Following is a question by Hon Leung Fu-wah and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, in the Legislative Council today (May 7):
According to the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy released in February this year, the Government will encourage young people of Hong Kong families who are receiving education overseas to return to live and work in Hong Kong. Concerning the implementation of the initiative, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the bureau, department or official responsible for coordinating the implementation of the initiative;
(b) whether it will specifically target at those students who are furthering their studies in certain countries, places or disciplines;
(c) whether specific measures have been devised; if so, of the details of these measures and the implementation schedule; if not, the reasons for that;
(d) of the specific duties to be performed by the Economic and Trade Officers set up overseas to support the implementation of the initiative; and
(e) whether it has assessed if the initiative is, in terms of the approach and the goal, consistent with the Financial Secretary's previous advocacy that local students should be encouraged to work in the Mainland; if it is, of the rationale ?
(a) A number of bureaux have a part to play in taking forward the recommendation of encouraging Hong Kong people educated overseas to return to live and work here. They include the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau (CITB), the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB), and the Economic Development and Labour Bureau (EDLB). The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs) overseas under the CITB serve as a point of contact for our students educated overseas. They help to disseminate information on employment opportunities in Hong Kong and organize activities to attract the return of Hong Kong people. The EMB, responsible for overseeing manpower policies in Hong Kong, assists in providing the general manpower information in Hong Kong to the ETOs for dissemination to our people educated overseas. The EDLB, with responsibility for labour matters, provides information on job vacancies that are suitable for Hong Kong people educated overseas to the ETOs. For the pursuance of this recommendation in the Report of the Task Force, discussion has started amongst the relevant Bureaux to coordinate their efforts and develop a coherent strategy.
(b) We welcome all Hong Kong people educated overseas of all disciplines to return to live and work here. For the sake of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, our efforts would focus on the countries which are popular among Hong Kong people for overseas education and where we have ETOs such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia. The main objective of our activities is to provide Hong Kong people educated overseas with up-to-date information on Hong Kong, in particular a better understanding on the local job market, the new opportunities opening up as a result of further integration with the Pearl River Delta Region, and the continuously improving living conditions here.
(c) Apart from the activities mentioned above, the Government, as the largest employer in Hong Kong, has always strived to provide a good working environment and challenging jobs with a view to attracting suitable Hong Kong talents overseas who meet the respective qualification requirements to join the Hong Kong civil service so as to build up a dynamic, visionary and knowledge-based civil service. In this regard, we have put in place a system of recognising the qualification of non-Hong Kong degrees or courses as part of our civil service appointment policy.
(d) The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs) overseas have been maintaining regular contact with Hong Kong students studying in their host countries with a view to encouraging them to return to Hong Kong upon completion of their studies. They have from time to time organised briefings and gatherings for Hong Kong students, such as briefings by visiting senior officials from Hong Kong and video conferences with Hong Kong employers to bring the students up-to-date on the latest developments and employment opportunities in Hong Kong. The ETOs will continue to take up this role and organize appropriate activities.
(e) The vision of Hong Kong, as articulated by the Commission on Strategic Development in its Report in 2000, is "The implementation of Hong Kong's long-term vision should also be guided by a number of overarching goals, including enhancing income and living standards for all members of society; ensuring that Hong Kong becomes the most attractive major city in Asia in which to live and work; developing a socially cohesive and stable society that recognises that the community's diversity strengthens its cosmopolitan outlook; contributing to the modernisation of China while also supporting Hong Kong's long-term development". Following from this, the key objective of Hong Kong's population policy is to secure and nurture a population which sustains our development as a knowledge-based economy. We believe that encouraging the return of Hong Kong people educated overseas who have diversified exposure and experience can help to improve the overall quality of our population to meet our vision of Hong Kong as a knowledge-based economy and a world class city.
Hong Kong's relationship with the Mainland is a key element of its competitive positioning and complements its vision of becoming Asia's World City. There are numerous joint opportunity for Hong Kong and other cities in the Mainland in particular the Pearl River Delta Region. To maximize mutual benefits, great emphasis will need to be placed on collaboration and cooperation. Encouraging local students to work in the Mainland would enable them to gain exposure and experience as well as network in the Mainland. This would benefit the local market when they return in the same way as the return of Hong Kong people educated overseas. At the same time, for those employees who are displaced in the process of Hong Kong's evolution to a knowledge-based economy, working in the Mainland would be an additional option.
End/Wednesday, May 7, 2003