Talks on territory border controls

THE Chinese Ministry of Public Security has staged talks with the Hongkong Government over the relaxation of immigration controls on mainland holders of one-way and two-way permits to the territory.

Mr Tao Siju, Minister of Public Security, said yesterday his office had met the Hongkong Immigration Department to discuss an increase in the daily quota of one-way permit holders from the mainland to the territory.

He also expected the quota of two-way permit holders - who were allowed to enter Hongkong on family visits, pleasure tours and business trips - would be substantially increased because of the intensive economic exchange between the two.

''The exact number of the quota increase is still being negotiated between the two sides,'' he said.

''Many Chinese people wish to come to Hongkong to have a look because of the 1997 handover. We don't want to exert great pressure on the immigration [departments] by 1997,'' he said.

Mr Tao claimed the relaxation of immigration controls would not exert additional population pressure on Hongkong. The total of immigrants leaving the territory was larger than the number coming in.

''The brain drain problem in Hongkong has led to a drop in the labour force in the territory,'' he said.

''Hence professionals from the mainland should be allowed to go to Hongkong to work for two or three years.'' Mr Tao claimed another measure to simplify immigration procedures was the issuing of passes to Hongkong vehicles.

He also urged the Hongkong Government to shorten the period for processing visa applications for the Chinese staff of the Sino-foreign joint venture in China.