Hong Kong has seen an increase of nearly 10 per cent in the number of well-qualified people who want to live here, says the Immigration Department. Most of those approved were from the mainland.
In the first 11 months of the year, 1,834 people applied for admission under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme – 9.5 per cent more than in the whole of last year – the department said.
Since 2006, the department has approved 2,392 applications – 77.6% of them from the mainland. The programme was set up to attract highly qualified people without the prior offer of employment required for a normal working visa. The city issued 30,557 visas last year under the general employment policy.
The quality migrant scheme worries some commentators because of the large proportion of mainlanders.
Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said it showed a worrying trend of “mainlandisation” in Hong Kong.
“It is not surprising that mainland China has more talent given its 1.3 billion population, but I feel uncomfortable about the overwhelming figure,” she said.
The next top sources of migrants are the United States, Australia and Canada – each accounting for 2.9 to 3.7 per cent.
A population expert has said the government needs to do more to attract oversees talent to Hong Kong, to help tackle challenges posed by the low birth rate and an aging population.