Beijing, Jan 21: Indians will no longer have the visa-on-arrival facility while travelling to Hong Kong and will have to complete a pre-arrival registration.
The move, announced by the Hong Kong government in November last year, comes into effect from Monday.
"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," the Hong Kong Immigration Department said.
"Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit). Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area," the statement added. '
A large number of Indians go to Hong Kong -- a special representative zone of China. Earlier, Indians were allowed to visit Hong Kong visa-free with a stay of up to 14 days. The move has reportedly been taken in view of the growing number of asylum seekers.
Among the current backlog of 10,675 refugee applicants in the city, Indian nationals lead the pack with 19.7 per cent of all claimants, says South China Morning Post. About half entered the city illegally, with the other half being overstayers. One third were Indian visitors who were allowed to stay in Hong Kong visa-free for up to 14 days, it says.