|Hong Kong Halts Investment Program|
Hong Kong has called a sudden halt to its capital investment immigration program, creating shock waves on both sides of the border. Chief Executive announced the suspension of the Capital Investment Entrant program, beginning on Jan.15.
He said Hong Kong no longer has the economic environment that it had in 2003 when the program was introduced. The city’s Immigration Department said that in 2003, when the Hong Kong economy was in recession, the plan was brought in to attract new capital to stimulate economic growth. This is no longer the government’s priority in view of the current economic situation in the city. He said in a question-and-answer session after the Policy Address that Hong Kong is now looking for talent, rather than money.
Under the program, people could gain residency in the city by investing a minimum of HK$10 million ($1.28 million) in the local financial market. It had raised about HK$205 billion for Hong Kong by September, including money invested in real estate. Analysts believe the government is attempting to review the program and that the suspension won’t be permanent. If entrepreneurs come to invest, not through buying stocks or funds, but by setting up companies in the city, such investments will enhance employment and shore up the economy.
According to the Immigration Department, 28,168 investment immigration applications were received between 2003 and March 2013. The number of applications increased by 43 percent to 40,392 by the end of September last year, with the number of cases approved rising from 17,746 to 24,481.
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Published on our website on Jan.15, 2014