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Pilot Technology Talent Admission Scheme to be rolled out
     To meet the needs of the innovation and technology (I&T) sector in getting talent, the Government will roll out a Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) to provide a fast-track arrangement for the admission of overseas and Mainland research and development talent. Successful technology companies and institutes will be given quotas for bringing in such people. The scheme will run on a pilot basis for three years. A maximum of 1 000 persons will be admitted in the first year of operation.
     As a start, the TechTAS will be open to tenants and incubatees of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) and Cyberport that are engaged in the areas of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, data analytics, financial technologies and material science.
     The Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, said today (May 8), "Talent is a key success factor in the global innovation race. Hong Kong must adopt policies to assist the industry in securing the talent needed. Pooling together technology talent is indeed one of the eight major areas announced by the Chief Executive in the Policy Address to drive Hong Kong's innovation and technology development. The TechTAS is designed to substantively streamline the admission procedure and shorten the processing time. It will effectively help technology companies and institutes in recruiting technology talent that is in short supply locally from overseas and the Mainland, which is of critical importance in the development of I&T."
      At the quota application stage, the applicant technology companies and institutes ought to demonstrate to the Innovation and Technology Commission that the talent sought is in short supply or not readily available in Hong Kong. This arrangement on one hand safeguards local work opportunities, while on the other does away with the requirement for technology companies and institutes to repeatedly demonstrate local recruitment failure every time they seek to bring in talent, thereby enabling the talent sought to be in a post at an early opportunity. Each successful applicant company or institute will be given an admission quota of not more than 100 persons a year.
     "Through the allocation of quotas, we give applicant technology companies and institutes the certainty they need to quickly carry out talent recruitment and make commercial plans. The TechTAS will also help nurture local talent. It requires applicant technology companies and institutes to employ one new local full-time employee plus two local interns engaging in technology-related work for every three non-local persons admitted," Mr Yang said.
     The Innovation and Technology Commission will decide whether to approve a quota request after taking into account recommendations from the HKSTPC/Cyberport. If the applicant technology company or institute provides all of the information required, the aim is to complete the processing within two weeks. Successful applicants, having identified a suitable candidate fitting the requirements in the allotted quota (including the main job duties, academic qualification, technical skills, work experience and the remuneration package), can forthwith apply to the Immigration Department to sponsor the employment visa or entry permit application of the non-local talent. Subject to satisfactory documentation, the normal processing time for issuing the visa or entry permit would be about two weeks.
     The persons admitted under the TechTAS should be degree holders in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) from a well-recognised university, i.e. one of the top 100 universities in the latest publications of the STEM-related ranking tables of the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Work experience is not compulsory for those with a master's or doctoral degree, while those with a bachelor's degree only should possess a minimum of one year of work experience in the relevant technology area.
     More information on the TechTAS is available at the website of the Innovation and Technology Commission at www.itc.gov.hk/en/techtas/index.htm. Briefings on the TechTAS will be arranged for tenants and incubatees of the HKSTPC and Cyberport between late May and mid-June. The target is to invite applications within June.
Ends/Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:26
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