Service Enhancement and Strict Enforcement
Immigration Department

Exemplary Services@Gov

The Immigration Department (ImmD) provides diversified and wide-ranging services that are closely related to the daily lives of the general public. ImmD has been upholding the values of “keeping abreast of the times and remaining responsive to changes in a people-based manner” in providing the best quality services for the general public and visitors. Meanwhile, ImmD exercises effective immigration control and endeavours to combat illegal employment and immigration-related crimes.

Keeping abreast of the times to provide speedy and convenient immigration service

In 2018, a total of 314 million passengers passed through various control points, hitting a record high over the years. In face of enormous passenger throughput, ImmD has utilised information technology in launching the Smart Departure service to allow eligible passengers to perform departure clearance through the e-Channel without prior enrolment, which has shortened the whole clearance process to 20 seconds on average. Furthermore, ImmD ranked high for the past five years in a survey commissioned by Skytrax, an international specialist research agent of the air transport industry, and has even been voted the winner of the best airport immigration service award three times, which show that their professional services have won the recognition and praise from the community and visitors worldwide.

Responsive to changes in formulating comprehensive enforcement strategies

In order to maintain the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, ImmD has been providing full support for the Government’s comprehensive review of the strategy for handling non-refoulement claims in addition to its endeavours to combat criminal activities involving unlawful employment and bogus marriages. With flexible staff deployment and streamlined workflows, the screening of non-refoulement claims has been expedited while following procedures that meet high standards of fairness. As a result, all backlog cases were cleared in the first quarter of 2019 and new claims can generally be handled readily thereafter.

Adopting a people-based approach to care for the public and staff

ImmD always has users’ needs in mind when designing new services. One such example is the Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise launched in December 2018, under which a number of facilitation measures, such as the Arrangements for Identity Card Replacement with the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, and the On-site Identity Card Replacement Service, have been introduced [please refer to the article on Team Award (General Service) for details]. In May 2019, ImmD introduced the new HKSAR electronic passport with enhanced security features, and the application processing time has been reduced from 10 to 5 working days since then.

ImmD’s departmental culture is the cornerstone of its staff’s efforts in living up to the department’s vision and serving the public with devotion. ImmD has all along been committed to providing its staff with flexible and diverse learning pathways. Some of its induction and in-service training programmes have even been recognised under the Qualifications Framework. ImmD hopes that the quality of the immigration service can be enhanced through the pursuit of life-long learning. ImmD also takes staff’s opinions seriously. In addition to meeting with staff representatives on a regular basis, the management maintains effective communication with frontline staff through exchanges from time to time and responds positively to their demands. The Staff Suggestions Scheme serves as a good example.

To support the continuous development of society, ImmD has always remained sensitive and been striving to provide the public with services of the best quality by formulating corresponding business strategies and operational procedures to meet new challenges.

The Smart Departure service has been well-received by visitors since its launch. From its launch in October 2017 up to the end of 2018, a total of 6.2 million visitors in various control points had used the service.
ImmD’s output of handling non-refoulement claims has gradually increased year by year, and the screening of all backlog cases was completed in the first quarter of 2019.
The design of the new e-Channel has been optimised with enhanced aesthetics and ergonomics, as well as higher operational efficiency and more convenient and faster services.