Hong Kong, a China-administered special territory has decided to withdraw visa-free facility for Indians from January 23, 2017.
This decision was taken on the ground to prevent illegal immigration as number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise. Over half a million Indians visit Hong Kong for business, trade and holidays.
Under the new rules, Indian travellers will have to complete a pre-arrival registration. Such pre-registration would not be necessary for those transiting through the Hong Kong airport without leaving the airport transit area.
Earlier, Hong Kong used to be part of a block of countries that gave Indians unconditional visa-free entry. Indians were permitted to enter Hong Kong with a valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. However in recent times, it was found that Indian nationals were overstaying in Hong Kong by violating visa norms.
Hong Kong’s unilateral decision came a year after its government had sent a delegation headed by the Assistant Director of Immigration from the Immigration Department and Hong Kong Police in December 2015 to India. It had informed concerns about “illegal employment” and “human trafficking” involving Indians in Hong Kong to India’s External Affairs Ministry. They even had expressed concern that many Indians taking up jobs even though Hong Kong does not allow visitors to work.