Beijing should let Hong Kong residents transfer more money from mainland China, as current restrictions deter young people from embracing the “Greater Bay Area” integration plan, according to an influential local youth body.
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups also urged the central government to set up a new bureau to take charge of coordination between Hong Kong, Macau and the nine Guangdong cities under the project.
Last week, the central government rolled out a blueprint to integrate the 11 cities into an innovation and financial hub to rival Silicon Valley by 2035.
But the federation’s Youth Research Centre and Youth Ideas think tanks, which interviewed 522 Hongkongers aged between 18 and 39 last month, found Hong Kong’s younger generation were reluctant to work in mainland cities.
Some 62 per cent of those polled said they were not willing to live in any of the nine mainland cities, and 68 per cent said they were unwilling to work there.
Asked about the difficulties they faced or feared, 86 per cent cited differences between Hong Kong and mainland China’s legal systems, and 80 per cent cited difficulties in handling tax issues.
Denis Huen Yin-fan, a member of Youth Ideas, said: “We propose that Hong Kong young people should pay their income tax to the mainland government according to Hong Kong tax rates.
“The cap for transferring money out of the mainland should also be doubled from US$50,000 per year to US$100,000 per year,” he added.
Huen said that under mainland law employees who were not obliged to pay tax to the central government must not transfer more than US$50,000 across the border.
The youth groups were also concerned about a lack of coordination among the 11 economies, even though Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong’s leaders are members of a leading group chaired by Vice-Premier Han Zheng.
Amy Yuen Siu-man, a researcher at the Youth Research Centre, said: “A Greater Bay Area coordination bureau should be set up under the leading group … Right now the leaders discuss in the group and go back to follow up with their governments, but there should be other officials to coordinate between cities.”
Youth Ideas convenor Ernest Chan Ho-sing said the Hong Kong government should set up a new office to help young people establish start-ups or find jobs in mainland Chinese cities.
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