22 January 2019
Beijing city is easing residency polices for talented professionals from Hong Kong and Macau. Photo: Bloomberg
Beijing city is easing residency polices for talented professionals from Hong Kong and Macau. Photo: Bloomberg

Beijing seeks to lure HK, Macau talents by offering ‘hukou’

China’s capital city, Beijing, is seeking to attract talented professionals from Hong Kong and Macau by offering preferential policies in relation to local residency permits.

From March 1, municipal authorities will allow talents from the two Chinese special administrative regions to apply for Beijing “hukou”, the residency permit that enables holders to avail social services and benefits.

The Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park will pilot the policies first, according to China News Service.

People taking important posts in the high-tech park can even apply for residence permits for their foreign maids.

The move comes after Beijing authorities positioned Zhongguancun as a national innovation demonstration zone and the first special talent zone in the country, Hong Kong’s am730 newspaper noted.

Authorities will launch 20 immigration-related trial polices as complementary measures.

Under the policies, current limits on stay in China will be eased for four types of people, including foreign high-level talents working or establishing their own business in Zhongguancun; foreigners of Chinese origin; foreign members of entrepreneurial teams; and young foreign students.

While Beijing has been issuing residence permits to talents from Hong Kong and Macau since 2003, such a permit, which has to be renewed every two years, is not equal to hukou that one can really settle down with.

Now those talents who are recognized by Beijing authorities can get hukou just by filing applications to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, and they can expect to get approval within 50 days rather than 180 days as was the case previously.

While the new measures seem very family-friendly, some immigration consultants told Ming Pao that their effectiveness remains questionable as there are still concerns about China’s political system, food safety and air pollution, among other issues.

A member of concern group Frontline Tech Workers said hukou is not a big enough incentive for Hongkongers as travel between Hong Kong and Beijing is highly convenient.

Lack of freedom of speech, restrained information flow, personal safety and privacy are the issues that really need to be addressed, he said.

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