permit for Travelling from and to Mainland for Hong Kong and Macao Residents" ("Home Visit Card") issued by the Mainland public security authority for entry into the Mainland. As such, the Mainland authorities will recognise the Hong Kong resident status of children by reference to the "Home Visit Card" they hold.

Ends/Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:44


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