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Friday, January 16, 2015, 08:46

One-Way Permit holders ‘valuable source’: Lam

By Shadow Li in Hong Kong
One-Way Permit holders ‘valuable source’: Lam
Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor gives a speech during the press conference at Central Government Office on January 15, 2015. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday said new arrivals with One-Way Permits were a “valuable manpower source” for the city.

Lam told a press conference One-Way Permit holders would continue to be the main source of population growth in the city — which has a low birth rate.

For the past 17 years since the handover, around 830,000 One-Way Permit holders have settled in the city. Some 98 percent of them are spouses or children of Hong Kong residents.

“I believe that Hong Kong people are sensible and rational and they will realize that they need this source of population growth while at the same time, they will also appreciate that this is really what we usually advocate as human rights for family reunion,” said Lam.

Lam also said she wasn’t concerned that the system, which had existed for many years, would create cultural conflicts.

She said Hong Kong people were pragmatic and tolerant and would get on well with new mainland immigrants.

On Wednesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced a five-pronged strategy to address the new demographic challenges — particularly the growing aging population and a shrinking labor force.

In his third Policy Address, Leung also proposed initiatives to lure more talented workers to Hong Kong.

Lam admitted the government had overestimated the population growth in earlier projections. This is after the latest census statistics predicted that the total population would be 8.16 million in 2031, lower than previous estimates of 8.36 million.

According to government figures, the labor force will peak at around 3.71 million in 2018 and subsequently decline. The median age of those new arrivals of One-Way Permit holder in 2013 was 33, 10 years younger than the median age of total population of Hong Kong.

Lam said it has become clear that in recent years, One-Way Permit holders are the main driver of Hong Kong’s economy.

stushadow@chinadailyhk.com

 

 
 
 
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