Hong Kong should review its immigration policy to attract more mainland talent, Executive Councillor Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-fung said yesterday. In an interview with Cable TV, Mr Ch'ien said Hong Kong could become China's version of New York's Manhattan district, although a lot of effort was still needed. Mr Ch'ien said the Government must adjust its immigration policy to attract more talented people and officials must take a more pro-active approach. 'I think our immigration policy has to be adjusted. But it will certainly be very difficult for us to alter the daily quota of 150 mainland immigrants,' he said, referring to the number of people who can enter the SAR on the grounds of family reunion. 'However, we have to look at the experience in Israel and Singapore - that is, you have to be selective concerning the [immigration] policy.' Mr Ch'ien said if Hong Kong hoped to be compared with other places in Asia it would have to boost its asset value by increasing the talent pool. Only talented mainland people with university degrees in the information technology and financial sectors are allowed to work in Hong Kong under the Admission of Mainland Professionals scheme. No ceiling has been set on the numbers to be allowed in. Since the scheme started last month, the immigration department has received 50 applications from the information technology sector and 19 from the financial sector. Eight had been approved. On the local front, Mr Ch'ien said government welfare expenditure could be expected to soar in the future. 'With that heavy burden, we will need a lot of people with very high productivity who can create wealth around the globe,' Mr Ch'ien said. 'In this respect, I hope the Government can do more on [immigration policy].' A number of lawmakers have expressed fears that local people could lose their jobs in the downturn as a result of the Admission of Mainland Professionals Scheme.