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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
NewsHong Kong

No reason to cut quota of mainland immigrants: Lai Tung-kwok

Secretary for security Lai Tung-kwok has rejected calls to cut the daily quota of immigrants from the mainland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 7:20am


  • Yes: 77%
  • No: 23%
17 Sep 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 468

There is "no justification" to change the 150-a-day quota for mainlanders to come and live with their families in Hong Kong or the means of choosing them, the security minister says.

The remarks by Lai Tung-kwok come amid calls for Hong Kong to take hold of the right to screen the applicants, a power that rests with the mainland authorities.

Critics also blame the people given the one-way permits for the ever-growing demands on housing and social facilities.

"I must point out that the approval arrangements for the one-way permits have a sound constitutional basis," Lai said in an article in yesterday's Sing Tao Daily newspaper.

He said the scheme was "not a project to import talents", but allowed mainlanders' to come "in an orderly manner".

From the handover in 1997 to last year, 762,044 mainlanders have settled in Hong Kong, making up about a tenth of the city's present population.

While there are calls for reducing the quota, Lai said he also heard the voices of people seeking family reunions.

The government's estimate on future population growth did take into account these newcomers, Lai said. He pledged to ensure mainland authorities knew of the city's social demands.

Commenting on Lai's remarks, Roy Tam Hoi-pong, an advocate for preserving Hong Kong culture, said it was a good thing for society to focus on population figures rather than purely on housing demand.

"The senior government officials should calm down and think about ways to solve the housing problems from the perspective of population policies," said Tam, president of the group Green Sense.

He said the city's housing shortage could be eased - and the need for reclamations and the development of country parks minimised - if the 150-a-day quota was reduced.

Better planning on housing, transport and welfare could also be achieved.

Tam rejected Lai's assertion that mainland authorities should retain the right to approve applications, saying family reunions would still be possible if the power rested with Hong Kong.



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This article is now closed to comments

1. Why is there zero assessment of the ability of the relevant Hong Kong citizen to financially support his or her dependents? "Compassion" is not without cost, and it is reasonable that this cost be borne by the party who benefits most. What if Hong Kong citizens were suddenly to go on a marriage spree in Africa, would "family reunifications" be approved without regard to financial capacity?

2. Why are these family reunifications not occurring on the mainland?

3. Since 1992, over 1 million new immigrants have entered Hong Kong. Assuming household size of 3-4 persons, that equates to additional housing demand for 275 to 367 thousand new flats. There would not be a need to find new land for housing but for this immigration. Moreover, there would be far lower demand on Hong Kong's taxed infrastructure, social, medical, education, and other services.

4. It is interesting that Lai mentions "housing, welfare, education and medical needs" of the new immigrants. There is not much mention of how the majority of these new immigrants have contributed/will contribute meaningfully to Hong Kong.

This is a delicate issue, of course. A balanced approach is to look at it from the view of responsibility. The Hong Kong citizen(s) who benefits from the family reunification should be responsible for, and must prove that they can afford, the cost of the upkeep of the new immigrants. Only then can the one way permit system have the slightest modicum of accountability.
Declining birth rates are a collective choice by the Hong Kong people. If this is the collective decision, it should be accepted and not circumvented through immigration. Based on economic principals, I am quite certain the population of Hong Kong has an equilibrium level without immigration. This level might be 4 million or 7 million or some other number, but there is no need to force a population number outcome.
It is not just the numbers of people immigrating, but their qualifications. If they are mostly unskilled with limited education this is not beneficial for HK as they take up public hospital places, school places, there is no public housing to accommodate them and not enough jobs. Not good for them or HK.
If 1 Million new Chinese immigrants entered HK since 1992 that would meant population would have grown at least 1.5 million from that. People do have kids and they have kids. So flats would be 500 thousand.
More people, more cars, more strain on infrastructure, more pollution.
150 a day is far to many, cut it back to 50 a day and the stress to systems will have time to cope.
Traffic in the last year on the island is hitting a tipping point, it is not going to take much more until we hit gridlocks all over HK.
It's quite obvious that HK has many people with sensible, workable ideas. The only way to engage them and expunge the nutters is to open up politics. Narrowness breeds narrowness.
How about adding the parents of young HKID holders (children born here of mainland mothers) to the permitted list? We need young children to offset a declining birthrate plus these children would not then need to spend 5 hours a day crossing the border to attend school here.
Nonsense. I don't know where you got your figures but if the birth rate is declining, the older generations get older and there aren't enough younger to support the balance. Furthermore, the rate of emigration of HKnese and inofficial numbers of people who are leaving HK are of 20,000 -40,000 per year for the UK, Australia, USA and Canada.
Population 7.15m
Births 12.8 per 1000 91,520 pa
Deaths 6 per 1000 42,900 p.a.
Imported from Mainland 54,750 p.a.
Increase in population per year 103,370 needing housing
Hong Kong has very limited space and it is a very sensitive issue to administer the space to make HK a livable and enjoyable place. And to give HK a quality of life we need to preserve and even extend our country parks, leave our water fronts untouched and reduce reclamations but at the same time give people more space for a pleasant living. The majority of flats come with room sizes that are significantly below the legal minimum in other advanced countries. What is actually HK's saturation point in terms of population for a decent and enjoyable living ? 5 mio, 7 mio or 10-12 mio ? HK has first to define what it wants. A concrete jungle with cubicles of the size of a prison cell calling it a flat ? Then even increase the quota.
Why do we have a quota in the first place ? HK had to allow mainlanders to settle in HK in order to demonstrate we are now part of the PRC. But the government was sensible enough to set a quota. Why didn't they set the limit at 10 or 500 or even 1,000 per day ? At that time 150 seemed reasonable. But in the meantime things have changed and HK has to adjust to the current situation with the long term future in mind and reduce the quota significantly. HK actually has reached its population saturation point already and we have to start to concentrate on making HK a more livable place.
Are we still just living or already enjoying a happy life ?



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