Interview with the Director of Immigration alumnus Mr. Chan Kwok-ki


Mr Chan

The newly appointed Director of Immigration, Mr. Chan Kwok-ki, is an alumnus of Shue Yan. He graduated from the Department of Sociology in 1982. In an interview with Shue Yan Newsletter, he said that people were biased if they considered Shue Yan students less capable than others.

Mr. Chan, 52, is living proof that what he said was true. He joined the Immigration Department as an Assistant Immigration Officer in October 1982. In March this year, after 28 years of service, the State Council approved the appointment of Mr. Chan as Director of Immigration on the nomination of Mr. Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). This Shue Yan graduate has proved his ability to lead a disciplined force of some 6,620 officers in the face of many challenges.

Mr. Chan enrolled in the Department of Sociology of Hong Kong Shue Yan College after he graduated from Form 6 in 1978. He recalled that the Braemar Hill campus was not yet completed, so he went to the 3-storey school building in Happy Valley Sing Woo Road for classes every day. There was a small number of students. Teachers and students had a close relationship and they often had meals together outside of college hours.

Mr. Chan joined the Immigration Department immediately after his graduation from Shue Yan. At that time, the government did not officially recognize the academic qualifications awarded by registered Post Secondary Colleges, including Hong Kong Shue Yan College, as entry qualifications for civil service posts. This lack of recognition led to what he felt was unfair treatment in the early stages of his career in the Immigration Department. Once the Immigration Department offered training courses for its staff and stipulated that enrollment was only for officers who had graduated from Form 7 (matriculated). He was confident that he was eligible. However, he discovered that Shue Yan’s academic qualification was not recognized and the government identified him as a Form 6 graduate. As a result, he was not allowed to join the course. However, his enthusiasm for work was not affected by this experience.

Mr Chan 2

Students of Shue Yan are not less capable

In 2006, Hong Kong Shue Yan College strove for academic recognition. It invited the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation to conduct an institutional review. Mr. Chan, who had already been promoted to Principal Immigration Officer, was invited to meet the review committees and commented on the College’s readiness to be retitled Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

He recalled that one member of the committee asked him in the meeting: “Do you think that Shue Yan’s students are less capable than those of other universities?”   He answered that he was the only graduate of Shue Yan and was one of those having the lowest academic qualifications in 1982 when he joined the Immigration Department. But now, not many people have a working performance as good as him. He continued: “At least I do not think that Shue Yan’s students are incapable. If anyone has this idea, then he is biased against students of Shue Yan.”

Mr. Chan was the first graduate of Shue Yan to become a director of a government department. Some media called him “the honor of Shue Yan”. With regard to these honors, he replied, “there are a lot smart people in Shue Yan, I am just lucky.”

Mr. Chan believed that students of Shue Yan need to enhance their individual concentration and language ability to strengthen their own competitiveness. Besides, having common sense is also equally important. He said: “People who do not have good written skills in English and Chinese will not do well in our department. Young people in this generation seldom pay attention to social affairs, therefore they tend to lack common sense and have weak analytical skills.”

How should we increase our knowledge of current affairs? Mr. Chan’s approach was to read current affairs magazines frequently. He said that they not only teach us how to observe society, but also train our analytical ability.

When Mr. Chan talked about the founders of Shue Yan, the current President of the University, Dr. Henry Hu and Principal Dr. Chung Chi Yung, he said that he respected them. “They give me an impression that they are devoted to education. They have sacrificed a lot for education and are dedicated educators.”

Resume of Mr. Chan Kwok-ki

1982   Joined the Immigration Department as an Assistant Immigration Officer after graduating from Hong Kong Shue Yan College

1989   Promoted to Immigration Officer

1995   Promoted to Senior Immigration Officer

2000   Promoted to Chief Immigration Officer

2003   Promoted to Assistant Principal Immigration Officer

2004   Promoted to Principal Immigration Officer

2007   Promoted to Assistant Director of Immigration

2009   Promoted to Deputy Director of Immigration

2011   Promoted to Director of Immigration

From: May Issue 2011

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