The Hong Kong (HK) government is not withdrawing the visa-free entry facility extended to Indians, officials have clarified, adding that a local political party which had called for it has since apologised.
Indians are allowed to stay in HK for 14 days without a visa; their passports are not stamped.
But an increase in the number of Indians seeking “asylum” in the financial hub, citing persecution back home had perturbed members of the youth wing of the Liberal Party — they claimed that it was being used illegally by many Indians to stay and was draining the city’s resources.
Party leaders had raised the issue and called for the cancellation of the facility like it has been done for other citizens of other South Asian countries including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Soon after the issue was raised in the city’s media, Indian diplomats and eminent Indians from diaspora met senior government officials in HK in an attempt to defuse the situation from escalating.
Currently, more than 45,000 “people of Indian-origin and Indian passport holders” stay and work in HK; the total value of HK-India trade is over $23 billion.
More than 500,000 Indians visit Hong Kong annually.