Mainland pianist Lang Lang yesterday became the first new Hong Kong resident under the Immigration Department's quality migrant admission scheme. The 24-year-old said Hong Kong was a dazzling city and that the poor air quality was not a problem for him. 'I think Hong Kong air is clean,' he said. 'I come from the north, so Hong Kong's winter is perfect, although it's usually a bit more humid here.' The department wrote to the 83 successful applicants on Friday. Yesterday was the first working day for applicants to be granted visas. Lang went straight to Immigration Tower yesterday after stepping off a flight from Vienna. The department kept its doors open late to accommodate his 6pm arrival. He was given an entry visa allowing him an initial 12 months' residency when he next entered Hong Kong. That happened last night when he went to Macau for a meeting, then returned to his new home. 'I'm very honoured to be the first one,' Lang said. He said he had been offered passports by some western countries. 'But I prefer Hong Kong because it allows me to retain my status as a Chinese citizen.' However, he did say that seven years was rather a long time to wait for permanent residency, compared with other countries. Lang, who grew up in Shenyang, Liaoning province, said he had always been fascinated by Hong Kong's vibrancy. 'I feel so close to this place.' By the beginning of this month, the department had received 479 applications, of which 186 have been processed and 83 approved. Thirty-nine did not meet the scheme's requirements. Twenty-five were abandoned. Successful applicants must be under 50 years old and of good character and must usually have a university degree. They are given points for language proficiency, family background, work experience, age and qualifications. Individuals with exceptional talent or skill who have outstanding achievements may choose to be assessed under a separate achievement-based points test.