CE confident Beijing will agree to new bay area visas

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Friday that she’s confident mainland authorities will offer a new visa allowing non-Chinese residents of Hong Kong to visit other parts of the Greater Bay Area more easily.

Lam said she had put forward a proposal to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and would meet officials later this year to discuss it.

She told an RTHK programme that the new visa would help Hong Kong attract talent from overseas.

“It will be a revised form of visa or permit or whatever you call it but the ultimate objective is to facilitate the access of non-Chinese Hong Kong nationals into the mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area for business, exchange or research,” she said.

She also sought to allay concerns over funding for the Northern Metropolis and Lantau Tomorrow projects.

She said the administration would issue bonds to maintain cash flow, while the sale of land and homes at the new developments would also raise money.

“There’s an issue of cash flow because all these are front-loaded capital investment whereas the land sale and housing sale will come a bit later. That’s where Hong Kong’s role will become very important as an international financial centre. We will issue government bonds, whether it’s for institutional investors or retail investors who want to contribute to Hong Kong’s development,” she said.

“With that understanding of how Hong Kong operated in the past and into the future, I don’t think this is the time to worry about dollars and cents to pay for these two major developments for Hong Kong’s future.”