Home Labor Hong Kong Grapples with “Fake Refugee” Claims, Ramps Up Deportations and Enforcement

Hong Kong Grapples with “Fake Refugee” Claims, Ramps Up Deportations and Enforcement

Immigration Department

HONG KONG – Hong Kong continues to face a significant influx of non-refoulement claims, often dubbed “fake refugee” cases, straining resources and prompting the government to take increasingly stringent measures. Since the implementation of a unified screening mechanism in 2014, over 25,000 claims have been processed, with the majority originating from Vietnam, Indonesia, and India.

The financial burden has been substantial, exceeding HK$6.3 billion over the past six years. The upcoming budget allocates significant funds to address the issue, including HK$364 million for processing claims and appeals, HK$59 million for deportations, and HK$583 million for humanitarian assistance.

Deportation efforts have intensified, with a 63% increase in 2023 compared to the previous year. Since 2014, a total of 2,204 individuals have been deported, highlighting the government’s commitment to tackling the problem.

To deter abuse of the system, authorities have implemented a pre-notification passenger information system to identify potential offenders before arrival. Additionally, the appeal process has been streamlined, reducing processing times by nearly half.

Further measures include increasing detention capacity by 33% to accommodate individuals posing a higher risk to public security. The government also remains committed to conducting at least 12,000 inspections annually to combat illegal employment, a key factor attracting false claims.

While humanitarian aid continues to be provided, with HK$580 million allocated for the 2023-24 period, the government’s focus has shifted towards stricter enforcement and deterrence. The effectiveness of these measures in curbing the influx of “fake refugee” claims remains to be seen.