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LCQ18: Measures for attracting talents to Hong Kong for career development
     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Chun-ying and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (November 22):


     To step up its efforts on the provision of talents housing and make Shenzhen a more attractive place for talents, the People's Government of the Shenzhen Municipality last year promulgated the "Measures on Improving the Talents Housing System", with a target of supplying not less than 300 000 units of talents housing during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (i.e. from 2016 to 2020).  Such measures include that in respect of the additional sites supplied each year for residential developments, the site area for talents housing and government-subsidised housing should not be less than 60 per cent of the total site area of such sites; and that no less than 10 per cent of the total gross floor areas of the sites for commodity housing projects, which are transferred through bid invitation, auction or quotation, should be designated for building talents housing.  Regarding the measures for attracting talents to Hong Kong for career development, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will make reference to the aforesaid measures adopted by the Shenzhen municipal authorities and formulate residential land supply policies and housing measures to address the housing needs of talents, so as to attract talents from professions such as finance, science and technology to come to Hong Kong for career development; if so, of the specific measures; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) as the Shenzhen municipal authorities have set up a dedicated organisation for talents housing to take charge of talents housing matters across Shenzhen such as construction and capital-raising, investment and financing, as well as operation and management, whether the Government will consider establishing a dedicated organisation to take charge of the comprehensive review and planning of the talents housing matters in Hong Kong; if not, of the reasons for that and which bureau is currently responsible for such work; and

(3) as cities adjacent to Hong Kong and around the world are all thirst for talents, of the specific policies that the Government will introduce in the coming five years to attract more talents to come to Hong Kong for career development and choose Hong Kong as the base for their career and for starting and expanding their businesses; whether it knows how such policies compare with the relevant policies adopted in Singapore, Beijing and Shenzhen?


     After consulting the relevant policy bureaux, I set out my consolidated reply to various parts of the question raised by the Hon Chan Chun-ying in the ensuing paragraphs.

     On housing policy, according to the Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) announced in December 2014, the Government adopts a supply-led strategy, which includes:

(a) with the assistance of a housing demand projection model, plan early for land supply for production of both public and private housing;

(b) update the projection of long term housing demand and work out a rolling ten-year housing supply target on an annual basis;

(c) provide public rental housing (PRH) units to serve as a "safety net" for the grassroots who cannot afford private rental housing;

(d) provide Home Ownership Scheme flats and other forms of subsidised sale flats to enable the lower to middle-income households meet their home ownership aspirations; and

(e) maintain the healthy and stable development of the private housing market through securing a stable supply of land and implementation of demand-side management measures as and when necessary.

     The Chief Executive's 2017 Policy Address sets out a new direction of housing policy which comprises four elements:

(a)  the Government has an indispensable role to play in providing adequate housing to our community;
(b)  the Government will focus on home-ownership and strive to build a housing ladder, with a view to rekindling the hopes of families in different income brackets to become home-owners;
(c)  focusing on supply and stepping up our efforts based on the LTHS in increasing the supply of housing units; and
(d)  with insufficient land and when new supply is not yet available, we will strive to optimise the existing housing resources to meet the housing needs of families that have long been on the waiting list for PRH and to help residents in poor living conditions.

     Following the above strategy, the Government updates the long term housing demand projection annually and presents a rolling ten-year housing supply target.  When preparing the housing demand projection, we have taken into account objective data analysis of different demand components, including the net increase in the number of households derived by the Census and Statistics Department based on the latest domestic household projections.  This demand projection has already covered overseas talents and professionals admitted to Hong Kong through various schemes.

     According to the projection in December 2016, the housing supply target for the ten-year period from 2017-18 to 2027-28 is 460 000 units.  The supply targets for public and private housing are 280 000 units and 180 000 units respectively.  Assuming that all sites identified can be smoothly delivered on time for housing development, the Government has identified land for the construction of about 236 000 public housing units for the above ten-year period which falls short of the ten-year supply target.  In view of the continued demand for public housing, especially the increasing number of people waiting for PRH, the Government will continue to spare no efforts in increasing housing land supply through short, medium and long-term measures, as well as increasing and speeding up public housing production.

     As regards private housing supply, the medium-term supply of private housing has been maintained at a relatively high level. Based on the Government's preliminary assessment of private residential developments known to have started or to be started on disposed sites, the private sector will, on average, produce about 20 300 private residential units annually in the next five years, representing an increase of about 70 per cent over the yearly average (12 000 units) of the past five years.  Steady land supply helps restore demand-supply balance and stabilise property price and rental level, which in turn benefit people from all walks of life who intend to buy or rent private residential flats, including incoming talents.

     Given the current strong demand for housing, the Government should increase the overall land and housing supply as soon as possible and strive to rebuild the housing ladder, with priority given to addressing the housing needs of the lower to middle-income households.  Therefore, we currently have no plan to set up a dedicated mechanism for handling matters relating to housing for talents admitted to Hong Kong.

     Under the existing population policy, the Government strives to nurture local talents and at the same time continues to implement various talent admission schemes, which are reviewed from time to time, to attract and facilitate talents, professionals and entrepreneurs to come to Hong Kong so as to meet local demand for talents and develop a diverse talent pool.  To further strengthen the work to attract talents to come and work in Hong Kong, the Government will draw up, with regard to overseas experience, a talent list so that we can attract high-quality talents in a more effective and focused manner.  In addition, the Government will explore possible ways and means of enhancing talent admission schemes to meet the development needs of various industries with a view to generating new impetus for their growth.
Ends/Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:43
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