Date
18 November 2017
Homeless people take refuge under a passenger bridge in Sham Shui Po in Kowloon. The Hong Kong government has seen its social security costs go up in recent years. Photo: HKEJ
Homeless people take refuge under a passenger bridge in Sham Shui Po in Kowloon. The Hong Kong government has seen its social security costs go up in recent years. Photo: HKEJ

Non-permanent residents make up 4.8% in social security scheme

Hong Kong authorities have in the first nine months of this year approved about 6,700 applications, out of more than 7,600 applications received, for comprehensive social security assistance for non-permanent residents, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday.

The assistance was made possible following a ruling by the Court of Final Appeal that a seven-year permanent residency requirement violated the constitution.

The total number of beneficiaries who have been residing in Hong Kong for less than seven years stood at about 18,000 as of the end of September, accounting for 4.8 percent of the total under the scheme, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, was quoted as saying in a written response to lawmakers. 

The official did not disclose the additional expenditure that arose in the social security scheme.

Based on the standard allowance of HK$2,155 (US$277.9) per month for single adults, the newly approved cases could have cost HK$14.43 million, the Journal estimated.

Lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai slammed Cheung’s non-disclosure of the expenditure, and suggested that a draft bill be submitted to the legislature to redress the situation.

–Contact us at english@hkej.com

VW/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

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