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Investing in Education and Training, Attracting Talent 
21.      The competitiveness of an economy depends largely on the quality and productivity of its human resources. For Hong Kong, these are our single most precious asset. To enable our economy to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, we must effectively nurture and attract talent. As Hong Kong develops into a knowledge-based economy, we will need more talented individuals who are biliterate and trilingual, who possess a broad vision and have the ability to communicate effectively, think critically and be innovative and adaptable. Through training and retraining of our workforce, we will help them to help themselves by enhancing their knowledge and skills.

22.      Despite our huge fiscal deficit, we will continue to devote enormous resources to education. Expenditure on education in 2004-05 will amount to $59.5 billion and account for 23 per cent of government expenditure. This represents a significant increase of 57 per cent from $37.9 billion in 1996-97. We will continue to invest in education and strive to enhance its quality.

23.      All over the world there is competition for talent to meet the challenges of globalisation. In the past, Hong Kong imposed many restrictions on admission of Mainland professionals, and this has not helped our development. With the increasingly deep economic integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland, we need more talented people from there. Such people possess expertise and experience as well as better understanding of the Mainland market and its culture. They will provide valuable assistance in opening up Mainland opportunities. With further training and exposure to international practices, they will become valuable assets for our enterprises and the Hong Kong-based overseas companies eyeing the Mainland market.

24.      In mid-July last year, the Government introduced the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, essentially aligning the criteria with those for admitting talented people from other places. This scheme provides Hong Kong enterprises with the opportunity to attract the Mainland elite. By the end of February this year, the Immigration Department had received about 2 400 applications and had granted approval for over 1 950 qualified people from the Mainland to work here. The task force that I head will ensure that the application assessment procedures are conducted expeditiously so as to enable Hong Kong to attract talented people more proactively. Upgrading our human resources can help attract investment to Hong Kong and create further employment opportunities.

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2003 | Important notices
Last revision date : 10 March, 2004