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LCQ8: Encouraging local talents to stay in Hong Kong for development
     Following is a question by the Hon Jimmy Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, in the Legislative Council today (February 15):


     Hong Kong lost a labour force of about 140 000 in the past two years. There are views that apart from bringing in outside talents, the Government also needs to introduce measures to encourage local talents to stay in Hong Kong for development. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) as there are views that with the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and the successful implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", Hong Kong has achieved a "transition from chaos to order" and entered the new stage of "advancing from stability to prosperity", whether the authorities will make an effort to mend the social rift and create a relatively relaxed and tolerant political environment, so as to encourage local talents with diversified values to stay in Hong Kong for development; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that the Hospital Authority has earlier launched a series of staff retention measures, including the low-interest home loan scheme for staff and the arrangement for extending the employment of retired staff, etc., whether the authorities will assess the effectiveness of such measures and encourage different industries to launch relevant measures; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether the authorities will set terms for all talent retention measures involving public funding support to ensure that talents who are beneficiaries will stay in Hong Kong for development; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     In consultation with the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Health Bureau, the Education Bureau, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau and the Transport and Logistics Bureau, on behalf of the Government, I provide the following consolidated reply to the question raised by the Member as follows:

(1) The Central People's Government first implemented the Hong Kong National Security Law to restore peace and stability to our society in Hong Kong, followed by the improved electoral system which enables people with different political views and coming from different social classes and professions to run for election and to be elected as Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) in order to jointly govern Hong Kong, achieving a major transition from chaos to order and advancing from stability to prosperity. The LegCo is restored to be a place for rational deliberation of policies for fulfilment and implementation of the constitutional functions entrusted to the legislature by the Basic Law, which can help promote governance efficiency as the Government can exchange views with LegCo Members in a more efficient and practical way, with a view to jointly serving our society and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interest. Government policies can then become more people-oriented in achieving good governance. During President Xi Jinping's visit to Hong Kong, he put forward "four musts" and "four proposals" and said that "Hong Kong will prosper only when its young people thrive", which reinforced the confidence of all sectors of the community in Hong Kong's future development and has become the blueprint of governance of the current-term Government. The Chief Executive will continue to lead the team to unite and motivate all sectors of the community, to actively resolve conflicts in the economy and people's livelihood, to develop a sense of national identity as well as a law-abiding and respectful society, to strengthen communication with Hong Kong citizens and attach importance to youth development, to give full play to our fine traditions of inclusiveness, unity and respect for different viewpoints and to make the best endeavours all for serving our people and better developing Hong Kong.

(2) The Hospital Authority (HA) has launched the enhanced Home Loan Interest Subsidy Scheme for staff at the end of December 2022. As of January 31, 2023, more than 400 applications and nearly 800 enquiries had been received with positive response from staff. On the other hand, to retain experienced staff to cope with the increasing service demand in future, the HA Board has approved the policy of Extending Employment Beyond Retirement in September 2021. As of December 2022, there were 103 doctors, 263 nurses, 57 allied health professionals and 2 868 supporting/other grades staff working at the HA on contract full-time terms after retirement. Among staff retiring in 2022/23 to 2026/27, at least over 1 500 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals have indicated interest/agreed to take up further employment after retirement. The HA will regularly review the effectiveness of various staff retention measures and will continue to collect feedback from staff so as to review and further enhance such measures as appropriate. The Health Bureau may share with other policy bureaux for reference after the HA has collated relevant experience and evaluated the effectiveness, so that different industries can benefit from it.

(3) The Government has no plan to set terms to ensure that beneficiaries of public funding will stay in Hong Kong for development. Talents trail opportunities. As long as Hong Kong maintains our competitiveness and provides local talents in particular the young ones with promising prospects and potential, they will choose to stay. Under the "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has the distinctive advantages of enjoying strong support of the Motherland and being closely connected to the world. Having direct access to the huge Mainland market and strong international connectivity at the same time, Hong Kong serves as a bridge linking the Mainland and the rest of the world. Key national strategies including the 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative provide Hong Kong with unlimited opportunities. Meanwhile, the Government is committed to nurturing local talents by supporting Hong Kong citizens to equip themselves and in skills-upgrading with public funding, including subsidising education, encouraging start-ups and continuing education, etc., for embracing the world of opportunities in the near future.
Ends/Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:07
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