Losing workers to authoritarian crackdowns, politicians in Hong Kong are attempting to incentivize talent to come to Hong Kong through a series of financial incentives.
- “Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee unveiled a series of new measures designed to proactively trawl the world for talents during his inaugural policy address on [October 19], while underscoring the need to strengthen national security,” says Forbes.
- The program involves the introduction of a two-year visa for workers making at least $318,000 per year and graduates of the top 100 universities in the world with several years of on-the-job experience. It also offers incentives for home buying and permanent residency.
- “In his first policy address since taking office in July, Lee said the government will set aside 30 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.8 billion) to attract businesses to the city, and launch a so-called top talent pass scheme to entice talents to pursue their careers in Hong Kong,” says CNBC.
- Lee’s policies are also aiming to make Hong Kong more attractive for business, finance, and tech.
Why it’s news
Thousands of key financial figures and talented workers have been chased out of Hong Kong by China’s “zero-COVID” policy and political crackdowns on Hong Kong. Its workforce has shrunk by at least 140,000 people.
Chief Executive Lee hopes that he can create enough incentives to draw in fresh talent from mainland China and around the world as COVID policies loosen up.
“The pandemic has had an impact … but since we have transited from chaos to governance, and from governance to prosperity, we do not only have our intrinsic advantages, but also many new opportunities. Now with a series of tailor-made measures, I am confident that we can attract talents,” says Lee.
“The Hong Kong government’s unwillingness to diverge significantly from China’s zero-COVID policy has become a catalyst for many businesses and executives to relocate to places like Singapore that have already fully reopened. The labor force in Hong Kong plunged to a decade-low of around 3.75 million between March and May, followed by a slight rebound, according to government data. Meanwhile, new visa applications for overseas workers in Hong Kong have dropped by two-thirds over the past four years, government data in 2021 shows,” says Forbes.