Hong Kong has made a bold decision on India that it will no longer allow visa-free entry for Indians. The new initiative by Hong Kong is being considered as a huge setback for India’s foreign negotiation and a big step backward for improving marketing relations.
As per estimations, nearly 5 lakh Indians visit Hong Kong every year for reasons which include tourism, marketing, education, and jobs. Till now, Indians would have entered Hong Kong without Visa for 14 days for making seamless marketing. Now, Hong Kong stopped to allow the Indians without Visa. After the new Visa requirement, relations between Hong Kong and India may be affected in future.
Hong Kong Immigration Department has officially announced this statement on their website. It said, “Indians must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transfer the HKSAR visa-free. Pre-Arrival registration is not required for Indians in the direct journey by air and not leaving the airport transit area.”
They also mentioned on their website regarding Visa process and the new rules would be applied from January 23, 2017.
Why Hong Kong Stops Visa-Free Entry for Indians and What are the Main Reasons for This?
There are mainly two reasons for this. First is China Angle. Since 1997, Hong Kong became a special secretarial region of China, after 1984 Sino-British joint declaration came into force.
Hence, some experts are saying that this decision was taken under directions of China, which has opposing India’s stand on Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet and Pakistan as well. Hence, this can be labeled as a political cold-war between India and China using Hong-Kong as the excuse. Next strong reason for stopping Visa-Free Entry for Indians is Asylum seekers, which is a big issue troubling Hong Kong since many years.
Indian Asylum Seekers are Unsolicited?
In history, Hong Kong has been a major receiver of Asylum seekers from South East Asia. The trend started in 1949 when Chinese Civil War ended, and thousands of Shelter searchers landed on the coasts of Hong Kong for protection.
Afterward, Vietnam War also added to this trend, and as a result, currently Hong Kong is a place packed with Asylum seekers from all over the world. In between 2014-15, it has increased by 70%, and as of April 2015, 9,900 international citizens are looking for a place of safety in Hong Kong.
Now, reports said that 50% of all Shelter seekers are from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh only. Hong Kong Government provides sponsored accommodation, free food and basic health care free of cost for all pending applicants; they are viewing long queues of international citizens waiting for getting an entry into their country.
Many reports stated that due to pressure from China, Hong Kong has come up with this move on India.