Speech of the Hon KP Chan on Motion on Population Policy Review (Synopsis)
• Both the medical and other social problems arising from Mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong and the improper utilization of the daily migrant quota of 150 have one cause in common. The Government lacks an overall population policy that serves local circumstances.
• According to immigration figures, migrants from the Mainland amounted to 667,002 from 1998 to 2011 (Q3), accounting for 9.4 percent of the total population in the latest census. Annual arrivals ranged from 33,000 to 57,000. Today, almost one out of 10 Hong Kong residents arrived within this period.
• Among these people, about 70 percent were over 15 years of age. Their average age was high, between 27 and 28. About 20 percent were educated at primary school level, 70 percent at secondary school level and only 10 percent at tertiary level. Moreover, nearly half of them were housewives before arrival. As Hong Kong is a knowledge economy, they would have no other choice but accept low pay manual work. Many even could not find a job.
• As they were brought up and acquired working experience in the Mainland, they need time to settle down as well as social resources to support their livelihood. Home Affairs Department has interviewed new migrants on the difficulties faced by them. Almost half mentioned adaptation to work and more than half mentioned that they needed assistance to find job.
• Some 70 to 80 percent of interviewees mentioned wage as the main source of income. The survey also found that median income only averaged HK$7,155 for the past 14 years. The median for Q3 of 2011 was only HK$8,000. This is probably a key factor in poverty problem of Hong Kong.
• Problems like children born of non-resident parents (NRP) are putting Hong Kong social resources under further stress. The Government should not turn a blind eye. According to statistics, an increasing number of these children are reaching school age. Those of 3 years of age surged from 709 in 2003 to almost 30,000 in 2011, or 41 times in 9 years.
• For the past 10 years, more than 150,000 children were born of NRP. Assume the Government’s estimation of 50 percent resettlement. Their future stress on the community goes beyond education. Housing, medical and social security would also be under stress. Obviously, it should be the top leadership rather than the Education Bureau to take the helm on this delicate issue.
• The question of children born of non-resident parents is cumulative and the Government should have known better. It should not rely on regular censuses conducted every five-year to track their future resettlement. I urge the Government to allocate more resources to conduct more comprehensive studies.
• I support both the original Motion and its Amendments. I urge the Government to listen, study and publish forward looking population policy.