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  • Apr 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:19am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Permit system open to review

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 September, 2013, 2:40am

Some Hongkongers like to blame mainlanders for everything. From sky-high property prices to long public housing queues, from a shortage of hospital beds to insufficient primary school places, our neighbours are, sometimes unjustifiably, seen as the root of many social and economic ills in the city. The latest land supply debate has fuelled calls to revamp the one-way permit system so that the government can have better control over the quantity as well as the quality of the arrivals.

The negative public feelings are understandable in light of the social tension arising from cross-border integration. Guangdong governor Zhu Xiaodan appears to be sensitive to the sentiment as well. Asked about the influx of mainland tourists at a cross-border conference, the top official said the individual visit scheme was made for the good of Hong Kong's economy. But he agreed that the policy should be reviewed if it had adverse consequences on people's livelihood.

The remarks came as the city's security chief Lai Tung-kwok rejected calls to change the 150 daily arrival quota under the one-way permit scheme, which critics said had added to the demand for housing and other public services. The burden, they argued, could be eased if the government could limit the numbers and determine who can settle here. That means taking over the vetting of applications, which is currently handled by mainland authorities.

Appealing as it sounds, the suggestion implies we only welcome those who are beneficial to our economy and demographics. If this is the case, it deviates from the original purpose of facilitating family reunion in an orderly manner. It would be discriminatory if the elderly and the poor were to be screened out to avoid draining our public resources.

That said, a system that has been in place for decades should be reviewed regularly. About 762,000 mainlanders have settled here since the handover, representing one-tenth of the population. It makes sense to engage the government closely to ensure the arrivals are within our capacity.


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To megafun:
1. I assume the number you are referring is about the 150 quota of mainlanders settling in Hong Kong daily. It is 54,750 per year. If CY Leung currently is struggling to find 450,000 housing units which will not be realized in 5 years time, the 54,750 number will become 273,750. And if 1/3 of the immigrants going to form household there will be a need of 91,250 housing units which is 20% of those 450,000 units yet to be realized. It is not a small number regardless how it is compared with the number of non-local residents in Hong Kong.
Since there is no official number of immigrants entering on the permit, purposely I should say, we are in the dark. But that 150 quota is a very reliable number. I don’t know in fact if the government’s 450,000 housing units have actually taken the permit residence into account but too afraid to tell the public.
2. That permit should be revoked. The family reunion is unnecessary has to take place in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is not North and South Korea where there is hardship in the North. Or in fact, the 150 quota may have not been used up but rather it has been dosing out to the selected. All in all, Hong Kong still must face housing shortage for years to come until perhaps Hong Kong is no longer HKSAR.
We are kept in the dark from numbers.
the numbers arriving is little, as compare to others whom are here temporarily - such as oversea workers, lawyers and engineers. Lets hope corruption can be eliminated in any future changes.
All policy should be subjected to periodic review. Those policies that instituted towards the end of colonial rule are in particular from functional constituency in legislation with voting power to 150 daily immigrants from mainland. Conditions from within and without warrant policies to adapt change or scrapped.
By the way, security is not an issue when that 150 immigrants but social accommodation is. What security issue could we be afraid of if none of them are thugs like those in the NT coming to Hong Kong? And why would Beijing sending them? I would suggest CY Leung to order your Security secretary to mind his own administration business. Let us talk and concentrate on resources verses immigration and quality of life in Hong Kong.
The editorial has an irrelevant point.
A good editorial.


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