24. READMISSION AGREEMENT WITH HONG KONG
(a) Draft Council Decision concerning the signing of the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.
(b) Draft Council Decision concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.
|Legal base:||(a) Articles 63(3) and 300(2)EC; ; unanimity
(b) Articles 63(3) and 300(2) and (3) EC; consultation; unanimity
|Document originated:||18 April 2002
|Deposited in Parliament:||24 May 2002
|Basis of consideration:||EM of 27 May 2002
|Previous Committee Report:||None
|To be discussed in Council:||13 June 2002
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
24.1 These two draft Decisions relate to the signing
and concluding of the first Readmission Agreement with the Special
Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China
(Hong Kong). The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at
the Home Office (Angela Eagle) tells us that the proposal for
such an agreement arose during negotiations on the new Common
Visa List. The UK achieved an exemption for Hong Kong SAR from
a visa requirement. Other Member States agreed the exemption on
the condition that a Readmission Agreement was negotiated.
24.2 The document comprises the text of the two draft
Decisions and an Annex which contains the agreement itself. The
readmission obligations are fully reciprocal, and cover own nationals,
permanent residents and "persons of another jurisdiction"(defined
as including third-country nationals and stateless persons). The
obligation to readmit persons of another jurisdiction is limited
to those who held a valid residence authorisation or visa of the
requested Party at the time of entry, or who unlawfully entered
the territory of the requesting Party directly from the territory
of the requested Party. The agreement includes provisions covering
transit operations, technical matters relating to the readmission
procedure and the composition and remit of a monitoring Committee
The Government's view
24.3 The Minister tells us that the UK has opted into
both the negotiating mandate for the readmission agreement and
the agreement itself. She does not consider that the agreement
will significantly benefit the UK, although it may provide scope
for removing rejected asylum seekers from the Chinese mainland
who have arrived in the UK via Hong Kong SAR. More important,
however, is its contribution to a comprehensive Community approach
to tackling illegal migration, which the UK strongly supports.
24.4 The Minister reports that the Presidency is seeking
adoption of these Decisions at the JHA Council on 13 June so that
the agreement can be signed during the visit to Brussels of a
Government representative of the Hong Kong SAR later in the month.
24.5 We clear the document.