About 73 percent of the Hong Kong-based non-Chinese who applied for naturalization as Chinese nationals since 2012 have received approval, the Immigration Department said.
The number of non-Chinese applicants for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports between January 2012 and November 2015 was 5,736, of whom 4,201 were approved.
The department said the ethnicity, skin color and religion of applicants do not affect its decisions on their applications.
Since the Chinese Nationality Law was implemented in Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, the number of applicants who held Pakistani passports totalled 5,585, of whom 4,028, or 72.1 percent, were granted HKSAR passports.
This group of applicants is the largest by national origin, followed by those who held the passports of Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines, the department told EJ Insight in an emailed statement.
The department declined to comment on the recent rejection of an application for an HKSAR passport filed by a 17-year-old Hong Kong-born girl of Pakistani descent named Asma Butt, who said she couldn’t pursue her studies in Singapore because of her failure to obtain the passport.
A person is able to obtain an HKSAR passport if he or she has Chinese nationality and the right of abode in Hong Kong and holds a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card, the department said.
It would not comment on an individual case but said that, in general, a person who fulfills the requirements stated in Articles 7 and 8 of the Chinese Nationality Law will be able to obtain Chinese nationality.
It said it will consider each application for naturalization as a Chinese national on its own merits and will, in general, give consideration to the following factors:
(1) whether the applicant has a near relative who is a Chinese national having the right of abode in Hong Kong;(2) whether the applicant has the right of abode in Hong Kong;(3) whether the applicant’s habitual residence is in Hong Kong;(4) whether the principal members of the applicant’s family (spouse and minor children) are in Hong Kong;(5) whether the applicant has a reasonable income to support himself/herself and his/her family;(6) whether the applicant has paid taxes in accordance with the law;(7) whether the applicant is of good character and sound mind;(8) whether the applicant has sufficient knowledge of the Chinese language;(9) whether the applicant intends to continue to live in Hong Kong in case the naturalization application is approved; and(10) whether there are other legitimate reasons to support the application.
A person whose application for naturalization as a Chinese national has been approved shall not retain foreign nationality.
Applicants who are rejected can apply for their cases to be reviewed by a senior staff member of the department.
Butt told EJ Insight she applied on Jan. 2 for a review of her case.
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