Why such long wait at Immigration Tower?

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 March, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 March, 1995, 12:00am

THERE has recently been publicity about the Immigration Department's provision of more officers at various immigration entry points throughout the territory in order to facilitate the speedy entry of tourists and their money, however, it appears that speed is definitely not the order of the day at Immigration Tower, Wan Chai.

In actual fact, the time wasted to process applications is almost sufficient to qualify for permanent residency.

I visited the 7th floor on February 23 in order to report my marriage to a Filipina on February 12, and apply for a dependent visa as I am a government servant with 12 years' service in Hong Kong.

Arriving shortly before 10am I filled in the relevant papers and queued for five minutes to hand them in before waiting 15 minutes to be called for an interview at Counter 4.

The immigration officer was polite and helpful and, after checking the originals and copies in a multitude of documents, sent us to Counter 23 to await being called upon to make the necessary payment.

The first hour passed and the Quick Crossword and Bridge Problem were history, the second hour resulted in a fair effort at the Cryptic and some annoyance. Hour three saw your paper read and inwardly digested from cover to cover and extreme displeasure, while at the end of the fourth hour sanity and patience had completely disappeared. Fortunately, we were called upon to pay at this juncture and my wife's insistence that we leave, rather than explain my feelings to all and sundry, was heeded.

I would like some clarification from the Director of Immigration as to why we had to wait four hours to simply pay a bill, collect only a two-month extension and be informed on a little white card that we would be called for a further interview. The cashier's explanation was that a file had to be opened, which may be so, but as they had already seen the originals and retained the copies is it really necessary to ask us to wait while they do so? Especially as we have to make a return visit. More importantly, should I take a week's leave from work for this purpose? NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED