ScoMo Announces Help for Hong Kongers

  • “For skilled and graduate visa-holders, we’ll be extending visas by five years from today, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of those five years.” 
  • Following Canada's lead, ScoMo also suspended extradition to Hong Kong.
  • Luo Guancong, who had already left Hong Kong, issued an open letter calling on countries around the world to "cancel or suspend the agreement with Hong Kong."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced that the government will provide temporary visas for Hong Kong students in Australia and help them become permanent residents of the country. There are currently about 10,000 Hong Kongers staying in Australia on a temporary or student visa.

Scott John Morrison, nicknamed ScoMo, is an Australian politician who is the 30th and current Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party since August 2018. He previously served in the Cabinet from 2013 to 2018, including as Treasurer of Australia.

Morrison announced that “for skilled and graduate visa-holders, we’ll be extending visas by five years from today, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of those five years.” He went on to say that before the expiration of the five-year validity period, the Australian government will provide a way to become a permanent resident.

In addition, for Hong Kong people who are not currently in Australia, but are interested in applying for temporary skilled labor visas, as long as they meet the technical list and the requirements of the authorities, the Australian government will also provide temporary visas valid for five years, and provide a way to become permanent residents.

The Australian government also warmly greeted non-profit organizations, news media, financial institutions, etc. with offices in Hong Kong, and invited them to move to Australia. The government said it will provide excellent treatment, and a visa program that will help the company place employees.

Australia Cancels Extradition Agreement with Hong Kong

Following Canada’s announcement last week to suspend its extradition agreement signed with Hong Kong, Prime Minister Morrison also announced on Thursday that Australia too would suspend its extradition agreement with the SAR.

Morrison said that the National Security Act in Hong Kong last week brought fundamental changes to Hong Kong, so Australia decided to suspend the implementation of the extradition agreement.

Luo Guancong Calls on All Countries to Suspend Extraditions

The Hong Kong national security law is a decision adopted by the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress, to authorize the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong. The pan-democratic camp, human rights organisations and politicians abroad have criticised the decision as a threat to the “one country, two systems” principle, the rule of law and civil liberties.

On July 8, Luo Guancong, who had already left Hong Kong, issued an open letter calling on countries around the world to “cancel or suspend the agreement with Hong Kong for the transfer of fugitive offenders.”

In his open letter, he wrote that among the countries that publicly opposed the legislation on national security laws, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States had signed extradition agreements with the Hong Kong government.

In addition to Canada, which has announced the suspension of the extradition agreement with Hong Kong, he called on 18 other countries to immediately suspend or cancel the relevant arrangements.

He also stated that he had sent an English-language open letter to seven national executive heads (Australia, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States) who were against the National Security Law in the United Nations and the media.

He wrote in an open letter, “China strongly deplores and opposes the groundless accusations and measures announced by the Australian government with regard to Hong Kong.” It also said they were “a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

For the above reasons, he called on these countries to imitate Canada, “suspend execution or terminate the agreement with Hong Kong on the transfer of fugitive offenders, and re-examine whether the arrangements for the extradition of fugitive offenders should be restarted when the National Security Law is reviewed or canceled,” and to protect democracy, freedom and human rights work together.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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