Labour schemes announced

June 13, 2023

The Government today announced that it will introduce labour importation schemes for the construction and transport sectors and enhance the Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS) this year to address acute manpower shortages across various sectors.


The Chief Executive mentioned in the Policy Address that many sectors in Hong Kong are facing manpower shortages, and relevant bureaus will listen to the views of the sectors and put forward solutions having regard to the situation of individual sectors.


Apart from the special scheme to import care workers for residential care homes to be launched by the Labour & Welfare Bureau this June, the Development Bureau and the Transport & Logistics Bureau will implement sector-specific labour importation schemes.


The sector-specific labour importation schemes should allow employers of the construction and transport sectors to apply for quotas for importation of labour.


The total quota for the schemes is 20,000, comprising 12,000 for the construction sector and 8,000 for the transport sector, of which 6,300 are for the aviation industry and 1,700 for the public light bus/coach trade. The manning ratio in general is on a par with that of the SLS, ie one imported labour to two full-time local staff.


Employers are allowed to arrange for the imported labour accommodation in Hong Kong, provide accommodation for the imported labour on the Mainland, or let the imported labour reside in their residential premises on the Mainland.


Besides introducing the sector-specific labour importation schemes, the Government will also enhance the scheme's coverage and operation. It will suspend the general exclusion of the 26 job categories and unskilled/low-skilled posts from the scheme for two years.


The other key requirements of the SLS will remain unchanged and it will be renamed as the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS).


The Government's target is to launch the sector-specific labour importation schemes for the construction and transport sectors in July. The implementation of these schemes will be reviewed within six months after their launch.


The ESLS is planned to be launched in the third quarter of this year and will be reviewed prior to the lapse of the two-year period of the enhancements.


The Government reiterated that it ensures employment priority for local employees, and will continue to adopt multipronged strategies to address the manpower shortage problem, including training and retraining, provision of appropriate employment support and driving technology adoption for productivity uplifting.

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