Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indian travellers.
Hong Kong immigration department said that the Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23, 2017. The online service for 'Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals' is now opened.
They also said that Indian must apply and complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free. Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area.
This is a major setback for over half a million Indians who visit the former British colony for business, trade and holidays.
Hong Kong, which is now a Special Administrative Region of China, has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. The facility has been withdrawn from India ostensibly on the ground that the number of Indian asylum seekers.
Indian officials say that Hong Kong is using the asylum seekers as pretext to deny the visa free entry to Indians who are one of the largest spenders contributing the local economy.
Hong Kong s Immigration department assistant director Ma Chi-ming has been quoted by South China Morning Post as saying that Indian visitors should not enter fake data to try to enhance their chance of entering Hong Kong to seek economic asylum as they would bear legal consequences.
In-charge of visas and policies, said,"We picked India as a testing point as it was one of the major source countries and"We do not rule out extending the scheme to other countries in the future."
Except for India, other countries nationals including those from Pakistan needed visas to enter Hong Kong.
Indian officials say that Hong Kong has become attractive destination for asylum seekers from the sub-continent as it offered facilities for food and stay free of cost until the asylum requests are processed.