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New Hong Kong law to check illegal immigrants

world Updated: May 17, 2010 20:37 IST

Hong Kong government on Monday said they have plugged a loophole in their laws that allowed persons facing trials for illegal stay, mostly Pakistan and Indian nationals, pick up jobs in the region.

The Hong Kong authorities had issued the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance effective from November 14 last year to deal with the issue of illegal immigrants picking up jobs even as they face trials in courts.

"Earlier, such persons could not be deported once the trial was over as they had jobs. By issuing the Ordinance, we have plugged a loophole in our laws," Corrado Chow, Assistant Director in the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong government told reporters.

He said the new law enables the government to impose a $ 6400 fine on an illegal immigrant found employed in Hong Kong or imprison him for a period of upto three years and deport him to his country of origin later.

According to Chow, there were at least 6,400 illegal immigrants in Hong Kong of which two thirds were from South Asia. "Pakistani nationals top the list followed by Indians," he said refusing to give out exact figures.

At the same time, he pointed out that Indians were the only foreign nationals who enjoyed visa-free concessions for a visit to Hong Kong for a period of 14 days.

In 2009, 3,93,000 Indians visited Hong Kong, while 460 were found to have overstayed.