Financial Services Industry Gets Government Aid Amid Pandemic
The Hong Kong government is allocating a $180-million budget to generate 1,500 new jobs for the financial services industry amid the high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury said that the financing was under the government’s anti-epidemic fund. The agency has begun accepting applications already in late September.
To recall, unemployment in Hong Kong ballooned to 6.4 per cent—which is a nearly 16-year high record—as it struggles with the pandemic. Of all the sectors, data shows that the tourism sector was the worst hit.
As long as the economy remains battered by the pandemic, the Secretary for Labor and Welfare said that the employee would likely to keep its low levels in the coming months.
With this problem at hand, the government is stepping up efforts to boost the economy.
With the help of government funding, eligible employers in the financial services industry can request a salary subsidy of up to $10,000 monthly per eligible new full-time position for a year. The proceeds of the application, should it be granted, must be allocated to pay for the services of the employees.
The recruitment scheme for the financial services industry, however, has some clauses to be followed.
According to the government, the ceiling of the number of subsidized new positions is 5 per cent of the current workforce. In addition, each eligible employer may be granted a subsidy for a maximum of 25 employees.
The employers—in the financial services industry—seeking subsidies should also be organisations regulated by the Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Insurance Authority, trustees approved by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority or organisations registered with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Applicants must be permanent residents of Hong Kong.
The government tapped the Financial Services Development Council to spearhead the project. It is in charge of handling the online application system, approving the applications, and distributing the allotted subsidies for the eligible employers.
Not the First Time
Looking back, this is not the first time the Hong Kong government extended a helping hand to the economy. It appears that it has been consistent with implementing initiatives alleviating its current situation.
Under the Employment Support Scheme, the government announced earlier that it approved subsidies amounting to $7.2 billion. This covered around 290,000 paid employees.
In addition, the financial support program also granted two supermarket chains wage subsidies of $184.5 million and $161.96 million. A portion of their grants will be returned to the community via their give-back proposals.
Meanwhile, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development said that the government is putting up policies to revive the Hong Kong tourism industry.
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