LCQ9: Policies and statistics of Mainland residents coming to study, work and settle in Hong Kong


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is a question by the Hon Claudia Mo and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, in the Legislative Council today (July 12):

Question:   

     It is learnt that since 1997, almost 1 500 000 Mainland residents have come to settle in Hong Kong, and quite a number of Mainland residents have come to study and work in Hong Kong. Regarding the policies on and statistics of these people, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of Mainland residents who came to settle in Hong Kong on strength of Permits for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao (commonly known as One-way Permits)(OWPs) in each year since 1997 and, among such residents, the number of those who were subsequently repatriated after being ruled by the court that they had obtained their OWPs by illegal means;

(2) of the respective numbers of people who (i) applied for and (ii) were granted permission to come to/stay in Hong Kong under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals and the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates last year; the respective numbers of people, who had been granted permission in earlier years to come to/stay in Hong Kong under such Schemes/ Arrangement, became Hong Kong permanent residents (HKPRs) last year by virtue of having ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years and, among such people, the number and percentage of those who were Mainland residents;

(3) whether it knows the respective numbers of Mainland students coming to Hong Kong to pursue post-secondary programmes funded by the University Grants Committee and self-financing post-secondary programmes in each year since 2003 (and the respective percentages of such numbers in the numbers of students and non-local students in those years), together with a breakdown by (i) name of institution, (ii) level of study (e.g. sub-degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctor's degree) and (iii) duration of study, as well as the public expenditure incurred each year as a result of Mainland students pursuing these programmes;

(4) whether it knows the number of Mainland students coming to Hong Kong to pursue other post-secondary programmes in each year since 2003 (and the respective percentages of such numbers in the numbers of students and non-local students in the years concerned), together with a breakdown by (i) name of post-secondary institution, (ii) level of study and (iii) duration of study;

(5) of the number of foreign workers imported and, among them, the number and percentage of those who were Mainland residents, in each year since 1997;

(6) whether it knows the number of the Mainland residents who had come to settle in Hong Kong after 1997 emigrating overseas, and the percentage of such number in the total number of HKPRs who emigrated overseas, in each year since 1997;

(7) of the number of Mainland residents, who had come to settle in Hong Kong after 1997, applying for renunciation of HKPR status, and the percentage of such number in the total number of such applicants, in each year since 1997;

(8) whether it knows the respective numbers of live births born to singly non-permanent resident (SNR) pregnant women (i.e.

Mainland pregnant women whose spouses are HKPRs) and doubly non-permanent resident (DNR) pregnant women (i.e. Mainland pregnant women whose spouses are not HKPRs) in public and private hospitals in Hong Kong in each year since 1997;

(9) of the respective numbers of SNR and DNR children coming to Hong Kong to study in (i) kindergartens, (ii) primary schools, (iii) secondary schools, (iv) post-secondary institutions and (v) universities in Hong Kong, and the respective percentages of such numbers in the total numbers of students at those levels, in each year since 2003; and

(10) whether the authorities will discuss with the relevant Mainland authorities the assumption of full responsibility for the vetting and approval of OWP applications by Hong Kong; if so, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:
 
President,

     Upon consultation with relevant policy bureaux and departments, the reply to the question is as follows:
   
(1) Since 1 July 1997, the number of persons who have come to Hong Kong on Permits for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao (commonly known as "One-way Permits" (OWPs)) in each year is as follows:
 
Year Number of persons entering Hong Kong on OWPs   Year Number of persons entering Hong Kong on OWPs
1997
(From 1 July)
29 395   2007 33 865
1998 56 039   2008 41 610
1999 54 625   2009 48 587
2000 57 530   2010 42 624
2001 53 655   2011 43 379
2002 45 234   2012 54 646
2003 53 507   2013 45 031
2004 38 072   2014 40 496
2005 55 106   2015 38 338
2006 54 170   2016 57 387
 
     The Immigration Department (ImmD) does not maintain the other statistics mentioned in the question.

(2) The statistics mentioned in the question are at Annex 1.

(3) and (4) From the 2003/04 to 2016/17 academic years, the number of Mainland students of University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded programmes by university and level of study; and the percentage of Mainland students to total enrolment and non-local enrolment are at Annex 2. The Education Bureau (EDB) does not have information of the average years of study of relevant Mainland students in Hong Kong.

