On October 19 chief executive of Hong Kong, John Lee, announced the ‘Top Talent Pass Scheme’ – which the government hopes will widely entice talent to pursue careers in Hong Kong with a two year working visa.
“We must be more proactive and aggressive in competing for enterprises and competing for talent,” Lee said during his maiden policy address.
“Apart from actively nurturing and retaining local talent, the government will proactively trawl the world for talent,” he added.
Eligible talent includes those whose annual salary amounted to HK$2.5 million or above in 2021 and individuals who graduated from the world’s 100 top universities – and who have three years of work experience.
Lee said that the government’s overseas offices will set up dedicated teams to liaise with the world’s top universities and their graduates.
The bid for talent is a result of recent brain drain which has occurred since China’s National Security Law came into effect in 2020.
During the address, Lee said that Hong Kong has lost around 140,000 people from its work force in the past two years and a result has introduced a policy goal of bringing in 35,000 qualified people each year.
Lee also announced proposals including tax rebates and more relaxed procedure for employers who recruit foreigners, as well as loosening immigration measures for overseas students and students from mainland China, by extending the limit of stay from one year to two.
Speaking on the attractiveness of Hong Kong to overseas talent, Lee said that it has “advanced infrastructure in both hardware and software, a sound legal system and top-notch talents from all over the world,”
“Hong Kong is also an appealing city embracing both Chinese and Western cultures”
Lee added: “an open and diversified metropolis where old and new styles meet, Hong Kong is also an appealing city embracing both Chinese and Western cultures.”
The news was well received by Hong Kong’s publicly funded universities with the University of Hong Kong releasing a statement which said: “We have an international academic environment, while backed by a strong mainland market which provides opportunities for knowledge exchange and commercialisation of the outputs of our researchers.”
“Building a sustainable and liveable Hong Kong will definitely facilitate the University of Hong Kong and other local universities to attract international talents, enhance the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong academia and build a strong pool of talent for the region and the country,” the statement added.