HK reportedly drops scrapping visa-free facility for Indians

HK reportedly drops scrapping visa-free facility for Indians

The Hong Kong government has reportedly dropped plans to scrap visa-free entry for Indians after representations from Indian officials and businessmen said such a move could seriously jeopardise businesses and tourism.

Recent media reports quoting public security officials in Hong Kong said that the former British colony was considering to scrap the programme for Indians in an effort to curb the number of asylum seekers.

However, Indian diplomats and prominent businessmen based in Hong Kong told PTI that the local government has dropped the proposal after representations at the highest level stating that such a move could seriously jeopardise the trade, business and tourism flows from IndiaThe Hong Kong government has reportedly dropped plans to scrap visa-free entry for Indians after representations from Indian officials and businessmen said such a move could seriously jeopardise businesses and tourism.
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A report in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post recently said the proposal to scrap the visa-free facility for Indians was mooted by members of the Liberal Party to curb the asylum seekers from India which registered sharp increase in recent months.

Dominic Lee Tsz-king - chairman of the Liberal Party's Youth Committee and a key force behind the proposal - defended the move as a "sacrifice to protect our borders".

"For legitimate visitors, it's not too much hassle to get visas these days. It can be done online or through many mediums," Lee was quoted as saying by the Post.

The financial drain caused by asylum seekers more than outweighed the economic contribution by Indian tourists, he said.

India is one of the very few countries which Hong Kong allows visa free travel and stay for 14 days.

Both Hong Kong and Macau continued with the policy even after they became special administrative regions of China in 1997.

The arrangement was continued for Indian nationals even without the reciprocal arrangement for the Hong Kong citizens who have to take visa to travel to India.

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