The House News
25th November 2013
Tightens Application Barriers: Tertiary Educated Out of Favour with Public Housing
In a recent report issued by the Audit Commission, a large number of public housing applicants submitted their applications when they were students, some of them even hold tertiary education or above qualifications. Duncan Pescod, Director of Hong Kong Housing Authority, said in a meeting of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee that the Authority may consider deducting points from applications* submitted by individuals who hold tertiary education qualifications or above.
As of March 2012, there were 112,000 public housing applications submitted by single individuals. According to the Audit Commission’s report, one third of these applicants were students when they submitted their applications and 47% of them hold tertiary education or above qualifications. Legislative Council members asked Pescod if the Authority will tighten the application barrier for public housing. Pescod replied that the Authority has no intention to change the age barrier (18-year-old), but will study the possibly of deducting points of applicants who hold tertiary education qualifications or above.
According to the report, applications have waited for over three years on average. Over 7,000 applications have waited for over five years. Pescod said that the Authority will speed up the process of adding vacant units into the Express Flat Allocation Scheme.
The Audit Commission’s report also revealed that the Housing Authority did a spot check on public housing applications last year and found out that 35% of these applications contain fake information. The Commission asked the Authority to increase the number of spot checks to avoid the long waiting period. Pescod said that the Authority can only do spot check when there’s sufficient resources. The Authority also stressed that spot check is a warning mechanism and they always verify each application before the allocation is completed.
To apply for public housing in Hong Kong, one has to submit an application which will be evaluate based on a “score system”. For example, a single application who makes US$1,200 a month is already above the limit, for a family of two, monthly income limit is US$1,767.