Hong Kong seeks govt help to check 'shady' job agencies

The government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has of late sought New Delhi’s help to deal with unscrupulous recruitment agencies, which are sending out people from India to the autonomous territory in China – promising them “asylum visas” and illegal employment.

Indians account for about 20 per cent of nearly 10,000 migrants, who are waiting for settlement of their pleas for asylum in Hong Kong. This prompted some politicians in Hong Kong to start demanding that the “visa on arrival” facility should no longer be extended to Indians visiting the special administrative region on south coast of China.

The HKSAR government recently sent a delegation headed by Assistant Director of Immigration Fung Pak-ho William to New Delhi. The delegation comprising officials of immigration department of HKSAR authorities and Hong Kong Police met top brass of the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to a press release by Embassy of People’s Republic of China in New Delhi, the HKSAR delegation explained to Indian officials the legislative provisions in Hong Kong against illegal employment and human trafficking and objectives of the unified screening mechanism for handling “non-refoulement” claims.

“Non-refoulement” is a principle in international law, which forbids rendering of a true victim of persecution to his or her persecutor or sending him or her back to the place where he or she may be persecuted again.

The HKSAR government is learnt to have received reports that some unscrupulous recruitment agencies are arranging Indian nationals to travel to Hong Kong under a fictitious “asylum visa”, providing legal service to ensure that they enter successfully and lodge a non-refoulement claim for them afterwards. While they await screening for non-refoulement, the agencies arrange unlawful employment for them.

 “Apart from serious abuses to our non-refoulement screening mechanism, such “services” exposed in the reports may also involve a number of serious criminal offences amounting to human trafficking,” a senior HKSAR official was quoted saying in the press release.

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