On 4th January the DAB visited Guangdong Province. DAB Chairperson Starry Lee led a delegation of 15 people include DAB advisor Ip Kwok-Him and Vice Chairperson Thomas Pang, Brave Chan, Holden Chow and various Legislative Councilors as well as District Councilors to meet with the leaders of Guangdong Province. He Jing, deputy director of the Central Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, also attended the meeting.
The DAB gave their views and proposals on the Mainland providing National Treatment to Hong Kong residents. Our Nation has developed rapidly in recent years and attracted a considerable number of Hong Kong people to live and work on the Mainland. However, due to historical and legislative reasons Hong Kong people have not been able to enjoy the perks of full national treatment and therefore suffer significant restrictions on entrepreneurship, work, education and lifestyle on the Mainland. These restrictions are very inconvenient and make it difficult for Hong Kong people to further integrate with the Mainland.
After a long and deep research and consultation period, the DAB wrote up its policy proposals to benefit Hong Kong residents on the Mainland. We divided the proposals into the three main categories of business, employment and lifestyle and hope that the Central Government will implement National Treatment for Hong Kong residents on the Mainland to promote better integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland in the economic, cultural and social spheres as well as increase the national consciousness of Hong Kong residents.
We have proposed the following three major focuses and 16 concrete suggestions:
Make life more Convenient
1.Provide a Mainland ID
Loosen the rules and procedures and provide Mainland IDs to Hong Kong people not living on the Mainland or think of how to give equal status to the Home Visit Permit in such a way that it could be used as a Mainland ID. This makes living, education and work more convenient on the Mainland for Hong Kong people.
2.Loosen the mortgage restrictions
Allow Hong Kong people to take on housing mortgages under the same rule as Mainland compatriots.
3.Exemption of proof of residence
Exempt Hong Kong residents on the Mainland from having to prove Mainland residence when conducting business or receiving public services. Allow them to use the same documents and IDs as the HKSAR to prove their right of abode in Hong Kong.
4.Provide national treatment for medical services
Research ways to allow Hong Kong people living on the Mainland to pay the same fees for public hospitals and medical services as their Mainland compatriots.
5.Provide more exemption from Scheme for Admission of Hong Kong Students to Mainland Higher Education Institutions
Allow Hong Kong students to enter Mainland higher educational institutions based on their strong grades and exempt them from entrance examinations.
6..Broaden the articulation program for associate degree students on the Mainland
Look at how the Mainland deals with articulation to degree programs and allow Hong Kong students to enter Mainland tertiary institutions in their third year if their grades are sufficient. Provide more opportunities for associate degree students to better know the Mainland.
7.Allow Hong Kong students to have local compulsory education
Mainland cities should look at how Shenzhen is allowing Hong Kong and non-local students to apply for local primary and secondary compulsory education at a relatively low price.
8.Increase elderly subsidies
Unify the methods that different cities used and provide the elderly national treatment for public transport and tourist sites on the Mainland.
9.Cancel the restrictions on hotels for travelers
Review the current restrictions and abolish the requirement for Hong Kong residents to stay in foreign hotels in the case of compliance with safety and other conditions. For areas that are already fully open to travelers, the government must strengthen its communication with local hotels about the newest arrangements and make sure that all hotels follow the law and do not refuse Hong Kong guests without reason.
Make Business smoother
10.Open up to more non-service industries
Follow the 26 proposals from the 2017 CEPA to open up to non-service Hong Kong businesses. Smooth the way for Hong Kong industries in natural resources, mining, smelting and transportation to enjoy national treatment and gain more investment opportunities.
11.Continue to open up to service industries
Cancel the current restrictions on Hong Kong service industries on the Mainland for example, in the creative industries, revoke the ratio of major actors in Hong Kong co-productions with the Mainland, thereby increasing the development of Hong Kong service industries with the Mainland.
12.Cancel restrictions on individually owned stores
Allow Hong Kong individual businesses to participate in franchising without going through foreign approvals. They should be treated the same way as Mainland businesses and enjoy national treatment and thereby gain more multifaceted investment opportunities.
13.Support Hong Kong farmers in their development in the Mainland
Implement national treatment for Hong Kong-owned farmer operators in the Mainland and encourage them to invest on the Mainland. Simplify the procedures involved and allow high quality agricultural products from Hong Kong to be exempted from inspection. Continue improving the parts of CEPA to do with agricultural products grown in Hong Kong and the tax issues involved. Allow more fisheries products to enter the Mainland and be exempt from taxation.
14.Allow Hong Kong and Macao Floating Fishermen (HKMFF) to hire workers in other provinces
Consider making the policy consistent with Mainland fishermen and allow Hong Kong and Macao Floating Fishermen to hire workers in other provinces after these workers passed a related training program. This help deal with the labour shortage.
Make employment smoother
15.Exempt Hong Kong people from having to apply for a work permit
Find a way to exempt Hong Kong people from having to apply for a work permit and allow them to work without it if they are qualified and to freely job hunt like our Mainland compatriots. This will provide more career choices for Hong Kong people and stop workplaces from refusing to hire Hong Kong workers due to complex regulations.
16.Encourage Hong Kong people to apply for Civil Service positions
Set up special channels to encourage Hong Kong people who wish to serve our Nation to enter the Central Civil Service system and participate in governing the Mainland. This not only allows Hong Kong people to better understand career opportunities in the Mainland Civil Service, it will also encourage communication and exchange between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
Media Inquiries: DAB Chairperson Starry Lee (7770-0820)