Wednesday, April 24, 2024
English English French Spanish Italian Korean Japanese Russian Hindi Chinese (Simplified)

The cap on imported construction workers will be 12,000, and they will be employed mainly on public construction projects.

A cap of 8,000 will be set on transport workers, which include 6,300 for the aviation sector and 1,700 drivers comprising 900 for public light buses and 800 on regular passenger vehicles.

The drivers must have held a recognized private car license for at least 12 months and then pass a test before being allowed on Hong Kong roads.

Employers can hire one nonlocal worker for every two full-time Hongkongers. And for every nonlocal construction worker, employers will be levied HK$400 monthly for “employee retraining.”

That money goes to a fund for the Employees Retraining Board to provide new skills to locals.

Michael Wong Wai-Lun, the deputy financial secretary, said the administration is set to receive applications for the two sectors from July and aims to process each one within two months.

“We don’t expect to fully utilize the quota in the first year, so it will be a progressive process,” Wong said. “But we do believe the quota might be fully utilized sometime next year.”

Wong affirmed that imported workers would remain nonpermanent residents and need to leave the city at the end of their contracts, which would free up their slots in the quota.

Nonlocal workers’ pay must not be lower than the median wage of their local counterparts.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun Yuk-Han said: “This is a key way to protect local workers.”

He explained the overall relaxation program comes after the city’s local labour force shrank to 3.46 million last year from a peak of 3.68 million in 2018, The number of local low-skilled workers fell by 160,000 in the period.

Secretary for Development Bernadette Linn Hon-ho said the construction sector lacks 14,000 people this year, and on current trends, the shortfall would rise to over 40,000 in 2027, mainly for skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Employers can provide accommodation for foreign labour locally or across the border.

For construction workers, employers need to build accommodation next to a site or arrange for them to live in centralized dormitories. One such dormitory has already been identified at the former isolation facility at Tam Mei in Yuen Long.

It has a capacity of 8,000 and can cater to construction projects in Northern Metropolis.

Linn expects the currently idle Yuen Long site to open to imported workers in October.

Aviation workers and cross-border coach drivers will go back to the mainland after work.

But employers of minibus drivers must provide them with flats in Hong Kong.

Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said that with the airport’s proximity to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the majority of imported workers will continue to live on the mainland.

The scheme will cover 10 specific frontline job types in the aviation sector: cabin workers, aircraft maintenance mechanics, technicians, warehouse operators, cargo handlers, aircraft tug drivers, tractor drivers, customer service agents, equipment operators and loader operators. Lam said the 6,300 quotas for airport workers should be able to account for nearly half of the current shortage of 16,000 vacancies.

Flight capacity at Hong Kong International Airport is expected to be recovered fully by next year, Lam added, though only 2,000 applications have been received for over 10,000 vacancies since 2022.

The Airport Authority will arrange cross-border daily transportation for workers. For that, employers will be charged a HK$400 monthly transport fee for each imported worker.

Meanwhile, arrangements under the Supplementary Labour Scheme are being fine-tuned.

The Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme will lift the import ban on 26 unskilled or low-skilled jobs for two years.

They include sales staff in shops, waiters, receptionists, hair stylists, junior cooks and delivery workers. An application period will start before September.

Applications to hire workers for the 26 roles will still go through established procedures, which involve a four-week local recruitment requirement and consultations with the Labour Advisory Board.

Subscribe

* indicates required

The Enterprise is an online business news portal that offers extensive reportage of corporate, economic, financial, market, and technology news from around the world. Visit to explore daily national, international & business news, track market movements, and read succinct coverage of significant events. The Enterprise is also your reach vehicle to connect with, and read about senior business executives.

Address: 150th Ct NE, Redmond, WA 98052-4166

©2024 The Enterprise – All Right Reserved.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept