Immigration department assistant director Ma Chi-ming told the South China Morning Post newspaper that India was chosen as a “testing point” because it is one of the major sources of asylum-seekers. “We do not rule out extending the scheme to other countries in the future,” he said.
Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians and they will now have to complete a pre-arrival registration from January.
“The Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23, 2017. The online service for ‘Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals’ is now open,” the Hong Kong immigration department said in an announcement on its official website.
“Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit). Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area,” it said.
This is a major set back for over half a million Indians who visit the former British colony for business, trade and holidays.
The department said that Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) visa-free.