Changes made to consumption voucher eligibility in response to citizen concerns

Changes in the eligibility criteria for receiving consumption vouchers were made in response to local citizens being against immigrants receiving them, head of the budget and tax policy unit at the Financial Secretary's Office Jessie Wong Hok-ling said, as she stressed the restrictions are not new.

Hongkongers will get their hands on the second batch of HK$5,000 consumption starting in August. People who left or intended to leave Hong Kong permanently were exempted from receiving the vouchers.

Wong said in a radio program that the change in eligibility was because there have been voices in the community questioning the arrangements for immigrants to receive the vouchers.

She said all applicants will be vetted, and those who do not meet the eligibilities will receive a text message, after which they could request a review and provide reasons for their long-term absence from Hong Kong.

She also said the government has tried to list as many reasonable reasons for long-term absence as possible, including overseas study, working holidays, and medical needs.

Quality migrants, entrepreneurs, and students pursuing further studies in Hong Kong could receive HK$5,000 consumption vouchers, but foreign domestic helpers and foreign domestic workers would not benefit.

Wong explained that the practice was to draw a clear line; that is, all potential permanent residents of Hong Kong could receive consumption vouchers.