Permission to work for non-refoulement claimants and refugees

The request was partially successful.

Dear Immigration Department,

I am writing to request the following data relating to the permission to work for refugees and non-refoulement claimants:

The number of adults given refugee status by UNHCR currently in Hong Kong
I would like to know the number of individuals whose asylum claims have been determined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be well-founded and, on that basis, are not removed by the Hong Kong Government and are currently in Hong Kong. I would also like to know, among those individuals, how many are aged 18 or above.

The number of adult non-refoulement claimants whose claims have been substantiated currently in Hong Kong
I would like to know, among the 110 torture/non-refoulement claimants whose claims have been substantiated, how many are currently in Hong Kong on that basis, and among them, how many are aged 18 or above.

The number of individuals given permission to work
Among the individuals referred to in the two paragraphs above, how many are currently permitted to take employment under section 37ZX of the Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115?

Applications for the permission to work
I would like to know how many applications for the permission to take employment the Immigration Department has received and how many of them were given and refused respectively in each of the years from 2014 to 2017. What was the longest processing time and the average processing time for these applications in each of the years from 2014 to 2017?

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Annie Li
Research and Policy Officer
Justice Centre Hong Kong

入境事務處

To:  [1][FOI #258 email]
Subject:  Freedom of Information request – Permission to work for
non-refoulement claimants and refugees

Our ref. :   L/M in ImmD PRL/6-5/1

Dear Ms Li,

Thank you for your email enquiry dated 9 March 2018.  The matters raised
therein are receiving attention and a reply will be given to you in due
course.

Best regards,

Mr WONG Yu-him
for Director of Immigration

To learn more about the application requirements and procedures of the
most frequently used services provided by the Hong Kong Immigration
Department, you are welcome to visit the Easy Access Playlist at Hong Kong
Immigration Department [2]YouTube Channel. The concerned video clips have
Cantonese voice-over supplemented by Chinese or English subtitles.

入境事務處

Our ref. :                 L/M in ImmD PRL/6-5/1

Dear Ms Li,

Thank you for your email enquiries of 9 March 2018.  Further to our
interim reply on 16 March 2018, our substantive reply is as follow.

Q1: The number of adults given refugee status by UNHCR currently in Hong
Kong
A1: The Immigration Department (“ImmD”) does not maintain statistics on
refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(“UNHCR”) (“mandated refugees”).  You may wish to approach UNHCR for
information regarding mandated refugees.

Q2: The number of adult non-refoulement claimants whose claims have been
substantiated currently in Hong Kong
A2: Kindly note that statistics on non-refoulement claims are available on
ImmD's website ([1]http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/facts/enforce...
Between the commencement of the enhanced administrative mechanism (late
2009) and December 2017, determinations have been made in 15,320
torture/non-refoulement claims, among which 110 were substantiated,
including 75 aged 18 or above as at end of 2017.

Q3: The number of individuals given permission to work
Q4: Applications for the permission to work
A3-A4: As at end of 2017, ImmD received 108 applications for permission to
take up employment in Hong Kong by substantiated non-refoulement claimants
(“substantiated claimants”) and mandated refugees.  Among the 108
applications, 44 were approved, 10 rejected, 15 pending further
information from the applicants and 39 withdrawn or where no further
action can be taken.

All applications for permission to take up employment from a substantiated
claimant or mandated refugee will be handled as soon as practicable.  The
time required to assess and decide on an application depends on the
complexity of individual applications and whether the applicant has
submitted all the required information and supporting documents in a
timely manner.  In general, an application can be finalized in two to five
weeks after all the required information and supporting documents have
been received from the applicant.

We hope the above information would be useful to you.

Best regards,

Mr WONG Yu-him
for Director of Immigration

To learn more about the application requirements and procedures of the
most frequently used services provided by the Hong Kong Immigration
Department, you are welcome to visit the Easy Access Playlist at Hong Kong
Immigration Department [2]YouTube Channel. The concerned video clips have
Cantonese voice-over supplemented by Chinese or English subtitles.

Dear Mr. Wong,

Thank you for your reply. I would like to follow up on my data request regarding some of the information requested therein:

- The number of individuals that are currently in Hong Kong without being ordinarily resident and are not being removed by your Department on the basis of them being 'mandated refugees' (refugees recognised by UNHCR). How many of these individuals are adults?

- How many of the 75 adults whose non-refoulement claims have been substantiated by the Immigration Department or Torture Claims Appeal Board are currently in Hong Kong?

- How many of the individuals referred to in the two questions above are currently permitted to take up employment in Hong Kong? (I note that the number of applications is not the same as the number of individuals currently permitted because each individual could have applied more than once.)

- As mentioned in the last paragraph of the data request made on 9 March 2018, we would like data disaggregated by year from 2014 to 2017.

- What was the longest processing time for such applications?

I would also like to know what are the three most common reasons for your Department to reject these applications for permission to work.

