Mainland officials posted to the SAR would not be granted permanent residency under the seven-year rule in a proposal to stop more of them getting Hong Kong permanent identity cards, a Security Bureau source revealed yesterday.
About 1,000 mainland officials posted to Hong Kong had obtained permanent residency status since the handover, the source said.
Legislator Lau Kong-wah welcomed the proposal, saying it could save Beijing from losing talented officials who settled in the SAR or emigrated after securing a permanent ID. A Chinese citizen who has 'ordinarily resided' in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years is entitled to permanent residency.
But the source said the bureau would propose an amendment to the Immigration Ordinance which would mean that mainland officials would not be granted Hong Kong identity cards.
The source said the amendment was needed to bring mainland officials in line with other overseas diplomats, whose stay was not ordinary residency.
'The move will also allow the central Government more flexibility in their deployment, as it would not need to ask the officials to return after posting them to Hong Kong for more than six years,' the source said.
The source said the 7,000 mainland officials, including staff of state-owned enterprises, who had stayed in Hong Kong for seven years before the amendment was endorsed would be eligible to apply for permanent residency.