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Hong Kong visas attract top talents

HONG Kong's immigration authorities granted visas to 660 "top talents" since last April under a quality immigrant admission scheme, which more than doubled the number of visas granted during the preceding 12 months.

Successful applicants from the Chinese mainland included actresses Zhou Xun, star of "All About Women," Zhang Ziyi, of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" fame, and Tang Wei, who is known for her role in Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," and classical pianist Lang Lang.

The accumulated number of visas granted under the scheme since its launch in June 2006 was 1,058 out of 2,797 applications, local media reported yesterday, citing statistics of the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.

In a breakdown, 149 applications were approved in the first 9 months ended March 31, 2007, followed by 249 in the next 12 months period ended March 31, 2008. The number granted so far in this year was 172.

Most of the applicants had been from the Chinese mainland or ethnic Chinese from elsewhere, local newspaper Wen Wei Po quoted an immigration consultant as saying.


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