Legco Viewpoint
Seizing the Opportunity in the Talent Race

After battling the pandemic for the past three years, we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel as Hong Kong is returning to normal. With the symptoms of those infected be ing mostly mild, both the Mainland and Hong Kong have significantly relaxed anti-epidemic measures,bringing us closer to reopening our border with the Mainland. Hong Kong's next step should be to roll out a ser ies of initi atives to attract more overseas bus inesses and talent.

Over the past two years, the local workforce shrank by about 140,000, of which 88,000 were skilled workers. Given there are a number of mega development projects in the pipeline, such as the Northem Metropolis, we must work hard to fill the skills short age.

Top professionals are highly sought after around the world. Moreover, cities like Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur are all actively wooing multinational corporations to set up regional offices. Even though we have the Mainland advantage when we engage with the world, given the intense global competition for talent, Hong Kong must step up its efforts to win over talent and businesses to maintain our competitiveness as Asia's preferred business and financial hub.

As such, I recommend that the Government extend its talent list, review the criteria for the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, and allow more overseas professionals in I&T, finance, healthcare and education to work in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, bold policy measures on land and taxation are needed to persuade businesses and talent to come here. This wi ll have the added advantage of enhancing our competitiveness and promoting diversified industrial development.

As for the stamp duty on property transactions, while the Policy Address announced that foreign talent can apply for a refund of the extra stamp duty paid on purchasing residential property in Hong Kong, the arrangement of "levy first and refund later" has little appeal to overseas talent. For example, if they purchase a residential property worth HK$10 million, they must still pay an additional HK$3 million in stamp duty. The Government should waive stamp duty for eligible talent.

In addition, Hong Kong must enhance its support facilities for international talent to live and work here with their family, including increasing international school places, as well as providing more cultural, recreational and sports facilities. 

Indeed, investing in attracting talent will bring many additional benefits as incoming professionals will not only bring in their businesses and skills, but also their family and hopefully will settle down in the city.


Jeffrey Lam
[email protected]


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