Permit scheme allows mainland residents to reunite with families in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 10:57pm

I refer to the article by Richard Harris (“The Chinese are coming”, February 17).

The one-way permit scheme is not a scheme for admission of talented people. Rather, it is a scheme administered by the mainland authorities to allow mainland residents to come to Hong Kong for family reunion in an orderly manner.

This scheme should not be mixed up with various admission schemes to attract talented people and professionals from the mainland and other places to come to Hong Kong with a view to enhancing the city’s international competitiveness, for example, the general employment policy, the admission scheme for mainland talents and professionals, and the quality migrant admission scheme.

In the past few years, an average of over 40,000 people were approved to come to Hong Kong under the three schemes each year. The one-way permit scheme and various talent admission schemes serve different policy objectives. It is not meaningful to compare them.

To set the record straight, by the end of 2016, over 940,000 mainland residents had come to Hong Kong under the one-way permit scheme since July 1, 1997. This translates to some 132 new arrivals from the mainland per day. That figure includes “overage children” permitted to come to Hong Kong on the strength of a one-way permit for reunion with their natural parents.

Though not admitted for their professional skill, one-way permit scheme entrants can readily become part of our workforce. About 90 per cent of them have received secondary education or above, comparable to the local profile.

In recent years, about one-fifth of them have received post-secondary education. Their median age, in the early 30s, is lower than the territory-wide median age of the early 40s.

The government attaches importance to the views of various sectors of the community concerning mainland residents settling in Hong Kong, and will spare no effort in attracting talent and professionals from outside Hong Kong to maintain our competitiveness.

Winnie Chui, for secretary for security