23th December 2013
Exposing the Myth of “Family Reunion” – New Immigrants from China
To most of the people of Hong Kong, Chinese apply for One-Way-Permit to reunite with their spouses and parents in Hong Kong. Hong Kongers agree that reuniting with one’s family is a fundamental human right that cannot be denied. Since reuniting with one’s family is so important, why are there so many One-Way-Permit applicants choose to be separated from their spouses and young children for years in order to gain their permits?
There are many single elderly in Hong Kong. According to the One-Way-Permit system, elderly at a certain age without any children in Hong Kong can apply for one of his/her adult children to move to Hong Kong to take care of him/her. These elderly do not have to prove that they have sufficient financial capability, hence many elderly who benefit from the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme would take the opportunity to apply for their children to move to Hong Kong – however, if a person has more than one child in China, he/she could only apply one of them to move to Hong Kong.
Why don’t these elderly reunite with their children and grandchildren in China? The common reason is the social welfare system and medical facilities in Hong Kong are better than those in China. The key reason, however, is that four years after this child of this elderly has moved to Hong Kong, his/her spouse and children can move to Hong Kong to enjoy the relatively better education system and medical facilities. If there is financial need, his/her children can apply for CSSA immediately after they arrive, whereas adults have to wait for seven years (for permanent residency) – However, the recent Court of Final Appeal ruling has reduced the “waiting period” to one year. This has become a greater attraction. According to news reports, Kong Yunming, the plaintiff has successfully applied for her son (adult) to immigrate to Hong Kong.
Although in theory, Ms Kong’s adult son moved to Hong Kong to look after Ms Kong, it is impossible to verify if he has done his duty. Some new immigrants who received their One-Way-Permit via this channel would immediately move out of their parents’ home and claim that they cannot support parents in Hong Kong financially because they have to support their families in China, in order to ensure that their parents can continue to receive CSSA benefits. In many cases, new immigrants would immediately move back to China after they receive their Hong Kong residency and wait for four years so that they can apply for their whole family to move to Hong Kong.
At present, Chinese government has full control and approval rights over the One-Way-Permit system, and the Hong Kong SAR government has no right to review or approve these applications – this is the thing that upset Hong Kongers the most. Unless Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is elected via a democratic election/universal suffrage, this cannot be changed – no China appointed Chief Executive would dare to try to take back the approval right of One-Way-Permit.
(Article submitted by a retired Social Welfare Department staff, headline decided by Editor of PassionTimes)