Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants upon the commencement of Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021

Preston Cheung made this Freedom of Information request to Security Bureau

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Dear Security Bureau,

In relation to the commencement of the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 on 1 August, and the savings and transitional provisions under the newly added Schedule 5 to the Immigration Ordinance, I would appreciate if you could provide information on the following:

(1) Whether the Duty Lawyer Service (DLS) has provided any updated guidelines/Practice Directions to Duty Lawyers assigned to claims made after 1 August.
(a) If so, please provide a copy of such updated guidelines/Practice Directions.
(b) If not, please advise on the DLS' plan on when and how it would facilitate Duty Lawyers' understanding of the requirements under the new provisions in handling claims made after 1 August.

(2) Whether the DLS has provided any updated guidelines/Practice Directions to Duty Lawyers assigned to claims made before 1 August.
(a) If so, please indicate whether the aforementioned savings and transitional provisions have been included in such materials or raised to Duty Lawyers' attention, so as to avoid wrongful application of the new provisions to claims made before 1 August.
(b) If so, please provide a copy of such updated guidelines/Practice Directions.

Thank you for your assistance on this.

Kind regards,
Preston Cheung

Security Bureau

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Cheung,

I refer to your request for access to information on 24 August 2021.  In
consultation with the Duty Lawyer Service (DLS), the requested information
is provided as below, please.

1(a)-(b)
DLS has amended the Assignment Letters with effect from 1 August 2021 to
duty lawyers under the Non-refoulement Claims Scheme (NRC) (please refer
to Annex I), drawing their attention to the commencement of the
Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 on 1 August 2021.  It includes that
the practice of 21 days’ administrative arrangement to return the
Non-refoulement Claim Form (NCF) will be cancelled on the same date and
all non-refoulement claimants will have to return the completed NCF within
28 days with extension to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
 Separately, case officers will inform the assigned duty lawyers of the
referral date and submission date of the NFC, which is 28 days from the
date of referral.

2(a)-(b)
DLS issued a Circular to all duty lawyers on the NRC panel on 13 July
2021, informing them that the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 would
come into operation on 1 August 2021 (please refer to Annex II).  In the
said Circular, a hyperlink of the full text of the amended Immigration
Ordinance was provided and duty lawyers’ attention was drawn to several
amendments which would affect or were relevant to DLS’s operation,
including 28 days’ deadline for claimants to submit NCF, claimants’
submission of full medical report within three working days upon request,
the shortening of notice period for oral hearing if considered
appropriate, etc..  

 
Separately, the Immigration Department, via DLS’ NRC office, issued a
letter dated 19 July 2021 to the claimants who made claims before 1 August
2021 regarding the transitional arrangement as set out in the Savings and
Transitional Provisions in Schedule 5 to the amended Immigration
Ordinance.  DLS’ NRC office passed all these letters to the duty lawyers
who handled the cases of the relevant claimants to alert them of such
arrangement.  Depending on circumstances, duty lawyers would explain the
content of the letters to the relevant claimants during conferences.

In conclusion, the duty lawyers on the NRC panel are all well-informed of
the changes in the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 by the Circular
dated 13 July 2021 and the Assignment letter they receive in each
assignment of case.

Security Bureau

From:        SB-AIOREQ/SB/HKSARG
To:        Preston Cheung <[FOI #724 email]>,
Date:        31/08/2021 08:42
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Legal Assistance
Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants upon the commencement of Immigration
(Amendment) Ordinance 2021

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Dear Mr Cheung,

Your application for Access to Information has been received.  The
application is now under processing.  We will give you a reply as soon as
possible.
 
 Security Bureau

From:        Preston Cheung <[FOI #724 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        24/08/2021 16:57
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Legal Assistance Scheme
for Non-refoulement Claimants upon the commencement of Immigration
(Amendment) Ordinance 2021

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Security Bureau,

In relation to the commencement of the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance
2021 on 1 August, and the savings and transitional provisions under the
newly added Schedule 5 to the Immigration Ordinance, I would appreciate if
you could provide information on the following:

(1) Whether the Duty Lawyer Service (DLS) has provided any updated
guidelines/Practice Directions to Duty Lawyers assigned to claims made
after 1 August.
(a) If so, please provide a copy of such updated guidelines/Practice
Directions.
(b) If not, please advise on the DLS' plan on when and how it would
facilitate Duty Lawyers' understanding of the requirements under the new
provisions in handling claims made after 1 August.  

(2) Whether the DLS has provided any updated guidelines/Practice
Directions to Duty Lawyers assigned to claims made before 1 August.
(a) If so, please indicate whether the aforementioned savings and
transitional provisions have been included in such materials or raised to
Duty Lawyers' attention, so as to avoid wrongful application of the new
provisions to claims made before 1 August.
(b) If so, please provide a copy of such updated guidelines/Practice
Directions.

Thank you for your assistance on this.

Kind regards,
Preston Cheung

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