Enhanced labour scheme set

August 28, 2023

The Labour Department announced today that it will launch the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS) and accept applications from September 4 with the aim of alleviating a manpower shortage across different sectors.


Apart from pointing out that the decision to launch the enhanced scheme was made once the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) had been consulted, the department explained that the Chief Executive in Council had earlier endorsed the enhancement of the coverage and operation of the Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS).


Under the ESLS, employers must undertake a four-week local recruitment exercise for each labour importation application.


The department will send details of the job vacancies to LAB members and the relevant trade unions for their referral of suitable local job seekers to apply for relevant posts during the local recruitment period.


At present, after each application is screened in, labour inspectors will liaise with the applicant employer to arrange an inspection of its office premises and intended workplaces of the imported labour to verify relevant information.


Under the enhanced scheme, the department will replace inspection visits by labour inspectors with desktop checks, and with verification by telephone or in writing with the applicant employers as appropriate.


To enhance the dissemination of application information to employers, the department will organise five briefings for employers in September to explain the points to note of applications, as well as answer questions on the spot. 


Additionally, to protect imported workers' employment rights and benefits, employers must arrange and grant paid leave to each imported worker for attending a briefing on employment rights within eight weeks upon their arrival in Hong Kong.


The department emphasised that after launching the enhancement measures, it will strive to complete the processing of an application within three months after it passes the screening under the ESLS.


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