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Readmission agreements with Macao and Hong Kong

The agreements concluded by the European Union (EU) with Macao and Hong Kong aim at facilitating the return of unauthorised immigrants from these Special Administrative Regions of China as well as nationals of other countries who have been in transit through these regions before reaching the EU.

ACT

Council Decision 2004/424/EC of 21 April 2004 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.

Council Decision 2004/80/EC of 17 December 2003 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.

SUMMARY

Macao and Hong Kong are Special Administrative Regions of China. Their nationals benefit from a visa exemption for stays in the EU lasting under three months.

The Agreements concluded by the European Union (EU) with Macao and Hong Kong lay down the principle of repatriation of their nationals residing without authorisation in a Member State. The Agreements also organise, under certain conditions, the repatriation of persons who are not permanent residents of these regions (persons from other jurisdictions).

Obligation of readmission

Macao and Hong Kong agree to readmit their permanent residents if they do not, or no longer, fulfil the conditions for entry, presence or residence in EU territory. This also applies to persons who have lost their right to permanent residence after having entered the EU.

The Agreement lists the documents enabling a person’s nationality or permanent residence to be established. If none of the documents listed can be produced, the competent authority in the Member State wishing to deport the person in question, and the Macao or Hong Kong authorities, interview the person in order to establish their nationality or permanent residence.

Macao and Hong Kong also undertake to readmit persons from other jurisdictions, on condition that the person concerned:

  • holds, when entering the EU, a valid visa or residence permit issued by Macao or Hong Kong; or
  • has entered the territory of a Member State illegally, arriving directly from Macao or Hong Kong.

This obligation does not apply in the following cases:

  • the person in question has only been in transit through an international airport without entering the territory of the Special Administrative Regions;
  • the Member State has issued the person in question with a residence permit or visa the validity of which extends beyond that of the document that the person obtained from Macao or Hong Kong.

The Agreement operates on the basis of full reciprocity, and the same provisions apply to European nationals residing illegally in Macao or Hong Kong and to the nationals of other countries who have been in transit through the EU prior to entering one of the Special Administrative Regions illegally.

Readmission procedure

An application for readmission must be made to Macao or Hong Kong, at the latest one year after the competent authority of the Member State wishing to deport the person has become aware of their unauthorised residence. This period may be extended if there are obstacles preventing the application being made in due time.

A reply must be issued within a maximum of one month, and grounds must be given for all refusals. If a reply is not given within this period, the application is considered to have been approved.

The authorities of the Administrative Region concerned and those of the Member State agree on the date of transfer, point of border crossing and any escort. Return generally takes place by air.

Macao and Hong Kong also undertake to authorise the transit through their territory of persons from other jurisdictions if a Member State makes a request. They may, however, refuse, if the person is likely to be persecuted or to be the subject of prosecution or criminal penalties in another transit country or in the country to which they are being returned.

All transport costs incurred up to the point of border crossing of the final destination State are paid by the Member State that has requested readmission.

Denmark is not a party to these Agreements.

Context

Readmission agreements form part of EU strategy on illegal immigration. Several other agreements concerning readmission have been concluded between the EU and Ukraine, Moldavia, and Georgia, Russia, the countries of the Western Balkans,Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision 2004/424/EC

21.4.2004

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OJ L 143, 30.4.2004

Decision 2004/80/EC

17.12.2003

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OJ L 17, 24.1.2004

Last updated: 22.11.2011
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