Thank you,
Annie Li

入境事務處

Our ref. :   L/M in ImmD PRL/6-5/1

Dear Ms Li,

Thank you for your email enquiry dated 13 April 2018.  The matters raised
therein are receiving attention and a reply will be given to you in due
course.

Best regards,

Mr WONG Yu-him
for Director of Immigration

To learn more about the application requirements and procedures of the
most frequently used services provided by the Hong Kong Immigration
Department, you are welcome to visit the Easy Access Playlist at Hong Kong
Immigration Department [1]YouTube Channel. The concerned video clips have
Cantonese voice-over supplemented by Chinese or English subtitles.

入境事務處

Our ref. : L/M in ImmD PRL/6-5/1

Dear Ms Li,

We refer to your email enquiry dated 13 April 2018 and our interim reply
on 20 April 2018.  We need more time to handle your request and we shall
revert to you soon.

Best regards,

Mr WONG Yu-him
for Director of Immigration

To learn more about the application requirements and procedures of the
most frequently used services provided by the Hong Kong Immigration
Department, you are welcome to visit the Easy Access Playlist at Hong Kong
Immigration Department [1]YouTube Channel. The concerned video clips have
Cantonese voice-over supplemented by Chinese or English subtitles.

入境事務處

Our ref.:  L/M in ImmD PRL/6-5/1

Dear Ms Li,

 

Thank you for your email enquiries of 13 April 2018.  Further to our
interim replies on 20 April 2018 and 3 May 2018, our substantive reply is
as follows.

 

1.          Number of refugees recognized by the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) (“mandated refugees”) who are
currently in Hong Kong and among them, the number of those who are adults

 

The Immigration Department (“ImmD”) does not maintain regular statistics
on mandated refugees.  You may wish to approach UNHCR for information
regarding mandated refugees.

 

2.          Number of adult substantiated claimants who are currently in
Hong Kong

 

Removal of non-refoulement claimants whose claims have been substantiated
will be withheld until their claimed risk ceases to exist.  Any claimants
may, however, leave Hong Kong on their own accord and not to pursue
further with their claims.  ImmD does not maintain regular statistics on
the number of substantiated claimants currently in Hong Kong.

 

3.          Number of substantiated claimants and mandated refugees given
permission to work in Hong Kong

 

As at end of 2017, 9 substantiated claimants and 9 mandated refugees have
been permitted to take up employment in Hong Kong.

 

4.          Figures on applications for permission to work with yearly
breakdown from 2014 to 2017

 

Please see the table below:-

 

 

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| | Number of | Number of | Number of | Number of applications  |
|Year|applications|applications |applications |withdrawn by applicants or|
| | received | approved | refused | where no further action |
| | | | | could be taken |
|----+------------+-------------+-------------+--------------------------|
|2014| 21 | 5 | 3 | 10 |
|----+------------+-------------+-------------+--------------------------|
|2015| 10 | 2 | 2 | 9 |
|----+------------+-------------+-------------+--------------------------|
|2016| 24 | 14 | 5 | 9 |
|----+------------+-------------+-------------+--------------------------|
|2017| 36 | 19 | 0 | 10 |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Note: The number of applications finalised generally does not fully
correspond to the number of applications received in a particular year
since the receipt and completion of processing of an application may not
fall in the same year.

 

5.          The longest processing time for applications for permission to
work

 

ImmD does not maintain statistics on the processing time of individual
permission to work applications.  In general, an application can be
finalised in two to five weeks, subject to all required information and
supporting documents being received from the applicant.

 

6.          The three most common reasons for ImmD to reject applications
for permission to work

 

The Director will consider a request for permission to work on a
discretionary and exceptional basis, having regard to individual case
merits and the entire circumstances of the case.  ImmD does not maintain
statistics on the refusal reasons of permission to work requests. 
Generally, all requests for permission to work are considered on a
discretionary and exceptional basis, having regard to individual case
merits and the entire circumstances of the case, taking into consideration
an array of factors such as details of the intended employment and the
prospective employer, personal circumstances and health condition of the
applicant, security concerns (if any) to the community, impact on the
relevant local employment sector, impact on the maintenance of effective
immigration control in Hong Kong, etc..  ImmD will also take into account
any strong compassionate or humanitarian reasons or other special
extenuating circumstances when making the decision.  It is not uncommon
that in the case of refusal of requests for permission to work, ImmD has
been unable to give any meaningful consideration in the absence of
sufficient relevant supporting information / document(s).

 

Best regards,

 

Mr WONG Yu-him

for Director of Immigration

To learn more about the application requirements and procedures of the
most frequently used services provided by the Hong Kong Immigration
Department, you are welcome to visit the Easy Access Playlist at Hong Kong
Immigration Department [1]YouTube Channel. The concerned video clips have
Cantonese voice-over supplemented by Chinese or English subtitles.