LC Paper No. CB(2) 2803/98-99
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/SE/1
LegCo Panel on Security
Minutes of special meeting held on Tuesday, 13 July 1999
at 4:30 pm in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building
Hon James TO Kun-sun (Chairman)
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon LEE Kai-ming, SBS, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon Margaret NG
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Public Officers attending:
Clerk in attendance:
- Mrs Regina IP
- Secretary for Security
- Mr Timothy TONG
- Deputy Secretary for Security
- Mr Ambrose LEE
- Director of Immigration
- Mr Ian WINFIELD
- Law Officer (Civil Law)
Department of Justice
- Mr T K LAI
- Assistant Director of Immigration
Staff in attendance:
- Mrs Sharon TONG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)1
I. Application and verification procedures for a Certificate of Entitlement
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Miss Betty MA
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 1
(LC Paper Nos. CB(2) 2548/98-99(01) and (02))
Briefing by the Administration
Secretary for Security (S for S) said that the Director of Immigration (D of Imm) and the relevant Mainland authorities had held discussions to settle the procedure for applying for a Certificate of Entitlement (C of E). As a consensus had been reached, a draft Gazette notice and an information note on application and verification procedures for C of E were provided for members' reference.
Application and verification procedures
2. Miss Emily LAU enquired about the application procedure for a C of E if an applicant was in Hong Kong given that quite a number of Mainlanders who claimed to have the right of abode in Hong Kong were presently in Hong Kong. S for S said that it was spelt out explicitly in the Gazette notice that under para. A(i), if an applicant was residing in the Mainland, he should apply for a C of E through the offices or departments of the Exit-Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau (BEEA) in the district where he was residing. Under para. A(ii) of the notice, if the applicant was residing outside China, he should submit his application through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the country or territory where he resided or by post to D of Imm direct. As for a person whose stay in Hong Kong was subject to the conditions of stay specified by D of Imm, he was regarded as residing in the Mainland during his stay in Hong Kong. Thus, such person should apply for a C of E through the relevant Public Security Bureau Office in the Mainland in accordance with para. C of the notice.
3. Miss Emily LAU asked whether there was any mechanism available for those Mainland residents who claimed to have the right of abode and were now physically in Hong Kong to apply for C of E in Hong Kong. S for S responded that the main feature of C of E Scheme was that Mainland residents, including those stayed in Hong Kong for visit purpose or in transit, were required to submit their applications through the relevant Public Security Bureau Offices in the Mainland. The Administration had stressed the importance of such requirement in the course of and after the litigations regarding the right of abode issue. Otherwise serious immigration control problems would arise.
4. Legal Adviser (LA) said that in the case of Ng Ka Ling, the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) held that C of E Scheme was constitutional in requiring a claimant to apply for and obtain a C of E from D of Imm and providing that his status as permanent resident could only be established by his holding such a certificate. The provisions of C of E Scheme whereby he must stay in the Mainland whilst applying for such a certificate was also constitutional. Any claims to have such status must first be verified.
5. Referring to the said CFA judgment, Miss Emily LAU asked whether the Court held that any persons claiming to have the right of abode must first return to the Mainland for the verification of their status even if they were physically present in Hong Kong. LA said that the judgment did not deal with the scenario direct. It ruled only on whether a Gazette notice in the context was unconstitutional.
6. Mr Albert HO pointed out that in the cases of Ng Ka Ling and Lau Kong Yung, the Court did not explicitly rule on whether a Two-Way Permit (TWP) holder could request for the verification of his status as a permanent resident to be conducted in Hong Kong. The Court also did not state whether the verification of status for the purpose of obtaining a C of E should only be applied in the Mainland.
7. Law Officer (Civil Law) (LO(CL)) responded that in respect of the Lau Kong Yung case, the only relief granted by the Court of Appeal was to quash the decision of D of Imm to remove and detain the persons concerned. The Court declined to grant other relief in particular to compel the D of Imm to specify or to make declaration in respect of the status of the particular applicants. The only order made in the case was the removal order itself should be quashed on the basis that D of Imm had not considered all the relevant materials before making a removal order. It did not deal with the status of the applicants.
