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  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 11:21am
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
 

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  • 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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17

This article is now closed to comments

dynamco
www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/docs/population.pdf
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
HK-Lover
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 ?
kctony
1) Pollution is killing us. 3,000 will die each year of respiratory deseases. Howe many will be sick before 3,000 die?
2) Old age and poverty. The Government don't seem to have a plan.
3) Escalating health cost.
4) The economy is not strong enough to support adequate employment
5) Property prices out of reach of most folks.
6) Landfill used to capacity
7) Transport system is overloaded

And HK keeps importing unskilled labour to escalating the severity of the above problems. We are surrounded on three sides by water and have no room to grow. Why is this silliness unchecked? Who stands to benefit most?
I am convinced that this immigration policy was in fact an idea offered by the property tycoons two decades ago.
pangkf
Those who support this policy just want to destroy Hong Kong. Hong Kong doesn't need the low-quality immigrants, OK??
honger
This ensures continued, uninterupted demand for shelter of any kind - of course the govt has been and will continue to collude with the property barons in this city.
This is probably the most crowded place on earth.....there will come a day when HK will no longer have the $$$ to support this madness. But of course those who benefited from this policy plus their families will be far away with their amassed wealth.
charlesyeomans
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.
sontan0917
i disagree with Lai. the quota for mainland immigrants should be totally stopped. as due to them crime, pollution, housing and health problems, solid wastes, civil disobedience, crowded streets and many many problems has increased. the only benefit is economic development which is of no use if there is no peace and harmony.
impala
Just one glance at the headlines on the SCMP website today makes something painfully clear.

# 'Hong Kong police chief tells city to watch its mouth'
# 'Security chief Lai Tung-kwok rejects calls to cut mainland immigrant quota'
# 'Democrats lose out to pro-Beijing forces in Macau elections'
# 'Hong Kong should capitalise on mainland tourism growth, says Leung Chun-ying'
# 'Hong Kong does not need British support on reform: Leung snubs UK offer'

Instead of slowing things down, CY Leung and his team are shifting the train into a higher gear. Destination: full integration with the mainland. The FSAR Hong Kong, with F for Former.
CatInAFlap
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.
Giwaffe
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.

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