The Hong Kong government has rejected 128,000 applications for the temporary unemployment subsidy scheme. In all, there were 470,000 applications.
The Temporary Unemployment Relief Scheme, launched in March, provided a one-off unemployment subsidy of HK$10,000 to successful applicants.
The plan was estimated to cost HK$3 billion and was expected to benefit around 300,000 recently unemployed workers when it was first announced by then-chief executive Carrie Lam.
According to a response to the Legislative Council submitted by the Labour and Welfare Department, close to 52,000 cases were rejected as the submitted documents did not prove that the applicant was eligible.
The second most common reason for rejection was because the applicant’s monthly income from October to December last year did not meet the requirement of between HK$2,700 and HK$30,000. Over 36,000 cases were not approved due to that reason.
The administration said that they also approved some cases on a “discretionary basis,” but they did not have figures.
Hong Kong’s unemployment rate increased to 5.4 per cent in the three months ending in April, after the city saw the worst wave of Covid-19 since the pandemic began over two years ago.
The city also maintained one of the world’s strictest social-distancing restrictions. Businesses experienced a heavy toll as the government mandated restaurant dine-in restrictions and venue closures.
Hong Kong reported 2,815 Covid-19 cases and one death on Wednesday. The city has recorded 1,259,094 infections and 9,406 deaths since the pandemic began in early 2020.