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S for S: Hong Kong welcomes talent from abroad (with photo)

    Hong Kong opened its door wide to investors and people of talent from India and around the world, the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose SK Lee, said today (September 6).

     Speaking at the Triennial Conference of the Asian Association of Management Organisations (AAMO) in Kolkata, India, Mr Lee said Hong Kong had a conducive cosmopolitan environment for professionals, businesspersons and entrepreneurs.

     Mr Lee said Hong Kong's strengths included world-class infrastructure; rule of law; clean government; level playing field; simple, predictable and, most importantly, low salary and profit tax rates with the ceiling capped at 16% and 17.5% respectively.

     In addition, he said, Hong Kong had freedom of speech, freedom of worship, diversity of lifestyle and cultures and popular use of English.

     "And we have one of the world's most promising markets, the Mainland of China, as our hinterland. Hong Kong's pivotal role as the springboard, or the gateway, to the Mainland is now more and more pronounced than ever.

     "We have entered with the Mainland a free trade pact, namely the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).  All Hong Kong goods enjoy zero tariffs when exported to the Mainland, and many trade in services is liberalised ahead of, and some beyond China's WTO commitments," he said.

     Mr Lee said the HKSAR Government had been maintaining a liberal immigration regime to encourage people from other parts of the world to come to Hong Kong for visit, employment, study, investment or settlement.  

     "Hong Kong now offers visa-free access to about 170 countries/territories.  Needless to say, Indian nationals are welcome to visit Hong Kong visa-free," he said.

     Mr Lee said some 200,000 professionals around the world had come to work in Hong Kong since 1997 under the General Employment Scheme for individuals with special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong.

     In addition, more than 1,300 applications from overseas investors had been approved since the launching of the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme in October, 2003, bringing in more than US$1.2 billion to Hong Kong.

     Mr Lee said the latest admission channel to Hong Kong life was the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) which was launched last year to attract overseas and Mainland talent to Hong Kong.

     He added that applicants were not required to have secured a local employment prior to application or admission.

     "Applicants are assessed under a point-system basing on objective criteria such as age, language skill, academic attainment/professional qualification and working experience. Those capable of contributing to Hong Kong's economic development would be screened in," he said.

     Mr Lee said the entry of 238 applicants had so far been approved under the scheme.

     "All the successful applicants are the cream of the crop from different professions, ranging from the commercial sectors to arts and sports. The professions of the successful applicants include Olympic medalists, world-renowned pianists, investment bankers, financial professionals, linguistic experts, film stars and legal experts," he said.

     Mr Lee said Hong Kong had much to offer to international investors, professionals and talent.

     "Investors and tourists are welcome, so are talented and quality migrants. Hong Kong is definitely a safe and stable place for you and your countrymen to live and realise their potential.

     "As the Secretary for Security of the HKSAR Government, I can assure you that Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in Asia and indeed, in the world," he told an audience of outstanding business, political and social leaders from around the world.

     The Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA), which is a member of AAMO, has sent a delegation to the Kolkata conference, which is led by HKMA's Deputy Chairman and AAMO's Vice-President, Dr Dennis TL Sun.

Ends/Thursday, September 6, 2007
Issued at HKT 21:02


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