Staff reporter

Mainlanders and non-permanent residents who are not in Hong Kong can renew their work and student visas online starting today, the Immigration Department announced yesterday, days after a proposal was put forward. by six legislators.

The measure only applies to visa renewals and will not be open to new applicants.

Previously, people applying for a visa extension had to be physically present in Hong Kong. However, the department said the ongoing fifth wave has made the process impossible for those who cannot return to the city.

“As the fifth wave is expected to last for some time, the department has explored how to facilitate applications from non-permanent residents who are out of Hong Kong and cannot return in time,” he said.

The interim measure, which will expire on December 31, will affect at least 45,000 visa holders in nine categories.

Mainland professionals, non-local graduates, capital investment entrants and students enrolled in full-time study programs in Hong Kong are among those who will benefit from the new policy.

The department said it “will consider whether to extend the measure in due course” depending on how the frontline of the pandemic develops.

Successful applicants will be able to upload their e-visas and activate renewals from outside the SAR. The announcement came after six lawmakers and the Hua Jing Society – an SAR-based group for mainlanders – wrote an open letter to three senior officials, asking them to allow the activation of Hong Kong visas without permission. obligation to be physically present.

The six lawmakers – Wendy Hong Wen, Erik Yim Kong, Gary Zhang Xinyu, Brave Chan Yung, Tan Yueheng and Chow Man-kong – also suggested the measure be extended to new candidates.

As of last year, at least 15,000 mainlanders have worked in Hong Kong and more than 10,000 have studied in the city.

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