Plan to allow 4.1m Shenzhen non-residents into HK shelved, says Leung
The central government has suspended a policy that would allow 4.1 million non-residents of Shenzhen to enter Hong Kong on multiple-visit permits, the chief executive said on Friday.
The central government has indefinitely suspended a new policy that would allow 4.1 million non-residents of Shenzhen to enter Hong Kong on multiple-visit permits, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced on Friday.
The policy would not come into force until its impact on Hong Kong was assessed further, and the city’s ability to cope with the influx was confirmed, Leung told a press conference at government headquarters.
“The mainland authorities have agreed to consider implementing the measure only after it is certain that Hong Kong is capable of accepting the visitors,” he said. “There is no timetable right now.”
Leung made the announcement after a discussion, between his immigration and security officials and mainland authorities, Hongkongers’ concerns about the influx of visitors the plan could cause.
It was originally going to allow 4.1 million non-residents of Shenzhen to enter Hong Kong from September 1, using multiple-visit visas under the individual visit scheme. The visas were previously available only to Shenzhen’s 2.8 million permanent residents.
That plan caused consternation among many Hong Kong residents, who felt the surge would overwhelm local infrastructures and push up prices of consumer goods.
Leung said the current policy would remain in place. It allows 4.1 million Shenzhen non-residents to travel to Hong Kong on a single-visit permit or a dual-visit permit.
“The prerequisite for implementing the new measure is that it will not affect Hong Kong people’s lives,” Leung said.
The relaxation was earlier put on hold until September 20 because Hong Kong and the mainland needed time to discuss its impact.