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LCQ5: Attracting leading talents
     Following is a question by the Hon Yim Kong and a reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):

     The 2022 Policy Address has put forth a number of measures to trawl for talents, including attracting leading innovation and technology (I&T) talents around the globe. There are views pointing out that apart from I&T, sectors such as finance, maritime, education, healthcare, and arts and culture also need to attract leading talents in order to foster Hong Kong's diversified development. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will extend the concept of "leading talents" to include fields other than I&T, and lay down a clear definition or guidelines for this concept, so as to facilitate leading talents in other fields to have a clear understanding of the Government's preferences in terms of talent demand;

(2) as the aforesaid Policy Address has pointed out that the Government will provide special facilitation measures in a targeted manner to attract top-notch I&T talents to bring with them their business or research and development outcomes to Hong Kong, of the specific proposals for such measures, and whether they are sufficiently competitive internationally; and

(3) whether it will consider formulating key performance indicators for its work in attracting leading talents?

     In consultation with the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau (ITIB), my consolidated reply to the question raised by the Hon Yim Kong is as follows:

(1) The concept of "leading talents" is closely linked to the development of relevant industries, with varying specific criteria and requirements for leading figures under various industries.  

     The existing talent admission schemes of Hong Kong allow talents of different backgrounds and professions to seek development in Hong Kong, with a view to meeting the shortfall in local talent supply and enriching the talent pool of Hong Kong. While most of the admission schemes do not set restrictions on industries, different schemes provide professionals in shortage locally with facilitation in different forms and to different degrees. For instance, the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) aims to attract highly skilled or talented persons around the world with no restriction on their industries. There are two streams under the QMAS, namely the Achievement-based Points Test (APT) and General Points Test (GPT). The APT caters for top-notch talents who have received an award of exceptional achievement (e.g. Nobel Prize, national/international awards, Olympic medals), whose work has been acknowledged by their peers or have contributed significantly to the development of their field. Separately, applicants assessed under the GPT are awarded points based on their background (including academic/professional qualifications, work experience, international vision, language proficiency and future plan in Hong Kong). Additional points will be given to relevant talents who meet the specifications of respective professions under the Talent List, facilitating them to settle in Hong Kong. The Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals will recommend to the Director of Immigration how best to allocate quota after considering all relevant factors. As announced by the Chief Executive in the Policy Address, the annual quota of the QMAS will be suspended for a period of two years and the approval process will be improved, in order to attract more world‑class talents to relocate to Hong Kong.
     Moreover, a new Top Talent Pass Scheme targeting at high-income talents or graduates from the world's top 100 universities will be launched, covering top-notch talents in various industries. Any individual meeting the requirement of annual salary reaching HK$2.5 million in the past year or graduation from the world's top 100 universities on four designated world university ranking lists can apply for a two-year visa to explore opportunities in Hong Kong.

     As the innovation and technology (I&T) industry is crucial to the development of Hong Kong, the Government has been formulating special measures to attract leading talents in basic scientific research to Hong Kong. Launched in June 2021, the Global STEM Professorship Scheme stepped up efforts to support universities in recruiting internationally renowned I&T scholars and their teams to conduct research and teaching activities in Hong Kong. The scheme has supported over 60 outstanding scholars so far. Moreover, the Policy Address has announced to attract leading I&T talents around the globe. The ITIB will collaborate with the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES) under the Financial Secretary to provide special facilitation measures in a targeted manner to attract top-notch I&T talents to bring with them their business or R&D outcomes to Hong Kong.

     Respective policy bureaux will continue to review the development of various pillar and major industries, including the manpower needs of respective industries, in order to formulate appropriate industry-based measures to recruit leading talents after thorough consultation with relevant stakeholders.

(2) The OASES will formulate attractive special facilitation measures covering aspects such as land, tax and financing that are applicable exclusively to target enterprises, and provide one-stop facilitation services in areas such as visa application and education arrangement for their children. With regard to the I&T industry, leading talents who play an influential or leading role in a certain technology area internationally are able to drive development of the relevant industries in that area. For instance, talents who hold patents of core technologies, or authority figures who have been involved in developing international standards or has extensive experience in transforming research and development (R&D) results. The ITIB will collaborate with the OASES to negotiate with the enterprises or businesses to be brought in by leading I&T talents and assess their potential contribution to Hong Kong's I&T development and economy, in order to provide them with tailor-made plans to facilitate the setting up of their operations in Hong Kong. The Government will set up the Advisory Committee on Attracting Strategic Enterprises, comprising representatives from relevant business sectors and social leaders, to advise the Financial Secretary on the overall strategy. 

(3) The Government has set key performance indicator for the measures to trawl for talents, targeting to admit at least 35 000 talents annually with an intended duration of stay of at least 12 months through the talent admission schemes from 2023 to 2025, i.e. an increase of 40 per cent over the annual average number in 2020 and 2021. Leading talents of different industries or fields are expected to be covered. 

     With regard to I&T, the purpose of attracting leading talents around the globe is to attract top-notch I&T talents to bring with them their businesses or R&D outcomes to Hong Kong. To facilitate the monitoring of progress and effectiveness in meeting these goals, we have set key performance indicators to attract not less than 100 high-potential or representative I&T enterprises to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong in the coming five years, including at least 20 top-notch I&T enterprises, bringing more than $10 billion of investment to Hong Kong and creating thousands of local job opportunities.
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:08
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