Starting January 1st 2013, the blanket band to stop pregnant mainland Chinese women not married to Hong Kong residents from giving birth in Hong Kong comes into effect. The “zero birth quota” was announced by Chief Executive Leung Chun-Yi back in April after several incidences caused heavy tension and a surge in anti-China sentiment in Hong Kong. The past several years, giving birth in Hong Kong has become a popular option for mainland Chinese women. By having children in Hong Kong, the mothers have access to the city’s excellent heath care and education system, as well as, the automatic right to reside in Hong Kong for the children. However, the locals have seen these women as a threat to the city’s social resources, as the influx of pregant women from China have overcrowded hospitals, increased competition in gaining places for local children at schools, and have hindered purchases of daily necessities, such as, baby formula.
The government stressed that it will closely monitor the use of maternity services by foreign pregnant women next year. The Immigration Department, the office of the Licensing Authority and other law enforcement sectors will increase interception and enforcement actions against pregnant women crossing the Hong Kong borders who do not have husbands who are permanent residents. They will strengthen immigration examinations of all pregnant mainland chinese women, fight against the agencies that help them come into the city illegally and heavily survey the unlicense guesthouses that allows them to stay.
It is still too early to be certain the government’s efforts will prevent mainland mothers from coming into Hong Kong. It has been reported that some agencies are still claiming they can help mothers illegally cross the border, secure hospital beds and doctors for hundreds of thousands of dollars until mid-January.