Priority of Social Welfare Goes to New Immigrants
The Hong Kong SAR Government hosts the Commission on Poverty Summit today announcing the first ever official “poverty line”. According to source, the government’s analysis is based on the 2012 data provided by Census and Statistics Department, hence it is estimated that the poverty population in Hong Kong is around 1.3 million. A 150 pages long report has been produced to analysis the characteristics and distribution of the poverty population. The source said that after the poverty line has been announced, the Commission will give priority to new immigrants below the poverty line who have been in Hong Kong for less than seven years therefore are not eligible to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and have to depend on their children. After this group of people, the Commission will help the working poor, families with old age and/or disabled members, and elderly in poverty.
The poverty line is established based on the 2012 research report released by the Census and Statistic Department recently. The report detailed the characteristics of the population under poverty line, including age, family size, housing condition and the poverty situation in all districts. The report also analysed the distribution of single parent families, new immigrants and the working poor.
The government will also announced the Talent-Wise Employment Charter, and over 20 companies have signed promising to hire disabled individuals and will account for 2% of its total employees. According to source, two theme parks have signed the Charter.
The Commission believes that the priorities should go to those who cannot receive CSSA and families with only one member in the labour force and the priorities are: new immigrants with children, the working poor, families with old age and/or disabled members. Retired elderly, however, as some of them owns assets and they can apply for CSSA and Old Age Allowance, they are not the ones who need assistance most.
The Commission targets to develop focused policies in the next two to three years, including establishing child care centres in MTR stations, in order to help single parent families. The costs of these policies can be covered by Community Care Fund and Community Investment and Inclusion Fund. Social Welfare Department’s data shows that every year there are around 7,500 children under 18 who receive CSSA but do not live with their parents. However, there is no data on the number of parents who live off their children’s CSSA.