     According to information provided by relevant institutions, from the 2010/11 to 2016/17 academic years, the number of Mainland students of full-time locally accredited non-UGC-funded post-secondary programmes by institution and level of study; and the percentage of Mainland students to total enrolment and non-local enrolment are at Annex 3.

EDB does not have information of the average years of study of relevant Mainland students in Hong Kong.

     Funding provided by the UGC to UGC-funded universities is made in the form of a block grant on the basis of approved student places allocated to the universities. It is not possible to attribute specific amount of funding to Mainland students.

     It is noteworthy that starting from the 2016/17 academic year, all new non-local students in sub-degree (SD), undergraduate (Ug) and taught postgraduate (TPg) programmes should be admitted through over-enrolment outside the approved UGC-funded student number targets, capped at a level equivalent to 20 per cent of the approved UGC-funded student number targets for these programmes, by study level. Over-enrolment is allowed on the condition that no extra resources will be provided by the UGC.

All non-local students of SD, Ug and TPg programmes are required to pay tuition fee at a level that is at least sufficient to recover all additional direct costs. In other words, no additional resources are involved in over-enrolment of non-local students.

     On the other hand, Mainland students who are admitted to the subvented Higher Diploma programmes offered by the Vocational Training Council are required to pay tuition fees at the level equivalent to that of self-financing programmes.

(5) The statistics mentioned in the question are at Annex 4.

(6) Hong Kong residents departing Hong Kong are not obliged to inform the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government) of their purpose of travel. The HKSAR Government does not maintain the statistics mentioned in the question.

(7) ImmD verifies Hong Kong permanent resident status in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance.

According to the law, once verified, as long as the person still qualifies for Hong Kong permanent resident, the Hong Kong permanent resident status will not change. ImmD does not maintain the statistics mentioned in the question.

(8) To ensure that local pregnant women are accorded priority for quality obstetric services, the Government has implemented a series of measures to limit the use of obstetric services by non-local pregnant women to a level that can be handled by the healthcare system in Hong Kong. Since the implementation of the "zero-quota policy" on January 1, 2013, all public hospitals have not accepted any delivery bookings by non-local pregnant women, and private hospitals have also unanimously agreed to stop accepting delivery bookings from non-local pregnant women (including Mainland pregnant women) whose husbands are not Hong Kong residents since 2013.

For Mainland pregnant women whose husbands are Hong Kong permanent residents or Hong Kong residents who came to Hong Kong on OWPs hoping to give birth in Hong Kong, there is a consensus in the community that the Government should provide assistance to this group of expectant mothers as far as possible.  In this connection, the Government has established a special arrangement with private hospitals to allow this specific group of women to make delivery bookings at local private hospitals on the production of the required supporting documents.

     According to the information provided by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the numbers of live births born in Hong Kong to Mainland women whose spouses are Hong Kong permanent residents and Mainland women whose spouses are non-Hong Kong permanent residents between 1997 and 2016 are summarised at Annex 5. Besides, C&SD only maintains the statistics regarding the proportion of live births born to Mainland women in public hospitals and private hospitals from 2007 onwards.

(9) EDB does not collect information on the resident status of the parents of students and hence is unable to provide the number and the percentage of students by their parents' resident status.

(10) OWPs are documents issued by relevant authorities in the Mainland. The application, approval and issuance of OWPs fall within the remit of the Mainland authorities.

According to Article 22 of the Basic Law and the interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 1999, Mainland residents who wish to enter Hong Kong for whatever reason must apply to the relevant authorities of their residential districts for approval in accordance with the relevant national laws and administrative regulations, and must hold valid documents issued by the relevant authorities. Accordingly, Mainland residents who wish to settle in Hong Kong for family reunion must apply for OWPs from the exit and entry administration offices of the public security authority at the places of their household registration in the Mainland. ImmD facilitates the processing of OWP applications by the Mainland authorities at case level, including issuing Certificates of Entitlement to the Right of Abode to children of Hong Kong permanent residents, and when necessary, rendering assistance in verifying the supporting documents submitted by the applicants and their claimed relationship with relatives in Hong Kong (e.g.

husband and wife, parent and child). Where a case is found to be suspicious or when factual discrepancies are identified, ImmD will inform the Mainland authorities and request the applicant to provide further documentary proof. ImmD will also assist the Mainland authorities in investigating cases involving OWPs obtained through unlawful means.

The HKSAR Government does not consider that there is any need or justification to request the Mainland authorities to consider changing the existing OWP scheme or approval arrangements.



Published on: 2017-07-12

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