An online evaluation service will be launched by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) in the third quarter of this year for non-resident management staff or specialists to obtain temporary residency, revealed IPIM’s administrative committee president Cheong Chou Weng during yesterday’s plenary session at the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Cheong replied to an interpellation made by legislator Ella Lei Cheng I that the department will look at the education background, special qualifications and awards as well as related experience of applicants in approving foreign specialists to work in the city, while adding that the MSAR Government will prioritise specialists of industries related to exhibition, cultural creative industry, Chinese medicine and leasing finance.
When asked by legislators about the number of approved cases, Cheong reported that 866 expats had been approved temporary residency, with 300 engaged in the hotel industry and 91 engaged in the gaming industry.
Legislator Lei claimed that the current evaluation mechanism of approving foreign workers lacks a concrete standard, while other legislators berated IPIM’s role in the matter as being ‘similar to the Labour Affairs Bureau’ in approving non-resident workers.

Public housing in the hot seat
Meanwhile, during yesterday’s AL plenary session, six of eight interpellations made by legislators addressed issues of public housing and the city’s urban renewal; in particular, legislators questioned the exact schedule of the construction of public housing projects such as Wai Long project and the renewal of Iao Hon district.
The Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, expressed the hope that the amendment of economic housing law would be sent to the AL by early next year, while revealing that the Administration is not currently considering special housing for the younger population.
Regarding the issue of urban renewal, the Secretary said there is no timetable owing to the necessary approval by all owners of properties, although he reiterated the hope that a decision would be made on the adjustment of the percentage of approval by owners at the next Urban Renewal Committee meeting.

Macau land for Macau people
With a total of 90,000 public housing units to be rolled out by the time all public housing projects are completed, the Secretary believes there will be enough to cope with the local demand for housing.
Pan-democratic legislator Ng Kuok Cheong urged the government to plan a policy to prohibit foreign investment in properties to be built on the reclaimed zones in order to avoid over investment, with legislator Au Kam San backing a policy allowing local residents to purchase private property at affordable prices, given that there are a lot of limitations on residence in public housing.
In response, the Deputy Director of the Legal Affairs Bureau, Cheong Ham, said policies can only be rolled out “when we have opinions of the majority”.
The Secretary emphasised that the government would focus on large scale projects such as Wai Long project, Marais project and the project on reclaimed land Zone A over smaller projects in places such as Fai Chi Kei.
In addition, the Secretary affirmed that plans for public housing can only be made once the report that addresses the demand for public housing is published next month, while revealing that the Wai Long public housing project will be approached in four phases.

Fourth Zone difficulties
Chief Advisor to the Governmental Policy Research Office Professor Mi Jian replied to queries made by legislator Si Ka Lon that there are too many limitations needed to overcome in order to create a new Macau, while not indicating any preferable location for the massive project.
The professor emphasised that the central government is not in favour of using the 85 kilometres of territorial water for reclaiming land.