Hong Kong leader John Lee announced his second Policy Address on Wednesday.
During his 202-minute presentation, the Chief Executive covered a wide array of topics ranging from national security, to housing, transport, population, education, and economy.
Lee cited President Xi Jinping at least three times, including Xi’s visit to Hong Kong last year and his letter replying to the Pui Kiu Middle School student in July this year. China’s key initiatives such as “Greater Bay Area” and “Belt and Road” were also mentioned multiple times.
Yahoo News has summed up some of the highlights of the Policy Address 2023.
Easing property curbs
The applicable period of the Special Stamp Duty has been shortened from three to two years, meaning that the buyer will no longer need to pay the 10% stamp tax if the property owner disposes of the flat two years after the acquisition.
Hong Kong has cut the buyer’s stamp duty and new residential stamp duty by half, from 15% to 7.5%.
Regulating subdivided housing
The minimum living standards for subdivided housing, including building safety, fire safety and hygiene requirements and living space, have been specified.
Lee also suggested measures to eradicate flats that are not up to the minimum standard.
Increasing public housing supply
The Public Rental Housing Advance Allocation Scheme, with more than 2,000 flats to be completed by about five to eight months in advance in the first half of 2024, so that applicants can move in earlier.
The first batch of Light Public Housing is expected to be constructed by 2025, Lee said. The idea was proposed in his Policy Address last year, with an aim to build 30,000 units in the coming five years (2027-2028).
Starting from today (25 October), each newborn can receive HK$20,000 (USD 2,557) cash from the government if at least one of the parents is a permanent Hong Kong resident. The measure will last for three years before further review.
Starting from the 2024/25 school year, government-funded tertiary institutes will double the intake of non-local students to 40%. The schools may attract more overseas talents, especially those from the countries of the Belt and Road initiative and mainland students to come to Hong Kong for study.
The Constitution and Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee is set up to coordinate government departments and NGOs to promote patriotic education. Drafted in line with Beijing’s Patriotic Education Law, it aims to enhance different aspects of patriotic education, including history, culture, and current affairs.
Hong Kong is set to launch two museums to celebrate China’s development and achievements. Topics include China’s history, politics, economic development, cultures, and more.
Hong Kong will ease the visa application policy to attract more Vietnamese talents to come and work in the city. It will relax the requirements of a multi-entry visa for business travel and tourism. Laotian and Nepalese talents are also welcome to Hong Kong for employment and training, or studying in institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC).
Under the “Capital Investment Entrant Scheme,” eligible investors who make investments of HK$30 million (USD 3.83 million) or above in assets such as stocks, funds, bonds etc, can apply for the scheme to immigrate to Hong Kong