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LCQ15: Capital Investment Entrant Scheme

     Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, in the Legislative Council today (November 11):


     The Government has implemented the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme since October 2003 to facilitate entry for residence in Hong Kong by capital investment entrants, i.e. persons who bring capital of not less than $6.5 million to Hong Kong but will not be engaged, in the context of the Scheme, in the running of any business in Hong Kong.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) up to September of this year, of the number of investors and their related dependants who have migrated to Hong Kong under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, the categories of the applicants involved, the total amount of capital they brought to Hong Kong, and the permissible investment asset classes;

(b) whether it has estimated the economic benefits brought to Hong Kong by the above Scheme; if it has, of the results; if not, whether it will consider conducting such an estimation;

(c) of the reasons for rejecting some of the applications submitted under the above Scheme, and the number of such unsuccessful applications;

(d) given that the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme is currently open only to foreign nationals, residents of Macao and Taiwan as well as Chinese nationals with right of abode in a foreign country, etc., and is not applicable to ordinary mainland residents, whether the authorities have approached the mainland authorities concerned to strive for the inclusion of ordinary mainland residents in the Scheme; if they have, of the progress; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) what specific measures the authorities will implement in the future to enhance the competitiveness of the Scheme to attract more investors to invest in Hong Kong; whether they will consider afresh lowering the investment threshold of $6.5 million, relaxing the requirement of seven years of continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong, and widening the permissible investment asset classes?



(a) As at the end of September this year, 5,182 applicants and 9,945 of their dependants have been approved entry to Hong Kong under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES).  Among the successful applicants, 843 are foreign nationals, 3,904 are Chinese nationals with overseas permanent residence and 435 are of other categories (e.g. residents of Taiwan and Macau).

     The CIES has brought in over HK$36.6 billion, and the distribution under the six types of permissible investment assets are as follows:

                                  HK$ Million
Equities                          17,646.8
Real estate                       10,372.5
Debt securities                    5,216.8
Collective Investment Schemes      2,995.3
Certificates of Deposits             432.2
Subordinated debt                      1.5

(b) As indicated in (a), the CIES has brought in over HK$36.6 billion of investment.  Many local sectors, particularly the financial and the real estate sectors, have directly or indirectly benefited.

     As more data are required for analysis, we are not yet able to conduct a detailed quantitative assessment on the indirect economic benefits of the CIES.

(c) As at the end of September this year, a total of 53 applications have been refused, the main reason being the applicants not satisfying the relevant asset requirements.

(d) The CIES is not applicable to ordinary residents in Mainland, where control is implemented over foreign exchange and residents' exit.  If necessary, the HKSAR Government will consider exchanging views with relevant Mainland authorities in this regard.

(e) Since the implementation of the CIES in late 2003, the yearly application figures are as follows:

2004                                 465
2005                                 495
2006                                 800
2007                               1,795
2008                               2,798
2009 (Jan - Sep)                   2,358

     The application figures show that the CIES is attractive to investors.  In general, the appeal of an investment immigration scheme depends on various factors.  Apart from the minimum investment requirement, the range of investment choices is also important.  The Government has recently included insurance products satisfying the relevant requirements as permissible investment assets.  We will review the Scheme from time to time, with a view to improving its attractiveness to investors.

     The requirement that a person has to reside for seven years before applying for permanent residence in Hong Kong is in accordance with relevant provision in the Basic Law.

Ends/Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:52


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