Hong Kong worried about rising illegal Pak migrants

      Hong Kong Immigration Department Assistant Director Corrado Chow has expressed concern over the rising trend of illegal immigrants from Pakistan. "There may be some 10, 000 illegal immigrants of which 6,400 have applied for a visa under UN conventions against torture in their home country, including over 2,700 from Pakistan alone," The Daily Times quoted him, as saying. Briefing reporters, he said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China, but enjoyed a high degree of autonomy over its affairs, including immigration control. To a query, he said 2,400 illegal immigrants from Pakistan had been identified. "They had entered by boats or ferries etc without any visa or legal documents," he said. Chow said Hong Kong was a small city and already accommodated seven million people, adding that the city did not have space for any more immigrants. A new provision to the Immigration Ordinance will now subject illegal entrants to removal or deportation. They will also be prohibited from taking up paid or unpaid employment, or establishing or participating in any business. Under the new provisions, illegal immigrants of any kind are liable on conviction to pay a fine of 6,410 dollars and to imprisonment of three years if found in paid or unpaid employment. To another query, Chow said visitors from any country with valid visa of China could not travel to Hong Kong. About future changes in the visa policy of Hong Kong, Chow said a country took into account a number of factors, including immigration and security risks, social, economic and trade relations, reciprocity, track record of visitors as well as the updated situation and development of the country, adding that changes might be done if needed. However, Chow said Hong Kong had a liberal and open immigration policy.

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