HK in need of more talents
Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, pointed out that Hong Kong is in need of more talents, particularly, well educated, highly intelligent and innovative “brain power” to support the development of the economy and to ease its aging problem.
Fan thinks the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government can proactively attract “brain power” from the mainland, as part of its population policy.
Fan is the only Hong Kong member on the NPC Standing Committee, and was the president of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1997 to 2008.
“Hong Kong should also be a city for the middle class, for young talents from all over the world, a civilized society where people feel their potential can be fully developed,” Fan said on Monday.
Major reasons for young professional mainlanders to stay in Hong Kong for only a few years include crowded accommodation and high living costs. Local young professionals face the same problems. There are voices in Hong Kong community calling for rent subsidy and more tax benefits for home purchase. Fan believes such suggestions deserve further consideration.
As for claims that babies born to non-Hong-Kong-permanent-residents, who are entitled to right of abode in Hong Kong, may help to offset Hong Kong need for talents in the decades to come, Fan doubts the logic of this argument.
Mainland women gave birth to 47 percent of the babies born in Hong Kong in 2010, according to the SAR government.
“Hong Kong is in need of talents in certain fields. We cannot satisfy specific manpower needs just by adding or subtracting. We are not simply playing with figures,” said Fan.
In fact, the Hong Kong government had been taking measures to reduce the number of babies born to mainlanders in Hong Kong, including raising the charge for mainland mothers-to-be to give birth in Hong Kong and, in cooperation with neighboring Guangdong province, cracking down on illegal agencies arranging their visits.
Fan suggested the SAR government take the initiative to find ways to remove the right of abode of Hong Kong for babies with mainland parents, which she consider to be the crux of the problem.
The SAR government introduced the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates in 2001 to attract mainland students who graduated in Hong Kong.
By 2007, 1,078 qualified mainland graduates were living and working in Hong Kong under the policy.
Mainland professionals and people with special skills who were not educated in Hong Kong can apply for a long-stay visa under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals.
By 2007, some 6,663 mainlanders and overseas Chinese were allowed to come to work or reside in Hong Kong under the ASMTP.