Hong Kong to target skilled foreign workers

Hong Kong is looking to scrap – or at least limit – a scheme that aims to attract foreigners with money to invest in the city and instead concentrate on targeting foreign workers with needed labour skills.

In a policy address made yesterday, the city’s Chief executive, Leung Chun Ying, announced that the city has experienced “overly abundant” capital such as in the property market, in recent years, and will now turn its attentions elsewhere. “What we want to attract are talents, not just capital,” he said.
The chief executive revealed that the Hong Kong government is currently drawing up a ‘talent list’ that will outline the most in-demand professionals that the city needs to attract in order to overcome the most prevalent shortages. Occupations including those in the IT and Innovation, and Financial Services sectors are likely to feature highly on this list.

Foreign skilled workers who have entered Hong Kong through the city’s current legal immigration schemes currently make up less than 2 per cent of Hong Kong’s entire population, and while no official limit has been placed on the number of skilled workers it will look to attract through the proposed new scheme, figures of hundreds of thousands have been bandied about.

During yesterday’s speech, Chun Ying also revealed that new measures would be implemented to try and tempt many second-generation Hong Kong emigrants back to their parents’ homeland. A large number of young people left Hong Kong in the years leading up to the 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule.