English translation by Matthew
The government announced that they are going to review the assistance for refugees and torture claimants. The authorities will preliminary increase the rent assistance so that it can match the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). At the same time the government will provide the same level of deposits.
The Liberal Party rejected the rent increase. The Society for Community Communication believes that it will help to improve the living conditions of these refugees.
Hong Kong now has more than five thousand individual with either refugee or torture claims applications. The government intends to increase the rent assistance from $1200 to $1500 for each adult. The increase rate is 25%.
The government also intends to increase the rent deposit to $1500 (per person) to assist the refugees in finding an appropriate living place.
With regard to the $1060 food assistance, the government intends to keep it unchanged. The government foresees no need to ask the Legislative Council to allocate extra funding. But the Liberal Party clearly expresses their objection.
The ISS-HK, who is assisting the operation, said that at issue right now is to shorten the time of verification so that a lot more refugees will not have to overstay in Hong Kong.
Vision First statement
In early 2013 VF members demanded that action be taken against the rent stranglehold. Vision First organized the first action in February 2013 when over 100 refugees wrote protest letters to ISS-HK demanding an increase in rent. It is regrettable that nobody was dignified with a written reply, despite empty expressions of concern.
This campaign was followed by 200+ letters to the LegCo Public Complaint Office. This advocacy triggered and emergency meeting of the LegCo Panel on Welfare on 22 July 2013. The panel concluded with a promise that the overall welfare package would be increased in a couple of months. It is now four months later.
Vision First expresses deep dissatisfaction with this palliative solution that does little to alleviate the suffering of refugees denied the right to work in one of Asia’s most expensive cities. If the government thinks there are basic, legal rooms in the market that rent for 1500$ a month, it is clearly living in the past decade.
We will not stop our hardline action until we achieve our objective of ensuring that the basic material and financial needs of refugees are met in full, or they are allowed to work.
This belated, insufficient and short-sighted adjustment of the failed welfare provision is a sure indication that the Government does not take its constitutional obligations seriously. We shall strive, united, for meaningful changes as we safeguard the rights of those we care for.
Government will increase refugee rent from 1200$ to 1500$ a month