on 16 September 1999
Panel on Security
of the Legislative Council
|Agenda Item IV - ||Follow-up on application and verification procedures for a Certificate of Entitlement and related issues
This paper informs Members of the current state of applications for the Certificate of Entitlement (C of E) Scheme from Mainland residents since the promulgation of the new application procedure on 17 July 1999. The paper also sets out proposed arrangements for genetic test to verify the parentage of right of abode (ROA) claimants.
C of E Scheme
2. On 16 July 1999, the Legislative Council approved by resolution the amendments to Schedule 1 to the Immigration Ordinance to put beyond doubt the categories of persons who are eligible for ROA, following the judgment of the Court of Final Appeal on 29 January 1999 and the interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) on 26 June 1999. The Director of Immigration promulgated a new application procedure for C of Es in the Gazette on 17 July 1999. Mainland residents claiming ROA under paragraph 2(c) of Schedule 1 to the Immigration Ordinance are required to submit in the Mainland applications for C of Es in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the gazette notice.
3. An application by a Mainland applicant needs to be submitted to the relevant Public Security Bureau Office in the district where he is residing and has household registration. The applicant has to complete in duplicate an One-way Permit (OWP) application form which is specifically designed for persons of Chinese nationality born in the Mainland to parents who are permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. One copy of this form will be used for OWP application, the other for application for a C of E. The Public Security Bureau's offices will verify the personal particulars of the applicants. After confirmation of the applicants' identity and relationship with their parents, the "C of E" copy of the application form will be sent to the Immigration Department by batches for processing through designated channels. The dispatch will be handled by the Bureau of Exit-Entry Administration (BEEA) in Beijing and Public Security Bureau's offices in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. Following verification in Hong Kong and upon confirmation of eligibility, a C of E will be issued by the Immigration Department.
4. We understand from the Mainland authorities that overall the inflow of applications has been steady since promulgation of the new C of E application procedure, although lines queuing up for fresh printed application forms were observed in early August. These new applications have not yet reached the Immigration Department as the initial verification by the BEEA of applicants' identities, household records and relationship with their Mainland parents will take some time to complete. The new applications will be dispatched through the designated channels to ImmD.
5. At present, we have no plan to alter the OWP daily quota of 150 or its distribution. A specified sub-quota of 60 will continue to be allocated to C of E holders. There is built-in flexibility for an additional number, around 10 daily, to enter Hong Kong under the unspecified sub-quota.
6. As a preliminary step, the Immigration Department in consultation with the Government Chemist, Department of Justice and the ICAC, has proposed a set of arrangements for the conduct of genetic test. The intention is to invite the BEEA to act as the Director's agent in the Mainland for collection of tissue samples from persons who were born out of wedlock and claim ROA under paragraph 2(c) of Schedule 1 to the Immigration Ordinance.
7. The Immigration Department have put forward to the BEEA the proposed arrangements for collecting DNA samples for consideration. In the light of their response, expert meetings would have to be held to work out an agreed procedure. Once the details are confirmed, we will introduce legislative amendments to empower the Director to require the ROA claimants involved to undergo genetic tests.
8. As regards overseas C of E applicants born "out-of-wedlock", on equity grounds we propose that they be required to undergo genetic test following a similar procedure. Consideration is also being given to extending the requirement of genetic test to other ROA claimants whose parentage is in doubt.
10 September 1999