Around 100,000 Hongkongers have already registered for a one-off jobless payment of HK$10,000 a day after applications opened, as the city’s unemployment rate climbed to a five-month high amid a fifth wave of Covid.
As of Thursday morning, the government had received around 100,000 applications for the Temporary Unemployment Relief Scheme, the head of the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office Doris Ho said on RTHK.
Most filed their applications online, Ho said, while 1,000 people filled out their forms at five service centres on Wednesday, the day registrations began. Around 70 per cent of the applicants had Mandatory Provident Fund accounts, the city’s employment-based compulsory savings scheme designed to offer retirement protection.
The one-off subsidy aims to help those who lost their jobs due to the current wave of the pandemic. It covers full-time and part-time employees, as well as self-employed individuals.
Ho described the response as “eager,” saying many Hong Kong workers lost their jobs during the fifth wave. Some were asked to take unpaid leave if they worked in businesses that were shut down as the city reported tens of thousands of infections, she added.
“It seems our support scheme rolled out just in time,” Ho said.
The Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office chief reminded applicants to carefully check the information they filled in, saying they would not be allowed to make changes after submission. She urged people to make an appointment if they wish to file their applications at service centres, which offer 50 to 80 walk-in quotas per day.
Applications for the scheme will close at 11.59 pm on April 12.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate between last December and February rose to 4.5 per cent, the highest figure since July to September last year when the rate was also 4.5 per cent.