8. Mr Albert HO wondered if the requirements set out in para.C of the notice would be open to possible challenge should those persons claiming to have the right of abode wish to do so. LO(CL) said that persons who claimed to have the right of abode and did not have specific entitlement were subject to immigration restrictions in accordance with section 2AA(2) of the Immigration Ordinance (the Ordinance). He added that CFA declined to declare the provision unconstitutional. The lawfulness of the provisions and verification requirements was upheld by CFA in the Ng Ka Ling case.
9. Referring to the judgment of the Lau Kong Yung case, the Chairman pointed out that it was held that "While I accept that the Director is entitled to have a reasonable time to work out a new arrangement, I do not think he can turn people away completely during the meantime. He either has to come up with a new arrangement expeditiously or he has to permit the making of applications which do not follow any specified manner because there is none." He remarked that the application procedure for C of E would probably be changed after the promulgation of the Gazette notice.
10. Noting from para. A(iii) of the Gazette notice that if an applicant was at the time of application residing in the region of Taiwan or Macau, he should apply for a C of E by post to D of Imm direct, Mr Albert HO asked whether a Mainlander visiting Macau or Taiwan for sight-seeing purpose on TWP would be subject to the application requirements stated in para. C of the notice. D of Imm said that if a Mainlander was in transit purpose, he had to apply for a C of E in the Mainland. Should a Mainlander reside in Taiwan or Macau for some time with a working permit or identity card, he would be regarded as residing in Taiwan or Macau and hence he could apply for a C of E in accordance with the procedure stated in para. A(iii) of the notice.
11. Mr Andrew CHENG sought clarification on whether a Mainland resident could obtain an application form direct from the Immigration Department having regard to the reported complaints against corruption of the Mainland authorities in processing applications for One-Way Permits (OWPs) and whether consideration would also be given to extending the applicability of application procedure under para. A(iii) to the Mainland applicants, i.e. by post to D of Imm direct. S for S said that notwithstanding that there were complaints about corruption of the Mainland authorities in processing applications for OWPs, the situation had improved significantly since the introduction of the Points System by the Mainland authorities in May 1997. In addition, the Administration was not aware of and received no complaints against corruption of the Mainland authorities in processing applications under C of E Scheme. As regards submission of applications, the requirement that a Mainland resident had to submit his application to the relevant Public Security Bureau Office in the district where he was residing was considered an effective arrangement as the relevant Mainland authorities had to verify the personal particulars of the applicants before sending the application forms to the Immigration Department for further processing. An applicant had to complete in duplicate the OWP application form where one copy of the form would be used as the application for a C of E. To further enhance the transparency, improvement measures would be introduced as a result of the discussions held between the Administration and the relevant authorities of the Mainland on the application procedure for C of E. For example, a serial number would be printed on the application form for verification purpose. D of Imm added that the Mainland authorities would issue booklets on the C of E Scheme with a view to explaining the eligibility of an applicant, specific application procedure and complaint channels. The booklets would be distributed in the Mainland and Hong Kong.
|12. Dr LUI Ming-wah suggested that independent bodies such as universities be eagaged to conduct periodic surveys on the problems faced by new arrivals in the application for C of E so as to enhance the public's confidence in the application procedure. S for S said that the Administration would consider Dr LUI's suggestion.||Adm|
|13. Miss Cyd HO asked whether the application arrangements would be reviewed and whether an applicant could be informed of the processing time for each step in the application process. In response, S for S said that the Administration and the relevant Mainland authorities would review the application procedure constantly. D of Imm added that the Immigration Department normally took six to nine months to verify an application in the past two years. Miss Cyd HO and the Chairman requested the Administration to keep members posted of the development of the arrangements for OWP and C of E applications. D of Imm undertook to publish pamphlets on how to apply for C of E as well as the complaint channels available. S for S added that a paper would be provided for the Panel's information in six months' time after the implementation of the application arrangements.||Adm
14. LA pointed out that para. C(i) of the Gazette notice was a presumption provision under which any Mainland persons entered and stayed in Hong Kong illegally would be regarded as residing in the Mainland whom should apply for C of E in the Mainland in accordance with para. A(i) of the notice. However, para. A(i) of the notice did not state clearly on whether such persons should return to the Mainland to submit their applications. In addition, para. A(i) of the notice stated that applications should be made through the offices or departments of BEEA in the district where the applicants were residing. LA asked if a person was physically present in Hong Kong, though without having identified himself to the authorities concerned, whether he could make an application in Hong Kong in accordance with "through the offices or departments in the Mainland", i.e. through the assistance of an agent, by post, by courier etc. without having himself physically in the Mainland.
