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Hong Kong to Relax Admission of Mainland Professionals
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will relax admission of the Chinese mainland professionals and attract investment immigrants.

Donald Tsang, chief secretary for administration of the Hong Kong SAR, made the statement when he delivered the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy at the Legislative Council on Wednesday.

"In order that Hong Kong may emerge successfully from this challenging process of economic restructuring, we cannot rely solely on the pool of home grown talent to raise the overall quality of our human capital," Tsang said.

"Hong Kong has to attract the best and brightest from all over the world. This includes, of course, the populous and fast-developing mainland of our nation," he added.

Tsang said the present restrictions on specific business sectors and admission of dependent family members will be lifted.

"We will also take active measures to attract more mainland businessmen to set up business in Hong Kong. These measures, which we intend to implement in July 2003, will allow Hong Kong to enlarge the pool of talent needed to meet the requirements of a knowledge-based economy and enhance the competitiveness of our demographic structure," he said.

Apart from business talent, the Hong Kong SAR government will also attract mainland talent from more diversified fields, such as the arts and sports, as part of building a multi-faceted, world-class city.

Tsang said the Hong Kong SAR government will relax the current policy to attract investment immigrants and recommends that the threshold should be set at 6.5 million HK dollars (US$833,000).

Prospective applicants will be allowed a reasonable flexibility in their choice of investments. Qualifying asset classes will include real estate and specified financial assets.

The new policy will apply to foreign nationals, Macao SAR residents and residents of Taiwan. Because of foreign exchange controls, the new policy will not, at this stage, apply to mainland residents.

"For mainland businessmen, we propose to encourage them to make greater use of the current multiple visit permit system in coming to Hong Kong to look for investment opportunities," Tsang said.

"We will consider amending our immigration law to allow visitors to engage in a wider range of business-related activities in Hong Kong. We believe that these new measures will help generate greater economic activity and in turn more employment opportunities in the SAR," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2003)

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