For discussion EC(95-96)65
on 13 December 1995
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 151 - GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT : SECURITY BRANCH
HEAD 30 - CORRECTIONAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
HEAD 70 - IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary posts until 31 March 1997 -
Government Secretariat - Security Branch
1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B
(D3) ($111,100 - $117,750)
1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
(D2) ($95,550 - $101,450)
Correctional Services Department
1 Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services
(GDS(C)2) ($95,550 - $101,450)
1 Assistant Director of Immigration
(GDS(C)2) ($95,550 - $101,450)
There will be no directorate officers to deal with the repatriation of Vietnamese Migrants (VMs) and other related problems of VMs, and the resettlement of the Vietnamese Refugees (VRs) when the four supernumerary posts lapse on 31 March 1996.
2. Having regard to the progress of the VM repatriation programme, the Secretary for Security (S for S) proposes to retain the following posts until 31 March 1997 -
- 1 supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade B in Government Secretariat : Security Branch;
- 1 supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C in Government Secretariat : Security Branch;
- 1 supernumerary post of Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services in Correctional Services Department; and
- 1 supernumerary post of Assistant Director of Immigration in Immigration Department.
3. At present, there are over 20 000 VMs still in Hong Kong. Almost all of them have been determined to be non-refugees and are awaiting repatriation to Vietnam, in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan of Action, the internationally agreed strategy for dealing with the VM issue. Our prime objective has been to speed up the repatriation of these VMs. However, legislative initiatives in the US Congress have engendered fresh hopes of re-screening and resettlement. Consequently, the number of VMs volunteering to go home has dropped significantly - only about 1 500 went home in the first eleven months of 1995, as compared with 4 285 in 1994 and 6 618 in 1993. In addition, the VMs have remained resistant to the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP). This makes repatriation more difficult.
4. The VM issue is a difficult problem the resolution of which requires careful handling and hard negotiations with foreign governments and liaison with relevant agencies. For instance, we need to negotiate and liaise with the Vietnamese Government and the international community with a view to securing the early repatriation of all remaining VMs and the resettlement of the VRs still in Hong Kong.
5. The Administration remains committed to solving the VM problem and closing all VM camps as soon as possible. We now envisage that the four directorate posts listed in paragraph 2 above will be required up to or shortly before 31 March 1997. S for S will keep under close review the rate of repatriation of VMs and the continued need of these posts.
6. Over the VM issue, Security Branch provides input at the strategic level. The Administrative Officer Staff Grade B post, designated as Refugee Co-ordinator (RC), is responsible for formulating policies and operational procedures to deal with the VM problem, general supervision of the management of refugee camps and detention centres, the repatriation of screened-out VMs, and representing Hong Kongs interests at international conferences on the VM problem.
7. The Administrative Officer Staff Grade C post, designated as Principal Assistant Secretary (Security) Vietnamese [PAS(S)V], assists RC in negotiations with the Vietnamese Government, preparing for Hong Kongs participation in international conferences on the VM problem, and matters relating to the implementation of VM policies and legislation, including the repatriation of VMs, resettlement of VRs, general supervision of the management of refugee camps and detention centres, and liaison with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on VM matters.
8. S for S proposes the retention of the supernumerary posts of RC and PAS(S)V until 31 March 1997. The duty lists of RC and PAS(S)V and an organisation chart of Security Branch are at Enclosures 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
9. There are about 15 000 VMs in CSD managed centres as at 15 September 1995. Although virtually all VMs now in the detention centres have been screened-out as non-refugees and are not eligible for overseas resettlement, most of the VMs still retain false hopes of overseas resettlement.
10. The management and repatriation of VMs is a difficult and delicate task which requires continued directorate leadership. S for S therefore proposes the retention of the supernumerary post of AC(VM), i.e. an officer at Assistant Commissioner level in CSD, until 31 March 1997. The duty list of AC(VM) and an organisation chart of CSD are at Enclosures 4 and 5.
11. Although the screening of VMs who arrived before 1994 has been completed, most of the VMs who have been screened out as non-refugees still hold out hopes for overseas resettlement, some of them even resort to lawsuits to fight for a change of their non-refugee status or challenge their detention. We need an officer in the ID with sufficient experience and expertise to arrange and authorise detention, transfer, deportation, repatriation and resettlement since any error in judgement may lead to subsequent legal challenges and serious legal and financial consequences.
12. In addition, this officer is responsible for arranging for the resettlement overseas of Vietnamese refugees. To achieve this, he has to work closely with the UNHCR, the UK Government, and the consulates of the resettlement countries. He is also responsible for arranging for the repatriation of the Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants and their spouse / dependants to China. This involves continuous negotiation with officials of the Office for Reception and Settlement of Indo-Chinese Refugees in various provinces of China. Furthermore, the processing and enforcement of deportation of Vietnamese criminal offenders involve close liaison with the British Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Government.
13. To ensure that these tasks continue to be discharged effectively, S for S proposes to retain the supernumerary post of AD(VR) until 31 March 1997. The duty list of AD(VR) and an organisation chart of ID are at Enclosures 6 and 7.
