Chief Secretary for Administration urges prudent consideration in importing foreign labour to address severe labour shortage

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Eric Chan

10th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Amidst the severe shortage of labor in Hong KongEric Chan Kwok-ki, the incumbent Chief Secretary for Administration, took to social media today to express his thoughts on the matter. He emphasised the need for prudent consideration when importing foreign labor into industries facing a severe labor shortage.

Chan noted that the local labour force has decreased from its peak of 3.68 million people in 2018 to 3.46 million in 2022, with a reduction of around 160,000 low-skilled workers. Several industries have reported difficulties in recruiting workers, and the government must address this issue decisively to avoid labor shortages hindering Hong Kong’s development and affecting people’s livelihoods. He highlighted the need to moderately and appropriately increase the importation of foreign labor under the premise of ensuring priority employment for local workers to quickly fill the labor gap.

Chan acknowledged the concerns of the labor sector and promised that the government would prioritise providing local workers with employment opportunities. Imported labor must also receive wages that are not lower than the median wage for relevant positions. He emphasised that the government would not rely solely on importing labor to fill the gaps in the market. Instead, it would adopt a multi-pronged approach, including increasing training and recruitment efforts, improving working conditions, promoting innovative technology applications, and enhancing productivity.