15. LO(CL) responded that para. C of the Gazette notice was a description of the status in respect of persons who made applications for C of E. It was because any persons who did not have their claim for right of abode verified did not necessarily mean that they could not enter Hong Kong under TWPs. It would not preclude them from making applications while they were in Hong Kong on TWPs. Referring to the situation cited by LA, LO(CL) said that though the situation could technically be feasible, the Mainland authorities would require the applicants to appear in person before accepting and verifying their applications.
|16. LA said that the Administration might consider the following two technical points -
- whether the relevant authorities in the Mainland, when acting as the agent of HKSAR, could refuse applications other than by applying in person; and
- (b) there would be categories of applicants whose identities could be verified without by way of verification of documents so that it might be possible that their physical presence might not be absolutely essential for verification purpose.
S for S said that the Administration would take note of LA's views.
|17. The Chairman was of the view that the Gazette notice violated the law as it was not part of the principal Ordinance, neither was it a piece of subsidiary legislation. He said that in the Court of Appeal's judgment delivered on 11 June 1999 (Lau Kong Yung case), the legal effect of the Gazette notice had been questioned by a judge. The Chairman urged the Administration to consider making the Gazette notice as subsidiary legislation.||Adm
18. At the invitation of Miss Emily LAU, LA said that the notice was made in accordance with section 2AB(ii)(a) of the Immigration Ordinance. Referring to the judgment on Lau Kong Yung case, LA said that one of the judges expressed his observation on the notice in the obiter dictum of the judgment. It did not constitute part of the judgment which has binding effect. Should there be any disputes arisen in future, it would be dealt with by the court.
Approving application for One-Way Permits in the Mainland
19. Miss Emily LAU expressed concern about the reported complaints against corruption of the Mainland authorities in processing applications for OWPs, resulting in a situation where applicants had to wait for years for approval of their applications. She asked whether the problem had been addressed during its discussions with the Mainland authorities and how the Immigration Department could ensure the allocation of OWP quota and the manning of the queue was fairly dealt with by the Mainland authorities. D of Imm said that the transparency in respect of the processing and approval of OWPs in the Mainland had been enhanced since the introduction of the Points System in May 1997. He cited that in the Guangdong Province, the relevant authorities had displayed in the notice board the progress in respect of the application for OWPs, such as when an application was received, the position of an applicant in the queue and the date of issuing an OWP. Hence, individual applicants would be able to monitor the processing of OWP applications by the relevant Mainland authorities. D of Imm further said that since the introduction of C of E Scheme in July 1999, some 50 000 C of E had been issued and that some 47 000 C of E holders had already entered Hong Kong. Amongst these new arrivals, no corruption of the Mainland authorities in processing application for OWPs was learnt. The Immigration Department would refer any complaints received to the relevant Mainland authorities for follow-up. The Scheme was considered successful. S for S added that since the introduction of Points System in the Mainland in May 1997, OWPs were allocated to five categories of applicants for OWPs. The eligibility criteria were updated periodically and published for public's information. The relevant Guangdong authorities would receive complaints.
20. While appreciating the introduction of serial numbers on OWP application forms, Miss Cyd HO said that she had received complaints against the allocation of OWPs by the Mainland authorities. It was learnt that very often the applicants received letters from the relevant Mainland authorities, shortly after submitting their applications, informing them that OWP quota for that year had been fully utilized. She asked whether there was any channel available for the Mainland applicants to check whether the quota had indeed been fully allocated or to check their position in the queue. D of Imm said that he was not aware of such phenomenon. OWP application forms could be obtained from Public Security Bureau Offices free of charge. The Mainland authorities had assured that no application from persons with the right of abode would be turned away. At the request of D of Imm, Miss Cyd HO agreed to provide copies of the letters as mentioned in the complaint cases to D of Imm for his reference and follow-up.
