$500m needed to care for mainland children

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 January, 1994, 12:00am

MORE than $500 million will be needed to provide public services for mainland children coming to Hong Kong under the increased daily quota.

The Government recently reached an agreement with China to allow an extra 30 places a day for Chinese one-way permit holders to come on top of the present 75.

Of the extra 30, 15 will be specifically allocated to children who will automatically become Hong Kong permanent residents in 1997 under the Basic Law.

Under Article 24, mainland children born to Hong Kong permanent residents are entitled to right of abode in the territory after 1997.

It is estimated there are up to 100,000 children living in the mainland in this category.

The other 15 are for wives or husbands of Hong Kong residents who have been separated from their spouses for more than 10 years.

In a paper circulated to legislators on the security panel yesterday, the Government said the $500 million would be needed for increased public services, especially in education.

The Government estimated $400 million in additional resources would be needed for the children over the first five years.

Another $100 million would be required for areas such as medical and health, welfare, housing and transport.

The Government said the increased quota was intended to diminish a sudden surge by this group of children in 1997.

''Spreading some of the influx between now and July 1997 will clearly diminish the rush,'' the paper said.

With the scheme implemented, it is estimated that the annual intake of mainland children to Hong Kong after 1997 would be around 3,000 to 4,000.