Basis of migrants' defence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 February, 1999, 12:00am

Case for the 18 applicants: The right of abode given to the mainland-born children of permanent residents under Article 24 of the Basic Law cannot be detracted from by immigration controls.

A person who has been verified as a permanent resident, including those who have this status under Article 24, cannot be the subject of removal orders.

The Director of Immigration is constitutionally bound to treat such people as permanent residents, and it violates their right of abode by first detaining and then removing them.

The use of the certificate of entitlement scheme to exclude such permanent residents from Hong Kong is unconstitutional.

It is unreasonable to remove these people in order for them to obtain certificates of entitlement on the mainland when no constitutional scheme exists for them to do so.

The court can order the Director of Immigration to make lawful arrangements for them to apply for certificates of entitlement.

The mainland's apparent unhappiness with the landmark Court of Final Appeal ruling makes it possible that if the applicants are sent back their right of abode will be delayed or denied.