|21. Dr LUI Ming-wah asked whether the serial numbers on the application forms were unique or applicable only for respective provinces in the Mainland. It would be possible for an applicant to check against the progress of his application only if the number was unique. In response, Assistant Director of Immigration (AD of Imm) said that applications for OWP cum C of E would be handled by BEEA in Beijing and Public Security Bureau Offices in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. Priority for the allocation of OWPs would be accorded by the respective offices. Dr LUI further asked how the daily specified sub-quota of 60 were allocated to eligible persons. AD of Imm said that there was specified sub-quota for each responsible office. The majority of the sub-quota were allocated to the Guangdong Province in the light of its relatively huge number of applicants. Dr LUI requested for a breakdown of the daily specified sub-quota of 60 amongst the three processing centres. As the Administration did not have such information, S for S said that the Administration might liaise with the relevant Mainland authorities for the provision of the requested information, if any.||Adm|
22. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG enquired about the specific actions taken by the Administration to urge the relevant Mainland authorities to expedite the approval for OWPs. D of Imm said that the Administration had repeatedly relayed the message to the Mainland authorities on issuing OWPs within a reasonable time after receiving the relevant C of E from the Immigration Department. It was noted that an OWP would normally be issued within several months after the issue of a C of E.
23. Responding to the Chairman, S for S said that application for OWPs under the category of reunion of spouses was subject to the Points System. Hence, the acquisition of C of E by a child would not necessarily result in an expeditious approval for OWP for his mother.
24. Responding to Mr Ambrose CHEUNG, S for S said that any persons who had the right of abode would not be subject to the Points System when applying for OWPs. A daily specified sub-quota of 60 was allocated to persons under this category. D of Imm added that the Mainland authorities placed due emphasis on family reunion and hence priority would be accorded to those applicants who had the right of abode and whose parents were in Hong Kong.
25. Miss Emily LAU asked, when an applicant was unable to check the progress of his application for OWP from the Mainland authorities, whether he could check his position with the Immigration Department. D of Imm said that as far as applications for C of E were concerned, the applicant could make enquiries with the Immigration Department.
Admission of eligible persons with the right of abode
26. Miss Cyd HO pointed out that CFA had ruled that eligible persons with the right of abode should be allowed to come to Hong Kong within a reasonable time. Given there was an estimate of some 690 000 eligible persons of the first generation pursuant to the CFA judgment and that the daily sub-quota specified for these persons was 60, it would take 26 years for all these eligible persons to come to Hong Kong. She enquired whether such time frame would be considered as reasonable and whether it would give rise to litigations in this regard. Dir of Imm responded that it was estimated that eligible children under the Basic Law (BL) (aged under 20) as at 1 July 1997 was about 66 000. About 47 000 of them had already come to Hong Kong under C of E Scheme. About 3 000 of them had arrived Hong Kong without C of E as their approval for entry were granted under their mothers' OWPs. Thus, it was considered that three years would be a reasonable time frame for the 66 000 eligible persons to come to Hong Kong in an orderly manner. S for S added that based on the re-linking of C of E and OWP arrangements, an applicant had to submit his application to the relevant Public Security Bureau Offices in the district and subject to the daily quota for approval to come to Hong Kong. For young eligible children aged below 14, it would take less than four years for approval. Whilst for adult female under the category of reunion of spouses, it would take a longer period for more than 10 years for approval. However, the waiting time for approval was comparable with approval for emigration to overseas countries. For example, under the United States Reunion Programme, the reunion of immediate family members was subject to a quota restriction. The admission arrangements were on par with those in Canada and Australia, under which admission priority would be accorded to young eligible children.
27. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG enquired about the rationale for the conclusion that even with no change to the daily OWP quota, eligible persons would still be able to come to Hong Kong within a reasonable time. S for S said that during the period from 1982 to 1995, the daily OWP quota was 75. The Administration discussed with the Mainland authorities for an increase of the daily OWP quota in 1993 in anticipation of arrival of Mainland persons who had the right of abode under BL and for allocating to spouses who had been separated for many years. The daily OWP had then been increased to 150. Apart from the waiting time, the major consideration for an increase to the daily OWP quota was the impact on provision of services to new arrivals such as education, medical services, etc.
28. Mr NG Leung-sing asked about the allocation of the daily OWP quota and whether consideration would be given to increasing the quota. D of Imm said that as a result of the recent discussions with the Mainland authorities, the daily OWP quota would remain unchanged at the moment. A review would be conducted some time after the implementation of the new arrangements. He said that should an increase in quota for C of E be needed, it might be met either by increasing the sub-quota for eligible persons under BL or increasing the overall daily quota. Nevertheless, it was premature to deal with the issue at this juncture.
Applications from children born out of unregistered marriage
29. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong enquired about the detailed arrangements for carrying out a DNA test for the proof of parentage relationship of illegitimate children. In response, D of Imm said that the Mainland authorities agreed that any persons who had the right of abode under BL 24(2)(3), including children born out of unregistered marriage and out of wedlock, could apply for C of E. A DNA test would be required to prove the parentage relationship. Experts from the Mainland and Hong Kong would discuss and work out the details of the arrangements in due course. An agreement would hopefully be reached before the introduction of the relevant legislative amendments in October 1999.
30. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong and Mr Howard YOUNG expressed concern that DNA samples could be exchanged en route. D of Imm assured members that stringent procedure for handling DNA samples would be worked out to guard against possible abuse.
31. Mr Howard YOUNG enquired whether there should be mutual agreement from an applicant and his parent for taking DNA samples for the proof of parentage relationship. S for S said that since making an application for OWP and C of E was at the applicant's initiative, a DNA test might be required if the applicant failed to provide sufficient evidence for his claim. A proposal for mandatory DNA test would have to be considered cautiously bearing in mind an individual's human right.
32. Mr LEE Kai-ming asked whether children born out of de facto marriage were subject to the proof of parentage relationship by DNA test. D of Imm said that de facto marriage, though not registered marriage, were recognized by the community and the children born to it acquired household registration as well as having their parents' names appeared on their birth certificates. As there would be sufficient evidence to establish the status of these children, they would normally not be required to undergo a DNA test.
Entry arrangement for those Mainlanders not affected by the interpretation of BL 22(4) and 24(2)(3) given by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 26 June 1999
33. Mr LEE Kai-ming pointed out that there were about 1 800 persons, who had the right of abode but had returned to the Mainland after the delivery of CFA judgment in January 1999, not affected by the interpretation of BL 22(4) and 24(2)(3) given by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) on 26 June 1999. He enquired about the timetable for their coming to Hong Kong. D of Imm responded that the Mainland authorities had agreed to give special arrangements for these Mainland residents. However, during their stay in Hong Kong, their status of permanent resident had not yet been verified. Thus, the Immigration Department would contact their parents in Hong Kong to provide supporting documents to verify their status. Once their status was established, the Mainland authorities would issue OWPs to this group of eligible persons. It was expected that they could come to Hong Kong within a reasonable time.
34. Responding to Miss CHAN Yuen-han's follow-up question, D of Imm said that the arrival of the 1 800 eligible persons in question would not be subject to the daily OWP quota of 150. The Mainland authorities had agreed with the arrangements.
Re-linking of C of E and OWP arrangements
35. Referring to the draft Gazette notice, Miss Margaret NG enquired about the differences between the previous and new application procedures as well as any changes in the system. AD of Imm said that the previous and new application arrangements were basically the same. Some textual amendments were made to the Gazette notice with a view to improving the drafting of the notice. Para. G was added specifying that this notice superseded the previous one published in July 1997.
36. Miss Margaret NG asked whether there was any time lag between the issue of C of E by the Immigration Department and OWPs by the Mainland authorities. D of Imm replied that after verification, the Immigration Department would issue C of E to those eligible persons. The C of E would be sent to the Public Security Bureau Offices concerned for passing to the applicants independent of the issue of OWPs. There might be a time lag of several months.
37. Miss Margaret NG further asked where the Immigration Department had verified the status of an applicant and issued a C of E accordingly, but the relevant Mainland authorities had not yet issued an OWP, and if the applicant was physically in Hong Kong, whether he could be regarded as acquiring a C of E. S for S reiterated that it was the Government's established stance that any persons should file their applications to the local offices or departments of Public Security Bureau where they were residing. The offices or departments concerned would verify the information in the application forms and then referred the case to the Immigration Department for verification of C of E application. After verification, the Immigration Department would issue C of E and send to the Public Security Bureau Offices concerned for passing to the applicants. The C of E would be affixed onto OWPs, and both documents would have to be produced for inspection at boundary checkpoints when the applicants left the Mainland for settlement in Hong Kong. The arrangements were considered necessary to ensure that the eligible persons would come to settle in Hong Kong in a lawful and orderly manner.
