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LCQ19: Persons admitted to work in academic research and education sector in Hong Kong

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kin-yuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (December 12):


     Between April and September this year, the Government approved 4 140 entry applications for employment in Hong Kong made under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals. The largest portion (35%) of such applications were submitted by employers from the academic research and education sector, which stood at 1 452. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) among the talents admitted to work in the academic research and education sector under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, of the number of those who were employed by tertiary institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC-funded institutions) in each of the past three years, together with a breakdown by institution, department, length of contract, rank and remuneration; whether it knows if it was due to a shortage of local talents possessing relevant professional qualifications and experience, inability to employ local talents at the remuneration offered to mainland talents, or other reasons that such institutions had employed mainland talents; of the criteria and procedures adopted by the authorities for ascertaining that such mainland talents are in shortage in Hong Kong;

(b) whether the authorities have assessed the manpower requirement for developing the education industry, as well as the professional qualifications and experience required; whether they have formulated policies on the provision of the required manpower; if they have not, of the reasons for that; if they have, whether their policy directions focus on training local talents or importing overseas talents, and whether they have set any target ratio between training talents locally and importing talents; if they have not, of the reasons for that;

(c) whether any strategies, plans and timetables have been formulated for training local talents to work in the academic research and education sector so as to dovetail with the Government's strategy on developing the education industry; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(d) whether it knows the number of Hong Kong permanent residents among the local graduates of doctoral degree programmes in each of the past three years; and among such graduates, (i) the percentage of those who did not work in the academic research and education sector, (ii) the number of those who were employed by the UGC-funded institutions, together with a breakdown by age, rank and length of contract, and (iii) the number of those who had applied for posts in the UGC-funded institutions but were unsuccessful; and

(e) whether it has assessed if local graduates of doctoral degree programmes have an edge over mainland and overseas graduates when applying for positions in the academic research and education sector in Hong Kong; if it has, of the outcome?



(a) The objective of the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP) is to allow local employers to recruit Mainland professionals not readily available in Hong Kong to meet their manpower needs. In general, professionals seeking to apply to work in Hong Kong under the ASMTP are required to meet three main criteria:

(1) having a good education background, normally a first degree in the relevant field;

(2) having a confirmed offer of employment and are employed in a job relevant to their academic qualifications or working experience that cannot be readily taken up by local professionals; and

(3) the remuneration package is broadly commensurate with and not inferior to the local prevailing market level.

     In processing the applications, the Immigration Department (ImmD) requires applicants to submit proof of educational qualifications, working experience and professional qualifications. At the same time, the employers shall submit relevant information, including the nature of business, the operational status, the number of employees and the ratio of local and non-local employees, etc. The ImmD will require the employers to provide justifications for employing the concerned applicants and to furnish proof on reasons for failing to recruit professionals locally. Employers are also required to provide a copy of the employment contract to show that the applicants are recruited on a remuneration package that is commensurate with the prevailing local market level. Besides, the ImmD will make reference to the statistics prepared by the Census and Statistics Department and information provided by relevant professional bodies. The ImmD will also consult the Labour Department, other government departments or relevant professional bodies on individual cases as necessary to ensure that applications are in line with the objective of the ASMTP.

     The number and employment period of persons admitted to work in the academic research and education sector (e.g. visiting scholars, lecturers or research assistants, etc) under the ASMTP for the past 3 years are as follows -

Year/Number of  Short-term    Long-term      Total
approval cases  employment*   employment
2009            2 167(76%)     685 (24%)     2 852
2010            1 961(77%)     587 (23%)     2 548
2011            1 896(77%)     579 (23%)     2 475

*Short-term employment refers to those with employment period for less than 12 months.

     The ImmD does not maintain statistics by hiring institution, department, rank and remuneration of persons admitted to work in the academic research and education sector under the ASMTP.

(b) and (c) On the development of education services, the HKSAR Government's objectives are to enhance the position of Hong Kong as a regional education hub, nurture talents for various sectors of our economy, attract talents from all over the world and enhance Hong Kong's competitive edge in order to benefit local students and Hong Kong as a whole. To this end, we strive to internationalise and diversify the post-secondary education sector.

     Recruitment and selection of both teaching and non-teaching staff are matters within the autonomy of post-secondary institutions. Institutions may devise their human resources strategies in the light of their teaching, research, as well as administrative needs. They may also train and select their teaching and research staff according to their own criteria and procedures. The Administration respects institutional autonomy, and has neither formulated any across-the-board policy nor set any target ratio for institutions in terms of their recruitment of local and non-local staff. Generally speaking, local post-secondary institutions attach equal importance to attracting non-local talents and training local talents. They also seek to achieve complementarity between local and non-local staff so as to enhance their overall competitiveness.

     As for the publicly-funded sector, the University Grants Committee (UGC) provides funds to institutions in the form of a block grant, i.e. a "one-line" allocation that allows flexible deployment of resources to support their development in areas such as teaching, research and internationalisation. To enable institutions to recruit talents from Hong Kong and other parts of the world, UGC-funded institutions may make optimal use of the block grant when determining the remuneration packages and housing benefits of their teaching and non-teaching staff, having regard to the ever-changing local and international scenes as well as the competency and performance of their staff (including non-local staff). As for the self-financing sector, institutions may work out their own human resources strategies including those for recruiting and training local or non-local talents, according to their own academic development needs and programme requirements. The Government has not stipulated any target ratio in this regard.

     As regards international schools, they have a diversified curriculum, and their teaching and non-teaching staff, normally constituted by both local staff and staff from overseas, must be equipped with the necessary professional qualifications and educational attainments to meet the curriculum requirements. Some international schools offer the curriculum of a particular country only. As such, they recruit teaching and non-teaching staff directly from that particular country to teach in Hong Kong.

(d) and (e) In the 2009/10 to 2011/12 academic years, the numbers of local graduates of UGC-funded doctoral degree programmes were 438, 390 and 403 respectively. UGC-funded institutions conduct annual surveys on the overall employment of their full-time graduates, but those surveys do not cover graduates' age, rank, duration of contract, successful and unsuccessful job applications, or the organisations to which they have submitted job applications. Therefore, the Administration does not maintain relevant information in this regard. It would also be impossible for us to provide a general assessment on whether local graduates of doctoral degree programmes have a competitive advantage over non-local graduates in applying for local research and teaching positions.

Ends/Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Issued at HKT 13:49


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