Legislator seeks equal access to mainland for non-Chinese residents Expatriates with permanent residency in Hong Kong should be granted permits to visit the mainland, the same as Chinese citizens, a local delegate to the mainland's top advisory body says. Howard Young, tourism-sector legislator and member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, plans to table a motion to this effect during the 12-day annual session of the CPPCC, which opened in Beijing yesterday. 'Non-Chinese residents also work [in Hong Kong] and pay taxes there. Some of them have Chinese spouses and half-Chinese children who hold home-return permits. Why can't the father visit the mainland freely while the son can?' he asked. Chinese citizens with permanent residency in Hong Kong are issued with permits similar to a smart identity card that enable them to pass quickly and easily through the border. Non-Chinese need a visa and must use their passports. Mr Young said having lived or worked in the city for seven years to obtain permanent residency demonstrated expatriates' commitment to Hong Kong and they should be granted equal status to visit the mainland. 'This would allow more people to travel and work on the mainland conveniently.' He said such a move would also attract more foreign businesspeople to set up company headquarters and stay in Hong Kong, as many who set up in the city had eyes on the mainland market. East Asia expert David Zweig said such a move would imply a blurring of the boundary between Hong Kong and the mainland. Without the need to demonstrate citizenship, the same policy governing permanent expatriates in Hong Kong would extend to the mainland, said Professor Zweig, director of the Centre on China's Transnational Relations at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Many expatriates in Hong Kong have multiple-entry mainland visas valid for up to three years. General Chamber of Commerce chief economist David O'Rear said the chamber had already suggested to the government that visa access to the mainland be granted on the basis of residency rather than race. The move would foster tourism to the mainland. 'The same terms should apply to people who have the same classification of residency in Hong Kong,' Mr O'Rear said. Andrew Work, executive director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the proposal. There are about 220,000 Canadians living and working in Hong Kong. In a separate motion, Mr Young will propose enlarging a recently approved scheme that allows local travel agencies to run Hong Kong and Macau tours from Guangdong. He wants the scheme extended to the pan-Pearl River Delta and provinces along the Yangtze River, and the agencies to be allowed to organise tours to overseas destinations. Another local legislator and CPPCC delegate, Chan Yuen-han, will table a motion suggesting the original residency of mainland women married to Hong Kong men be retained for three years after they move to Hong Kong. Ms Chan said this measure would give female immigrants who did not adapt to their new life or suffered from family violence an option to return home.