Some 2,000 Hong Kong youngsters will be subsidized to work in the Greater Bay Area, earning a monthly salary of up to HK$26,000.
They will be part of the government's HK$430 million Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme meant to encourage enterprises operating in Hong Kong and the bay area to recruit and deploy SAR university graduates to work across the border.
The 2,000 positions will include 400 infotech and 1,600 other jobs, with the longest contract period at 18 months.
Most positions will come with a monthly salary of at least HK$18,000 -including HK$10,000 subsidized by the government.
Infotech personnel can earn up to HK$26,000, including an HK$18,000 government subsidy, but they will have to work in Hong Kong for at least six months each year.
Sources said the scheme will be open to university graduates from last year to next year and applications by enterprises will be screened by the Labour Department. Carrie Lam said the unemployment rate for youngsters may remain at double-digits for a certain period due to the limited scale of the local economy and market.
"After a year of social unrest, the pandemic and long-term class suspension, youngsters' lives and learning modes have been affected," Lam said.
"I hope youngsters can turn their eyes to the country and embrace opportunities in the Greater Bay Area. There are many - or I can say infinite - opportunities if our youngsters are willing to move to mainland cities in the bay area."
Lam will also set aside HK$100 million to fund 200 young entrepreneurs to start businesses in the mainland under the Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area when borders reopen after the pandemic stabilizes.
China Resources Group is hiring 400 management trainees from Hong Kong and the mainland, half of whom can work in the bay area.
The director of the Greater Bay Area office, Simon Hoey Lee, said the firm supports the government subsidy scheme.
It can "give incentives to youngsters to visit and work in the Greater Bay Area and it aligns with the mission of our management trainee program," he said.
But he added the company will not rely on the subsidy as its management trainee scheme has already been launched already. The firm, however, will consider the need to apply in the future and add more positions in greater bay.
Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce chairman Peter Wong Tung-shun said: "We hope these measures will help young people in Hong Kong tap into the vast potential that the bay area offers and allow them to advance their careers in this exciting market."
The University of Hong Kong said the scheme will help create more sector-specific job opportunities for young people.
Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, said the scheme is attractive to both the youth and companies, and a salary of HK$26,000 is higher than most graduates can earn in Hong Kong.
Online users on local forum Lihkg - which is frequented by the youth - expressed worries they may be taxed higher in the mainland.
Jane Cheung, Erin Chan and Maisy Mok