Sweet measures to lure HK residents to Greater Bay

Top News | Angel Kwan and Michael Shum 7 Nov 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says Hongkongers will benefit from a series of preferential policies designed to attract them to live, work or study in the Greater Bay Area.

Under the new policies, Hongkongers will be allowed to purchase residential flats in Greater Bay without limitations, Lam said after attending the third plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in Beijing.

"Hong Kong residents will be exempted from the necessary proof of period of residence, study or employment, nor will they have to meet conditions on the payment of individual income tax and social security," Lam said. Hong Kong residents will receive the "same treatment as mainland residents," she added.

Children living with parents who have Hong Kong and Macau residency while working in the area will receive the same educational options as children of mainland residents, including pre-primary education and the option to participate in the senior high school entrance exam.

The group also agreed to the SAR government's suggestion to allow the use of Hong Kong-registered drugs and common medical devices in designated Hong Kong-owned health-care institutions in the Greater Bay.

Lam said Hong Kong permanent non-Chinese residents will be eligible for a visa or permission for residence with options of either two-year or five-year stays, making it more convenient to travel around the area.

Electronic payment services in Hong Kong will also be available across the area, such as e-wallets, making it more convenient for Hongkongers traveling in the region.

Outcomes of the meeting included exploring the establishment of a cross-boundary wealth management connection scheme, allowing citizens from both sides of the boundary to buy investment products from each other, according to Lam.

Eddie Yue Wai-man, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said establishing the scheme will create new business opportunities for the financial industry, and it will reinforce Hong Kong's position as the global hub for offshore yuan business.

Lam said the policies will help the professional services in Hong Kong, including reducing business constraints for the law and insurance sectors as well as further extending the scope of mutual recognition of qualifications for construction professionals.

Lam said the SAR government welcomed the policies that will benefit Hong Kong citizens from different economic strata.

These policies will help bolster and improve Hong Kong's traditional commercial strengths in areas such as finance, medicine, and professional services while developing new areas for economic growth such as innovation and technology, Lam said.

She said the government will follow up with relevant mainland authorities and the government of Guangdong province in a practical manner to implement the policies.

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