Existing Policy and Challenges
55. Our population policy is to attract and nurture talent and improve the quality of our people to promote our development as a knowledge-based economy. It also seeks to achieve a balanced demographic structure to sustain Hong Kong's development. Given our ageing population and persistently low fertility rate, we can foresee that our workforce will shrink in just 10 years' time, which may threaten our sustainable development.
56. To encourage parenthood, this year's Budget increased the child allowance to alleviate the parents' burden in raising children.
57. To bring in talent, the Government has all along adopted an open immigration policy. In recent years, we put in place three talent admission schemes and streamlined the application procedures for employment visas. We also introduced relaxed measures to attract non-local students to work in Hong Kong after graduation. We will continue to enhance our talent admission arrangements.
58. Last year, I asked the Steering Committee on Population Policy to focus on two topics. First, ways to facilitate and support elderly people to settle in the Mainland after retirement if they so wished. Second, the ramifications of children born in Hong Kong to Mainland mothers returning to study and live in Hong Kong.