|38. The Chairman opined that notwithstanding the re-linking of C of E and OWP pursuant to the NPCSC's interpretation, it did not necessarily imply that the linkage between C of E and OWP quota arrangement was constitutional. Thus, in the event of litigation arising from the latter arrangement, it might not be ruled in the favour of the Administration. S for S said that the Administration would take note of the Chairman's view.||Adm
39. In respone to the Chairman's enquiry about the legal basis of the application arrangements for C of E, S for S said that the arrangements were made having regard to BL 22(4), the interpretation of BL 22(4) and 24(2)(3) given by NPCSC on 26 June 1999 as well as sections 2A and 2AA of the Ordinance.
40. The Chairman asked about the legal status in respect of the linkage between C of E and OWP before and after the CFA's judgment. LA said that prior to the CFA's judgment on 29 January 1999, the requirement for the linkage between C of E and OWP arrangement was spelt out in section 2AA of the Immigration Ordinance under which a person's status as a permanent resident of the Hong Kong could only be established by his holding of C of E affixed to an OWP, a valid HKSAR passport or a valid permanent identity card. In the CFA judgment, the Court ruled that the provision in the Ordinance regarding the linkage between C of E Scheme and OWP requirement was unconstitutional and therefore null and void. However, it made no declaration on section 2AA(2) of the Ordinance.
41. Miss Margaret NG asked whether the provision in the Ordinance in respect of the linkage between C of E and OWP had resumed its legal effect after NPCSC's interpretation. LA said that NPCSC made no specific declaration about the interpretation of section 2AA of the Immigration Ordinance. Instead, the interpretation of NPCSC had made it very clear that Mainland residents needed to obtain the necessary approval from the relevant Mainland authorities for entering Hong Kong for whatever purposes. He pointed out that the legislative amendments to the Immigration Ordinance and the Immigration Regulations had not yet been introduced. There were at present different views expressed regarding the legal status of the relevant provisions in the Ordinance. S for S said that the draft Gazette notice made no reference to the linkage between OWP and C of E Scheme. The Gazette notice was simply to promulgate the application procedure for C of E.
42. Responding to Miss Margaret NG, S for S said that a view was held that the provision in the Immigration Ordinance which was ruled as null and void by CFA would not resume its legal effect automatically after NPCSC gave its interpretation. The linkage between C of E and OWP might need to be spelt out explicitly in the Immigration Ordinance after the coming into force the relevant legislative proposal to be introduced as soon as possible in the next legislative session. Regarding the legal basis for requiring a C of E to be affixed onto an OWP, D of Imm said that in its interpretation on 26 June 1999, NPCSC had made it very clear that under BL 22(4), the phrase "people from other parts of China" referred to people from all provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the Central Government, including persons of Chinese nationality born in the Mainland to Hong Kong permanent residents, and that they needed to apply for the necessary approval from the relevant Mainland authorities for entry into Hong Kong for whatever purposes. Hence, it was a lawful entry into Hong Kong only if the person had acquired both an OWP and a C of E.
Definition of "residing in the Mainland" in the Gazette notice
43. Referring to para. A of the Gazette notice, Mr Albert HO remarked that the reference to "residing in the Mainland" might be regarded as residing in the Mainland temporarily or permanently. To avoid ambiguity, he suggested that the Administration might consider clarifying with the Mainland authorities on the interpretation and make known to the applicants accordingly. LA pointed out that it seemed that the concept for residing which was commonly used in Hong Kong would be adopted, there was a need to clarify with the Mainland authorities on whether common law interpretation would be adopted in this context. S for S said that references to residing in certain places were commonly used in the Immigration Ordinance. The interpretation which was generally accepted in Hong Kong would be used in this context. The Administration considered that there would not be a problem in this respect.
| 44. Mr Albert HO further asked whether having household registration in the district where the applicant was residing was the prerequisite for meeting the residing criteria for submitting an application in the Mainland. D of Imm agreed to clarify with the relevant Mainland authorities.||Adm
45. The meeting ended at 6:30 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
24 August 1999