CE unveils two youth programs to help ease HK unemployment

This undated photo shows a night view of Zhuhai, a Guangdong province city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area city cluster. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Wednesday proposed two new youth programs to help ease unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unveiled during the fourth Policy Address of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme and the Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) aim to encourage Hong Kong’s youth to work or set up businesses in the Bay Area’s mainland cities. 

The new employment plan is expected to cost HK$430 million (US$55 million) and will subsidize eligible enterprises to hire local university graduates and local residents who graduate from universities outside the HKSAR from 2019-2021 and deploy them in the GBA cities.

The new employment plan, unveiled during the fourth Policy Address of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is expected to cost HK$430 million (US$55 million)

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The program, which is expected to be launched at the end of this year, will have 2,000 slots, around 400 of which will be in the innovation and technology industry.

For a period of no more than 18 months, the government will pay employers HK$10,000 for each non-I&T job position offering a minimum salary of HK$18,000.

Under the Youth Entrepreneurship program, the government will provide HK$100 million to subsidize 16 non-governmental organizations to implement entrepreneurship projects and provide relevant information and inquiry services to young people who plan to set up business in other Bay Area cities. The program will benefit an estimated 200 youth startups and 4,000 young people.

Under the program, each NGO can get a HK$1 million subsidy every year while each startup will get HK$600,000 in seed funding.

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The development of the Bay Area is an important opportunity for Hong Kong to boost the city’s economy and improve people’s livelihood, Lam said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The rise of middle-class households in the area will create greater demand for professional services, which means there would be “unlimited opportunities” for Hong Kong’s youth in the region, Lam said.

The government will also expand its Thematic Youth Internship Programmes to the Mainland and five new programs, including in aviation technology and cultural heritage conservation, are in the pipeline. 

Seven programs were organized in 2019 and students involved enjoyed internship opportunities in different places, including the Palace Museum, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province.

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