Hong Kong leader admits 140,000 workers lost in past two years

On 19 October, Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer John Lee Ka Chiu delivered his first policy speech since taking office on 1 July 2022. He started the “Top Talent Pass System” to attract human resources from overseas. At the same time, he proposed increasing the number of University Grants Commission (UGC) research graduate positions to about 1,600. Lee said many of his measures were groundbreaking and focused, and he believes the policy goal of introducing 35,000 qualified candidates each year can be achieved. Some political parties believe that the authorities have not paid enough attention to stop the brain drain since the National Security Law came into force, and have described the phenomenon as a failure.

Nearly 140,000 workers have been lost in the last two years

Lee acknowledged that Hong Kong has lost about 140,000 workers over the past two years. The authorities intend to actively develop and retain local talent while attracting qualified foreign workers. There are some measures that are getting a lot of attention, such as the Top Talent Pass scheme. With an annual salary of her HK$2.5 million (about $318,484), the scheme encourages graduates of the world’s top 100 universities to pursue careers in Hong Kong.

In terms of cultivating local talent, Lee proposed adding about 1,600 UGC-funded research postgraduate positions. Enhancing STEAM education, including implementing enriched coding education for primary and secondary education, and introducing her I&T elements such as artificial intelligence for secondary education. At the same time, vocational and professional education and training, including adding her 2,000 subsidies for self-funding higher diplomas and 1,000 subsidiaries for undergraduate programs, and potentially more applied degree programs. promotes it.

Introducing 35,000 qualified workers each year

Lee stressed that Hong Kong was already very attractive as it was able to attract enough talent to meet demand before 2019, and many measures were more aggressive than before. said. Wine doesn’t need bushes’ (something good doesn’t need advertising). We believe we can achieve our policy goal of introducing 35,000 qualified workers each year.

Lawrence Han: Don’t Ignore Local Small Businesses

Lawrence Han Yuyun, director of the Hong Kong Institute for Human Resources Management (HKIHRM), said in a policy speech that the measures will help attract job seekers and businesses to supplement Hong Kong’s manpower and workforce. However, he said the Hong Kong government should not cultivate local talent in addition to focusing on top talent and enterprises, ignoring local subject matter experts (SMEs). He suggested that the government should support SMEs in digital transformation, online-to-offline commerce, etc. according to the local workforce and industrial structure, and provide upward social mobility for local youth. did.

Mr Han also believes administrative measures and visa simplifications by the authorities can attract the right people to Hong Kong, but there are plenty of global mobility and employment opportunities for those who qualify, It needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner. Apart from administrative measures, urban convenience, social atmosphere, environment, etc. should be promoted. A qualified official who has stayed in Hong Kong for her seven years and obtained permanent residency, he can apply for a refund of two stamp duties paid on residential property. Hong Kong believes that the seven-year period is relatively long and the tax refund is not valid. He proposed shortening the term to his five years.

Democrats: No mention of rectifying social divisions

Democratic Party Chairman Law Kin-Hur said John Lee had introduced many measures to attract foreign talent, but he hadn’t paid enough attention to how to “stop the bleeding.” He believes that measures targeting local businesses only extend some of the existing measures and do not really help. Law also said his policy speech did not mention fixing social divisions. He believes the authorities must rebuild trust with the public.

Midland: 330,000 could benefit from stamp duty refund

Address suggests that after becoming a permanent resident of Hong Kong, eligible immigrants can apply for a refund of buyer’s stamp duty and new residence stamp duty when purchasing property in Hong Kong. Midland believes the relevant measures are equivalent to announcing a “waterdown.” The easing of homeownership restrictions is expected to set the tone for future housing policies and help market entry for those currently working in Hong Kong who have not obtained permanent residency, especially those from the mainland. .

According to Midland, from 2016 to the first half of 2022, a total of 329,000 people will enter Hong Kong under six immigration programs, including General Employment Policy, Admission of Mainland China Talents and Professionals, and Admission of Tech Talents. Immigration has been approved. This means that a pool of qualified individuals will quickly become profitable and potential homebuyers. Among them, those with the greatest opportunity to enter the market have lived in Hong Kong for more than five years and are estimated to reach 184,000, bringing new purchasing power to the property market. Midland expects property prices to fall 10% over the course of the year as sales declines slow or even stabilize this quarter due to the HKMA’s announced easing of stress test requirements. . Both pre-owned and pre-owned are expected to return to high levels.

Public opinion: 30% of respondents dissatisfied

The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute conducted a survey of 574 citizens over the age of 18 who had heard policy speeches. As a result, the public rating remained at 51.1 points, lower than the first speeches of the first three chief executives after taking office. According to the survey, 33.7% of his respondents expressed satisfaction with the address and 30.5% expressed dissatisfaction, giving him a net satisfaction of 3.1%. Another 19% expressed partial satisfaction.

Terrence Tan