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LC: Speech of Secretary for Security on "Optimising our Demographic Structure and Attracting Talent" for Motion of Thanks Debate Session

    Following is the speech (English translation) of Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, on "Optimising our Demographic Structure and Attracting Talent" for the debate session of Motion of Thanks on the Policy Address in the Legislative Council today (October 26):

Madam President,

     To enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness amid the world's economic integration, apart from continuing to make substantial investment in education, training and re-training to nourish local talents, the Government has been taking proactive measures to attract Mainland and overseas talents to come and develop their career in Hong Kong via the various talent admission schemes.  The Government strongly believes that a larger pool of talents will increase Hong Kong's competitiveness, attract more capital and create more jobs. This new blood will turn Hong Kong into an even more vibrant economy.

Review of our work in the last year

     Since the reunification, about 200 000 talents/professionals have come to Hong Kong to work/reside through various admission schemes.  In 2006, 28 000 people from different corners of the globe came to work in Hong Kong and settled here.  Among them, about 5 500 came from the Mainland.  The Government also introduced the innovative Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) in June 2006.  The QMAS is distinct from other talent/professionals admission schemes as the applicants who have met academic attainment and other basic eligibility criteria will be allowed to enter Hong Kong, without the requirement of securing an offer of local employment beforehand.  Since its implementation till the end of August 2007, the Immigration Department has received 1 024 applications, and over 160 applicants have received formal approval for settling in Hong Kong.  

New Measures

     The Government reviews the relevant schemes from time to time to ensure that they meet the changing needs of our society.  One of our current focuses is to review the QMAS and put in place the review recommendations.  We hope that through the review on the QMAS in the light of the implementation experience in the last year and the comments made by parties concerned, we can enhance the Scheme to cast our net wider for quality migrants. We aim to complete the review in early 2008.

     The Government is in parallel stepping up the publicity of various admission schemes and streamlining their application procedures.

     The Security Bureau and the Immigration Department have all along endeavoured to work together with other relevant parties in promoting the talent admission schemes.  In respect of the QMAS, a series of promotion initiatives are in train.  For instance, the Government together with the Advisory Committee of Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals are soliciting the assistance of relevant bodies, such as the chambers of commerce, in promoting the QMAS.  The Government also plans to further promote the talent admission schemes through its overseas offices.

     On streamlining of application procedures, the Immigration Department will repackage the schemes to make them more user-friendly.

     Thank you, Madam President.

Ends/Friday, October 26, 2007
Issued at HKT 11:31


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