Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said the government is compiling a list of desired talents under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), Apple Daily reported Friday.
During his policy address Wednesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the points calculation system for the QMAS should be reviewed and revised so that Hong Kong can attract more of the type of immigrants it needs.
However, labour groups said the government failed to consult industry before announcing the new plans.
They criticized the authorities for encouraging the importation of foreign labour on one hand while saying they will increase advancement opportunities for local youths on the other.
The list of talents would include chefs, teachers and social workers, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the government.
The security chief gave no details of the list’s composition but said at a news conference that the occupations on it are those that are in short supply in Hong Kong.
He said many countries, like Britain, Australia and Singapore, have similar lists.
Lai admitted the list will affect the points calculation for the QMAS. Applicants will be awarded additional points if their occupations are on the list.
Under the scheme, an extra 30 points will now be assigned if an applicant graduated from a well-known university overseas, while those who possess two or more years of international work experience will be awarded an extra 15 points.
Lai said the compiling of such a list is complex and therefore there is no due date for its completion.
The government is also set to relax restrictions on the length of stay for top-level migrants.
Those who make no less than HK$2 million a year will be granted the right of abode for six years when they renew their application after the first two years of stay.
Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who is chairman of the Labour Party, said no industry organizations have been consulted about the list.
He questioned whether the industries mentioned are really short of people.
Cantopop singer Denise Ho said it would be absurd to import music professionals, as the government has never done anything to help local musicians.
Local composers, writers and lyricists are already facing gloomy prospects, she said, questioning the wisdom of introducing more competition for them.
Immigration consultant Eddie Kwan King-hung said he welcomed the government’s proposals, as eligible applicants can now increase their chances of success by matching their occupations to the government’s wish list.
Kwan said the success rate for QMAS applications is about 30 percent.
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