New immigration regulations to take effect in August
The Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 which aims to improve the handling of non-refoulement claims will take effect from August 1 onwards, the Immigration Department announced today.
The Department said the ordinance is set to enhance efficiency in screening over non-refoulement claims by illegal workers and preventing delaying tactics. It will also improve the procedures and functions of the Torture Claims Appeal Board and stepping up the interception at source, enforcement, removal as well as detention of claimants.
The new regulations state that claimants must attend interviews upon the request of the Department, and if a claimant does not attend the interview, a decision on the claim may still be made without the claimant being present.
It also stated that the Department will, if necessary, provide a claimant with an interpreter. However, this may be refused under “certain unique circumstances”, where the Department reasonably considers the claimant’s capability of communicating in a certain language.
Additionally, should a claimant refuse a medical examination, the Department has stated that the disputed physical or mental condition of a claimant may not be taken into account when deciding their claim.
If an oral hearing is required, the notice period may be shortened to 28 days but not less than seven days before the hearing, if the appeal board deems it appropriate.
A spokesman for the Security Bureau has stated that the procedural changes will continue to meet the legal requirements of “high standards of fairness” as laid down by the court. He also said that the new arrangements will improve the efficiency of the TCAB and the Immigration Department