Services for Migrants
Provision of Assistance for Non-Refoulement Claimants
The services to non-refoulement claimants are provided on humanitarian grounds. The amount of assistance is determined by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) as a form of tide-over support for prevention of destitution of non-refoulement claimants.
Whom We Serve
Foreigners who smuggled themselves into Hong Kong, and visitors who overstayed their limit of stay allowed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) or who were refused entry by ImmD upon arrival at Hong Kong (collectively “illegal immigrants” below) are subject to be removed from Hong Kong in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115).
Illegal immigrants who lodge claims refusing to be removed to another country are called non-refoulement claimants.
Pursuant to the United Nations Convention Against Torture which applies to Hong Kong since 1992 and multiple court rulings since 2004, ImmD cannot remove those illegal immigrants to another country where they would face a genuine and personal risk of being subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or persecution at that country. ImmD must follow procedures which meet high standards of fairness in assessing non-refoulement claims.
The standard rates, depending on the family size as well as the age and physical condition of recipients, cover the basic needs of nourishment, transport and accommodation. The scope of assistance includes:
Each service user is assigned a caseworker for intake and needs identification, counselling, advice, provision of crisis intervention, ongoing case management and referrals to external support. Review of the case is conducted once a month and home visits are paid regularly as ongoing case management. Activities or group counselling are sometimes organised for training and consultation purposes, such as workshops on parenting skills, for service users.
The standard rate of food allowance is HK$1,200 each month for every eligible adult and child service user. Supermarket coupons with a total value of HK$1,200 a month is distributed to each service user for purchase of food items which excludes alcohol, cigarettes, medicines, health and beauty products and gift items. The food coupons are non-cashable and non-transferrable. Receipts are to be presented to ISS-HK upon collection of new coupons every month. The coupon holders are responsible for the loss of coupons. No replacements will be issued. In-kind emergency food is available in service centres for those in desperate need.
Accommodation and utilities
The non-refoulement claimants are to find their own flats in Hong Kong. The standard rate of rental subsidy for an eligible adult service user is HK$1,500 and HK$750 for an eligible dependent child. Rents are paid directly to the landlords after successful home visits by ISS-HK and submission of required documents. A monthly allowance on gas, water and electricity amounting to HK$300 in total is allotted for each eligible service user. Agency fees and one-off rental deposits are provided to each eligible service user, which can be rescinded if the service user fails to meet the terms of the tenancy agreement for reclamation of the deposit.
Unaccompanied minors of non-refoulement claimants will be admitted into the ISS-HK’s Anthony Lawrence International Refuge for Newcomers with 24-hour supervision. Temporary and emergency housing, subject to regular needs assessment, is provided on a case-by-case basis to the neediest recipients including single mothers with children and disabled persons.
Eligible service users are provided with petty cash to meet travelling needs for various purposes, including reporting to the Immigration Department, attending medical appointments, attending spiritual worship, meeting with lawyers, collecting food and toiletries as well as meeting with the ISS-HK by the cheapest means of transportation.
Clothing and toiletries
Toiletries include washing powder, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toilet papers, sanitary pads for women, razors for men, baby items such as milk bottles for babies are distributed on a monthly basis to eligible service users. Provision of clothing relies on external donations, ISS-HK encourages service users to tap into their own resources for clothing.
Available assistance beyond ISS-HK programme
- Medical waiver
In accordance with the current practices for waiving of medical charges for non-eligible persons, recommendations for one-off waiver of medical expenses at public clinics or hospitals for accident and emergency service, general and special out-patient service, in-patient service etc. are given to non-refoulement claimants regardless of the stage of their claim proceedings on a case-by-case basis subject to the assessment by the Hospital Authority or service units of the Social Welfare Department.
For schooling arrangements, the Education Bureau accepts schooling applications for minors of non-refoulement claimants who wish to attend schools on a discretionary basis for admission to primary or secondary schools, or to a six-month full-time Initiation Programme designed for newly arrived non-Chinese speaking children. The Student Financial Assistance Agency, renamed as Student Finance Office on 1 March 2015, considers applications for tuition fee subsidy on a need basis.
Free legal assistance is provided to non-refoulement claimants through the Publicly-funded Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Applicants, which is operated by the Duty Lawyer Service.
- Medical waiver
The ISS-HK is commissioned to take referrals for assistance to non-refoulement claimants from the SWD. The needs of referred non-refoulement claimants will be assessed upon their first interview with the ISS-HK according to the situations of the person concerned, including the availability of his own resources and the resources available to him from other sources. The amount and scope of assistance will be reviewed monthly and stated in the service contracts between ISS-HK and the service users.
Assistance will be forfeited or withheld if the service users fail to come to ISS-HK for service contract renewal. The service user will have to submit and sign a Voluntary Withdrawal form if he refuses to receive ISS-HK’s assistance for non-refoulement claimants, and rejection of certain assistance will be noted by the ISS-HK.
Mon-Fri: 9am-12 noon / 2pm - 5pm
Tel: 2789 7601
Fax: 2392 5675
Address: Unit 03-07, 12/F, Kwun Tong Harbour Plaza, 182 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon(view map)