Hong Kong’s government plans to ease immigration rules aimed at alleviating the ongoing labour shortage in the financial hub. The move comes as the city struggles to meet the demand for workers in various industries, including construction and aviation. By easing entry rules, the authorities hope to attract approximately 27,000 foreign workers to address the labour gaps.
The grave labour shortage situation is putting Hong Kong’s economy and competitiveness at risk.
For every two full-time local Hong Kong workers, employers will be able to hire one worker who is a non-local. However, a sum of HK$400 will have to be paid for this worker as ‘employee retraining’ tax. The workers thus imported will not be allowed to gain permanent residency but will continue to be non-permanent residents.
Immigration policies have contributed to the labour shortage in Hong Kong, particularly in the services sector. The removal of pandemic restrictions has resulted in a surge in business activities, worsening the existing labour challenges. To tackle this issue, the government intends to implement recruitment quotas for foreign workers, with a focus on industries such as construction and aviation.
The aviation industry has been severely affected by a shortage of front-line airport staff, impacting critical operations such as passenger check-in, baggage handling and catering. The recruitment drive will help fill these gaps and support Hong Kong’s aviation hub, which has seen a significant decrease in workforce compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The application process for jobs in sectors such as construction and transportation is set to commence in July. The government expects the worker quotas to be fully utilised in the coming year. It is anticipated that a considerable number of applicants will come from mainland China, including about 1,700 minibus and coach drivers.