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Pilot Scheme for Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for Non-refoulement Claimants upon Commencement of Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021

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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 concerning the Pilot Scheme for Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for Non-refoulement Claimants:

(1) Whether the Pilot Scheme Office (PSO) has provided any updated guidelines/Practice Directions to Pilot Scheme lawyers (PSL) 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 PSO' plan on when and how it would facilitate PSLs' understanding of the requirements under the new provisions in handling claims made after 1 August.

(2) Whether the PSO has provided any updated guidelines/Practice Directions to PSLs 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 PSLs' 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

Sent a follow up to Security Bureau again, using a new contact address.

Dear Security Bureau,

I believe there was a technical issue with my email server earlier in the month, potentially blocking off replies from your end. Please advise if that is the case, and if not, please advise on the status of this information request.

Thank you very much.

Kind regards,
Preston Cheung

Security Bureau

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cheung,

Preceding replied email had already sent out to your given email
<[FOI #725 email]>, on 2.9.2021, but after again
received an email due to 'DELIVERY FAILURE' on 3.9.2021 & 4.9.2021.
 Please see our reply as below, thanks.

Security Bureau

====== Original reply message sent on 2.9.2021==========

Dear Preston Cheung

        I refer to your email on 24.8.2021 requesting information of the
Pilot Scheme for Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for
Non-refoulement Claimants in relation to the commencement of the
Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021.  

        As mentioned in our reply dated 20 August 2021 to your written
request for information of the Pilot Scheme, all Pilot Scheme Lawyers
("PSL"s) should have received dedicated training organised or approved by
the Hong Kong Bar Association or the Law Society of Hong Kong and Pilot
Scheme Office for Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for
Non-refoulement Claimants ("PSO") mainly provides them with administrative
support in processing non-refoulement claims (e.g. arrangement for
interpretation and translation services and conference rooms for meetings
between PSLs and claimants).  In this connection, PSO does not involve in
any specific tasks relating to the actual handling of individual claims
and does not advise PSLs or facilitate PSLs’ understanding of the relevant
statutory requirements under the Immigration Ordinance.  As such, PSO is
not in the position to issue any guidelines/Practice Directions or updated
guidelines/Practice Directions to PSLs in relation to the statutory
requirements under the Immigration Ordinance for PSLs to follow in
providing legal assistance to the non-refoulement claimants, whether
before or after 1 August 2021.  Having said that, PSO issued an email to
all PSLs on 27 July 2021 informing them that the Immigration (Amendment)
Ordinance 2021 would come into effect on 1 August 2021 and drawing their
attention to the matter.  A copy of the email is attached for your
reference.

        For claims and appeals made before 1 August 2021 pending decisions
by the Immigration Department (“ImmD”) or the Torture Claims Appeal Board,
you may note from our email to PSLs that the claims and appeals will be
handled in accordance with the savings and transitional provisions under
the newly added Schedule 5 to the Immigration Ordinance.  We have also
informed the PSLs that ImmD has sent letters about the arrangement to
individual claimants whose claims are outstanding through their legal
representatives.

Regards,
Emily Tai
Security Bureau

From:        Preston Cheung <[FOI #725 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        15/09/2021 23:53
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Pilot Scheme for
Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for Non-refoulement
Claimants upon Commencement of Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021

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Dear Security Bureau,

I refer you to my Access to Information request dated 4 August 2021, as
enclosed below.

As set out by paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information,
"[w]here possible, information will be made available within ten days of
receipt of a written request. If that is not possible, the applicant will
be so advised by an interim reply within ten days of receipt of the
request. The target response time will then be twenty-one days from
receipt of the request."

Please advise on the status of this information request. Thank you very
much.

Kind regards,
Preston Cheung

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Preston Cheung please sign in and let everyone know.