Next month, Hong Kong residents are set to receive the second batch of consumption vouchers, which the government previously announced would only be given to those who met a stricter set of requirements than the first. But many in the city have already started receiving text messages informing them of their exclusion from the programme.
A large number of those who reported receiving the letter are returnees, and residents who immigrated to another country, particularly around the time Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997, but have since returned to Hong Kong.
One of them is a retiree in his 60s who wished to be identified only by his initials CK. He said he received a text message from the government on Monday, saying, “Since you have made an early withdrawal of the mandatory savings fund/benefits under the Vocational Scheme on the basis of permanent departure from Hong Kong, we consider that you do not fulfill the requirement of ‘not leaving Hong Kong permanently and not leaving Hong Kong permanently’. having such an intent.”
“You are therefore ineligible under the program and will not be redeemed with vouchers,” the letter added.
The authorities had previously announced that they were introducing a new criterion for applicants to the program, which is that they have not left permanently from Hong Kong and do not intend to do so.
They said that one way to assess this criterion is to check whether the applicant has submitted a valid claim for the withdrawal of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) or pre-65 Professional Retirement Scheme benefit granted due to permanent departure from Hong Kong on or before June 13.
CK said he was shocked to receive the message.
He said that while he immigrated from Hong Kong more than 20 years ago and withdrew funds from the MPF on the basis of permanent departure, he has since moved back to Hong Kong and has been living in the city for 12 years. .
He also rejoined and contributed to the MPF scheme until his retirement two years ago. CK added that he has not withdrawn money from his MPF account again since then.
“I am very annoyed by the fact that this useless government is poorly implementing policies. If you are using MPF as a reason, you should check the status of your current MPF account.”
CK also said that he was paying taxes until his retirement.
While the government allows residents to challenge their disqualification from the scheme by providing evidence that they have no intention of permanently leaving Hong Kong, CK said it is an annoying and time-consuming task.
“I had to call the customer service hotline eight times just to be able to speak to them and find out how to review my case,” he added.
Similar complaints from other returnees who said they had been unjustly excluded can also be found online.
In response, the government issued a statement late on Tuesday saying that the plan’s general secretariat confirmed that it had recently started issuing text messages via phone number +852 6059 1120 to notify existing registrants who submitted valid claim requests for early withdrawal from their accounts. MPF or benefits under occupational retirement plans on a “permanent departure from Hong Kong” basis so that it does not meet the requirements of “never leave Hong Kong and no such intent” and therefore does not meet the eligibility criteria for the plan.
“The government is aware that the status of some registrants may have changed after submitting the above application (such as returning to Hong Kong for years),” a spokesperson said.
Hence, if the individuals who have received the relevant SMS are deemed by the registrants to have definitively not departed from Hong Kong and have no such intention, they may follow the instructions given in the SMS and make an acknowledgment in writing within 14 days upon receipt of the SMS. Consider the rationale and evidence provided to review whether they meet the eligibility criteria for the plan.”
The spokesperson said that registrants who wish to file representations can download the “Request for Review Form” from chart site Or get it through his hotline at 185000.
He added that the completed application form, accompanied by a copy of the SMS notification and other relevant documents, could be submitted to the Secretariat through the following channels:
(1) by mail to the “Consumer Voucher System Secretariat” at PO Box 185000, General Post Office, Hong Kong;
(2) by fax (No. 0701 3106);
(3) via email (firstname.lastname@example.org); or
(4) Manually to the Consumption Voucher Scheme Secretariat at 17/F, Pioneer Center, 750 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon (Registrants may also submit the form to any Temporary Service Centers by July 23 (addresses and opening hours of Temporary Service Centers). Available in chart site).
He said that the secretariat would issue an SMS to confirm receipt of the review request, and under normal circumstances, the applicant would be notified in writing of the outcome of the review within six weeks.