2009-2010 represents a year of re-consolidation and forward-moving for the Immigration Department. We have continued to make all-out efforts to meet the needs and aspiration of our community. New initiatives were brought about to enhance level of convenience and standards, and challenges were met in exercising our professionalism in maintaining Hong Kong's immigration control regime. Leveraging on the commitment of our staff, we will continue to fulfil our mission in contributing to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

Upholding its place as a popular tourist destination and an international hub for business, trade and logistics, Hong Kong has been maintaining a liberal visa regime to enhance travel convenience for visitors on the one hand, and attracting professionals, quality migrants and capital to increase our competitiveness on the other. Through the promotion of various talent admission schemes and constant review of the related business processes, we take forward an open immigration policy in attracting more talents to expedite the development of Hong Kong's economy and consolidate Hong Kong's status as a cosmopolitan city.

As a strategic gateway to the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region, Hong Kong has strengthened the bonds with the Mainland, Taiwan and Macao through the implementation of streamlined entry arrangements and extension of e-Channel services. Through greater travel convenience for Taiwan residents to visit Hong Kong, our connection with Taiwan was brought closer. Efficient immigration clearance service continued to be provided by extending e-Channels services to Hong Kong and Macao permanent residents travelling between the two places. With the additional boost of Mainland and overseas tourists, thanks to the extension of the Individual Visit Scheme and multiple-journey exit endorsement for the Mainland residents, the extension of the Working Holiday Scheme and the delivery of e-Channel services to frequent visitors, the local tourism and related industries were further benefited.

While supporting Hong Kong's prosperity through various facilitation schemes, we spare no efforts in maintaining Hong Kong's stability and law and order through effective immigration control and enforcement. Our firm efforts in combating illegal employment and thereby safeguarding job opportunities for local workforce can be seen from the enactment of the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2009. Apart from this deterrent measure, enforcement operations were also frequently taken out against immigration offenders, some supported by co-operation and intelligence exchange with the Mainland and overseas counterparts to combat clandestine migration activities. To highlight, we have joined hands with the Guangdong and Shenzhen Police in September 2010 in neutralizing an active forgery syndicate which arranged Mainland residents to come to Hong Kong for illegal employment with forged Hong Kong identity cards. Our proactive planning together with the Correctional Services Department has also been proved fruitful as the management and operation of the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre were reverted smoothly to the Immigration Department on April 15, 2010.

It has always been our commitment to provide quality and efficient services to members of the public. We strived to secure more visa-free access or visa-on-arrival treatment to HKSAR passport holders. Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine and Grenada have granted such treatment to HKSAR passport holders in 2010, making the total number of countries / territories to 143 as at the end of November 2010. Noting the greater ease and higher frequency for Hong Kong residents travelling to the Mainland and abroad along with the tide of globalisation, we have also in parallel reinforced our support and assistance to those needy Hong Kong residents. The Department's 24-hour hotline (852) 1868 enables local residents in distress outside Hong Kong to seek information and emergency assistance wherever and whenever they are in need and we have upgraded the hotline system by doubling its handling capacity. Moreover, on December 6, 2010, we launched another new initiative – the Registration of Outbound Travel Information (ROTI) – which provides an on-line registration service to facilitate all eligible Hong Kong residents to register information on their trips outside Hong Kong on voluntary basis so that they can receive updates on Outbound Travel Alert and related public information from the HKSAR Government.

In this era of information technology, we have improved our delivery of public service through the extension of online booking and application. We have widened the scope of e-Services, including the launch of e-submission service for application of extension of stay for a number of categories of local residents from May 26, 2010. We trust that the public will enjoy greater convenience with these round-the-clock add-on facilities. To this end, we have completed the review of the Department's Information Systems Strategy (ISS), vigorously paving way for the formulation of a new ISS to improve efficiency and to deliver higher quality services to the public through judicious use of advanced information technologies in the years to come.

While striving to enhance our service level, we place no less emphasis on courtesy and compassion. We continue to hold the "Most Courteous Immigration Control Officers" election campaign, aiming at commending individual frontline officers for delivering outstanding customer service and nurturing a culture of quality service at the control points. In 2010, four members of the Department were commended under the Secretary for the Civil Service's Commendation Award Scheme. It is the sixth consecutive year that our officers received the Awards since the introduction of the Scheme in 2004. The Department has again won The Ombudsman's Grand Award in 2010 – as in 1999 and 2008 – with our staff members winning the Officers of Public Organisations Awards for 12 consecutive year, both showcasing our positive culture in complaint management.

All the above enhancements and achievements were built upon the concerted efforts and diligence of all members of the Department. In furthering the sustainability of the Department, we continue to foster a life-long learning atmosphere to strive for excellence. In echoing the sustainability of the society, we continue to adopt and promote green management. The year of 2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration Department. Our determination and loyalty in serving the pubic is succinctly captured in our thematic slogan "Devoted We Serve; Together We Excel". As we share the joys of the Golden Jubilee which belongs to each and every member of the Department, we shall continue to strive with professionalism, to serve the public in excellence with devotion and to forge ahead with our vision to be the foremost immigration service in the world in effectiveness and efficiency.

Peh Yun-lu, Simon
Director of Immigration