14. The total notional annual salary cost of the four supernumerary posts at MID-POINT is $4,920,600 as follows -
No. of Posts
Administrative Officer Staff Grade B
Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services
Assistant Director of Immigration
If Members approve this proposal, we shall include sufficient provision in the 1996-97 draft Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal. The proposal has no other financial or staffing implications.
15. Four Personal Secretary I posts (with a total notional annual mid-point salary of $959,520) have been created to service the four supernumeray Directorate posts. Should Members approve this proposal, we shall retain the four Personal Secretary I posts for another year.
16. We first created the RC and PAS(S)V posts under delegated authority in November 1988 and June 1989 respectively to provide the Secretary for Security with directorate support in dealing with the problems caused by the large number of VMs in Hong Kong.
17. We first created the AC(VM) post under delegated authority on 1 July 1989 for a period of six months to deal with the increasing workload generated by the influx of VMs.
18. We first created the AD(VR) post under delegated authority on 7 November 1988 for a period of six months to assist in the formulation of policy relating to the VMs and VR issue, to oversee the vetting and screening of VMs, and to deal with the resettlement of refugees and the voluntary repatriation of VMs.
19. Given the continuing need for these posts, we have sought the retention of the posts annually, the last retention being up to 31 March 1996.
20. The Civil Service Branch considers that the ranking and grading of the proposed posts are appropriate.
21. As the posts are proposed on a supernumerary basis, if Members approve their retention, we shall report their retention to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service and the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service.
Enclosure 1 to EC (95-96)65
The Refugee Co-ordinator is the head of the Vietnamese Division. He is responsible to the Secretary for Security for policy matters relating to VMs and VRs.
Description of Duties
- To formulate policies and operational procedures to deal with the problems of VMs and VRs.
- To plan and co-ordinate the return of screened-out VMs under the Orderly Repatriation Programme.
- To monitor the voluntary repatriation programme, which is the principal means of securing the return of VMs to Vietnam under the Comprehensive Plan of Action. While the programme is administered by the UNHCR, Hong Kong Government provides logistical support and views on how repatriation might be accelerated.
- To negotiate with the Vietnamese Government on VM issues.
- To liaise closely with Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Embassy / Hanoi, non-government organisations and consulates on the repatriation and resettlement of VMs/VRs.
- To attend international conference on VM problem.
Enclosure 2 to EC (95-96)65
Description of Duties
- To assist the Refugee Co-ordinator in the formulation and review of policy on VMs and VRs.
- To co-ordinate and implement policy relating to the repatriation of VMs and Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants, deportation of VM criminals and the resettlement of VRs.
- To co-ordinate the general management of refugee camp and detention centres.
- To review regularly the legislation relating to VMs and VRs.
- To liaise with the UNHCR, non-government organisations and consulates on VM and VR matters.
- To direct and co-ordinate local publicity, community liaison and information activities on VM and VR matters.
- To deal with various legal challenges, appeals and claims by VMs.
Enclosure 4 to EC (95-96)65
The Assistant Commissioner (Vietnamese Migrants) is in command of all Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres run by the Department. He is responsible to the Deputy Commissioner for the administration and overall direction of the Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres.
Description of Duties
- To plan, direct, co-ordinate and control all matters regarding the management of Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres under the care of the Department and the treatment of VM residents therein.
- To monitor the proper implementation of government policy on VMs.
- To assist in the promulgation of Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centre Standing Orders and issue instructions and guidelines on the management of CSD-run Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres and on the treatment of VMs in these centres.
- To oversee estimates and expenditure of funds allocated to the Vietnamese Migrants Division.
- To maintain a high level of staff morale and standard of discipline of staff working in CSD-run Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres.
- To liaise with policy branches, other government departments, the UNHCR and other non-Governmental organisations on matters concerning the management of Vietnamese Migrants Detention Camps and the treatment of camp residents.
- To be responsible for -
- actions to be taken in response to petitions, complaints and litigations concerning the management of Vietnamese Migrants Detention Centres or the treatment and detention of VMs;
- dealing with appeals made by camp residents against the findings and/or punishments awarded by Superintendents in a disciplinary hearing;
- the formulation of replies to queries made by the public; and
- preparing, with the assistance of a Principal Information Officer, response, to media reports on VM matters.
Enclosure 6 to EC (95-96)65
The Assistant Director (Vietnamese Refugees) is personally involved in the exercise of statutory powers under the Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115, in respect of the screening, detention, stay and removal of all VMs and VRs in Hong Kong. He is also responsible for operational matters relating to the detention and repatriation of Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants.
Description of Duties
- To provide technical support to the Refugee Co-ordinator, Security Branch, in formulating policy and strategy on VMs and Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants matters.
- To exercise statutory powers in authorising the detention, transfer, removal, release, repatriation, etc. of all VMs, VRs and refugees and Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants in the territory and to deal with sensitive/complicated cases.
- To assist in the planning and execution of the orderly repatriation programme.
- To handle litigation relating to judicial reviews, damage claims, writs of habeas corpus, etc. from VMs and Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants.
- To liaise with the UNHCR and consulates on cases involving the (voluntary) repatriation of VMs and resettlement of VRs.
- To attend technical meetings with the UNHCR, Vietnamese authorities and Chinese authorities on all matters relating to the repatriation of VMs and Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants.
Last Updated on 3 December 1998