LCQ11: Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates
Regarding the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG), will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of (i) the number of non-local graduates who submitted applications for extension of stay after staying in Hong Kong for 12 months under the IANG, and the number of those whose applications were approved, as well as (ii) the number of persons, who had come to Hong Kong under the IANG, submitted applications for verification of their permanent resident status, and the number of those whose applications were approved, in each of the past three years;
(2) whether it knows the reasons why non-local graduates who came to Hong Kong under IANG no longer apply for extension of stay, as well as their whereabouts;
(3) whether it has compiled statistics on, among non-local graduates who have applied for and who no longer apply for extension of stay under IANG, the respective percentages of those who have been awarded scholarships set up by the Government; and
(4) to retain talents, whether the Government will consider, by drawing reference from the practice of the Scholarship for Prospective English Teachers, requiring that non-local graduates who are awarded government scholarships must stay and work in Hong Kong for a certain number of years (e.g. one year) after graduation, otherwise they are required to repay the Government the amount of scholarship received, calculating on an interest-free and pro rata basis; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
In 2008, the Government introduced the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates (IANG) to allow non-local students (including Mainland students) to apply for working in Hong Kong after graduating with a bachelor's degree or higher qualification from post-secondary institutions in Hong Kong, with a view to attracting non-local graduates to stay and flourish in the city, thereby enhancing the quality of our manpower resources and alleviating manpower demand. To further attract quality talents and enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness, the Chief Executive announced in his 2022 Policy Address to relax the limit of stay under the IANG from the current 12 months to 24 months to facilitate non-local graduates to stay or return to work in Hong Kong, and to extend the IANG on a pilot basis to cover graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher qualification from Hong Kong universities' campuses in Mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to attract outstanding talents from these institutions to come to Hong Kong for employment.
The reply to the various parts of the Hon Rock Chen's questions is as follows:
(1) and (2) In general, non-local graduates staying in Hong Kong under the IANG may, at the end of their initial 12 months' stay, apply for extensions of stay on a 2-2-3 year pattern. Upon application, non-local graduates are required to have secured an offer of employment in Hong Kong which is at a level commonly taken up by degree holders and the remuneration package is on par with market level. In the past three years, the number of non-local graduates admitted under the IANG who have been approved for the first extension of stay after their initial 12 months' stay are tabulated as follows:
|Number of approved applications for first extension of stay||4 992||4 704||3 216|
The number of non-local graduates who have been admitted to stay in Hong Kong under the IANG and eventually acquired the right of abode in the past three years are tabulated as follows:
|Number of persons who acquired the right of abode||3 223||3 117||3 449|
The Government does not maintain relevant information on the other statistics related to the question as well as the reasons and whereabouts of non-local graduates who were admitted to stay in Hong Kong under the IANG but did not apply for extensions of stay.
(3) and (4) The Government is committed to developing Hong Kong as a regional education hub and has introduced a series of measures to promote the internationalisation of the higher education sector, including the setting up of scholarship schemes to attract outstanding non-local students to further their studies in Hong Kong. Since the 2016/17 academic year, the Government has established the Belt and Road Scholarship to encourage students from the Belt and Road countries/regions to pursue publicly-funded undergraduate and research postgraduate (RPg) programmes in Hong Kong. In addition, the Scholarship for Outstanding Performance under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to outstanding local and non-local students from the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and the Vocational Training Council. The Research Grants Council of the UGC has also established the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme to attract outstanding non-local RPg students to pursue PhD programmes in Hong Kong.
The Government does not maintain statistics on the number of scholarship awardees who applied for stay or extensions of stay in Hong Kong under the IANG. Nevertheless, taking the Belt and Road Scholarship as an example, scholarship awardees generally indicated in their applications an intention to stay in Hong Kong upon completion of their studies for work or development.
Under the current arrangements, the above-mentioned scholarship schemes do not require awardees to remain in Hong Kong for employment upon their completion of studies. Post-secondary institutions in Hong Kong have been committed to assisting through different channels non-local students in planning for their personal development, which include pursuing further studies and taking up employment in Hong Kong, after graduation. The scholarship awardees are among the beneficiaries. The respective faculties and student affairs offices of the institutions provide non-local students with relevant information and diversified support services, which include employment and internship opportunities, recruitment seminars, career counselling and consultation services to encourage them to stay and work in Hong Kong after graduation. The Government will continue to keep in view the effectiveness of various measures and consider enhancements where necessary, with a view to attracting outstanding non-local students to stay and flourish in Hong Kong. In addition, outstanding non-local students who come to Hong Kong for study will help create a more international and diversified campus environment at our higher education institutions, promote academic and cultural exchanges, and deepen non-local talents' understanding of and affection for our country and Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:45
Issued at HKT 12:45